When we talk about wellness or wellbeing, there’s an undeniable tone of wholesomeness attached. Like in order to achieve wellness or be cognisant of it you have to have your sh*t together along with total mental clarity and peace of mind. If you are devoted to eating well and working out, the world has a tendency to perceive you to be a goody-goody or lucky.
We all want to be that person that only eats-to-live and doesn’t allow anything to come between them and their workouts or self care. The person that can go out for just one glass of wine and never craves pizza or ice cream… or do we?
We all have ‘headtrash’ and we all get in our own way at times… If not with fitness, with something else, but I do believe that no one is totally free from either of these. We see it all the time at the studios, and because we have the opportunity to cultivate deep relationships with our clients and coaches, we’ve come to recognize the root of most of this is trauma.
Trauma comes in so many forms and weighs differently for different people. It’s most commonly thought of as a result from one devastating event, but most often it builds from a series of events or situations of helplessness, loss of control, betrayal, and/or abuse of power. Trauma is mostly defined by the response to an ongoing or underlying event rather than to the event itself (integratedlistening.com). We tend to define this response as resilience.
To become resilient, there has to be constant work to overcome trauma. The hurdle is that the reality of one’s trauma is often disassociated. Some of us wouldn’t think we’ve experienced any trauma, while others know exactly where there’s came from. Similarly, knowing the root of the problem may still not validate enough in someone’s mind that it is in fact trauma.
When I was 11 years old I had brain surgery. It was 1989 and the blood banks were dealing with HIV, so I had to provide my own blood supply. When the surgery was all said and done, I felt super resilient… until suddenly I couldn’t handle anything dealing with needles or surgery and would literally pass out at the mere mention of it. To this day I have trauma associated with this.
I know this seems like such a minor and silly example, but that’s my point. We cannot quantify it. It shapes us, and directs us, and knocks us to our knees even though we may not give it that much credit.
At the studios we tend to see it in the form of self neglect, guilt, and disbelief. The person who has taken care of a loved one who was terminally ill – guilt; Someone who has been told their whole life that they are not good enough – disbelief of their worth and beauty; The mom who is expected to do everything for everyone – self neglect; Growing up with so little that spending on self-care feels irresponsible – guilt & disbelief of the value of self-care; Workplace harassment – disbelief of self worth and what can be achieved… The scenarios go on and on and with each a very real response to trauma.
All of this being said, when you feel a sense of defiance or rebellion toward the actions that you know will lead you where you want to go, consider the root of that feeling. While I am not a psychiatrist, I do understand human behavior. Over 17 years of learning how to motivate people and ultimately grasping that it all starts with action. Without action there cannot be motivation.
Fitness, good nutrition, and positive self talk are tools to help you build your resilience. You do not need to have your sh*t together or total peace of mind to take action. We are all a work in progress and the most important work comes from learning to love and accept who we are. From there, anything is possible.
If you need help overcoming trauma, there are lots of resources available to you. Here’s one resource that could help you get the ball rolling: https://thetraumafoundation.org/
Take good care of you.