What’s Holding You Back?

Holding Back

I was going to write a post on the intimate nature of the partnered pretzel stretch when I ran across this article by Dr. Allison Belger on Psychology WOD, which gave me a lot to think about.

There were two closely-related issues that struck home with me:

1) Body image isn’t SO much about what the media pumps into your head about beauty, but it’s our response to it that matters.

2) If we have ‘body issues’ it MIGHT be that we are unconsciously sabotaging ourselves; and we should really spend some time reflecting on the root of the problem–if it is indeed something we can control. 

Because I have a melancholy disposition, I’m naturally prone to scourging myself with introspection, but THIS time, it seems to be a good thing. Dr. Belger’s article gave me a chance to consider that perhaps the reason I haven’t ‘lost those last ten pounds’ is because of something psychological.

Dr. Belger writes: “The reality is that our susceptibility to the cultural phenomenon of perfection is fundamentally and essentially based not only on the images we see, but on our own psychology.”

Basically, when I see an image of the ‘perfect body,’ I immediately look for the ‘flaws’ in my own body and lament that I’m not different. But Belger’s thesis suggest there’s more to it than an inferiority complex brought on by false advertising in the media–she suggests that my own psychological makeup (for better or…usually for worse) hinders me from really being content in my own skin.

Belger punched me in the gut with this: “How do you imagine your life would change if you had another body—you know, the one you watch enviously at the gym every day or the one with which your best friend is blessed?

We tend to think everything would be just fine if only [FILL IN THE BLANK].

But what if the reason I haven’t broken through the chunky thigh plateau is because I’ve used my ‘imperfections’ as a defense mechanism?


After pondering this in the wee hours of the morning, I’ve come to realize that for most of my life, I’ve wanted to be invisible. I learned at an early age to associate ‘attention’ with something bad. Thus, my goal in life was to blend in with the wallpaper–to not rock the boat–to escape notice.

Those of you who knew me in high school drama class might think, “Wait a minute–you were Nun #4 in the Sound of Music! How is that invisible?” But when you’re in a play, you’re either having fun; being a diva; or hiding.

I was hiding.

Fast forward.

I’m in my 40s now and still don’t have what I would consider the ‘ideal’ body.

So back to Dr. Belger’s question: how do I think my life would be different if I had a different body?

Well…I wouldn’t be invisible anymore, and I would have to risk failing at something or worse–risk succeeding at something. Fear of failure and fear of success seem like stupid issues to have, but they are real for many of us. Because when you fail, it draws attention. And when you succeed, it draws attention.

You see the conundrum here for the invisible woman?

Something has changed in my life recently, and I owe much of it to Crossfit: a certain sort of inner gumption has bubbled up from somewhere inside. It’s this feeling or belief or whatever you want to call it that says: win or lose, you have to go for it! 

I have some big dreams, and I can’t let my own warped ideas about myself hold me back.

I don’t know if every Crossfit environment is pretty much the same across the world, but our box has such a great atmosphere that the only reason you walk away feeling like a failure is because of the erroneous thoughts rattling around in your own noggin.

Crossfit is not about seeing results that can be quantified on a scale; it’s about being able to carry heavy stuff that you couldn’t carry before; it’s about running up three flights of stairs for fun; it’s about being with people who are supportive and encouraging, even when your life outside the box is ripping apart at the seams.

It’s about setting free that person whose been hiding all these years, and watching what she does with the time she’s been given.

If you’ve not yet done so, check out Dr. Allison Belger’s article and give it some thought! It’s worth the time! 

About Keri

Writer, widow, life story coach, expat, Mom of 4, madly in love with Crossfit and Krav Maga--my life is stranger than fiction View all posts by Keri

2 responses to “What’s Holding You Back?

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