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The Happy Type
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Speak Kindly To Yourself

You know the old adage, “Don’t worry! It’s just like riding a bike!”?

Well, let me share a secret with you.

I cannot ride a bike to save my life and I can’t begin to tell you how annoying that dang saying is, especially when I reveal my little secret about not knowing how to stay upright on two wheels. Training wheels, please? I’m living proof that you can in fact FORGET how to ride a bicycle, because I swear that I used to be a speed demon tearing up the pavement around my house as a kid, but a over decade without touching a bike, and now it’s pretty much tears all around when I convince myself that maybe I am road worthy.


I’ll let Snookie taking a fall off her bike illustrate my current bicycle situation. Yes, it’s that bad.

Since I’m a disaster on two wheels I’ve never given much thought to using a bike for exercise (you can only burn so many calories picking yourself OFF the ground, right?), but a couple of weeks ago I was bored out of my mind with my current routine at the gym and starting looking at all of the classes being offered. And that’s when I saw it. Spin class. Naturally, I took note of the class, but skipped right over it and kept on looking, but it was the only class offered within the next hour so it was either give spin a chance or keeping doing the same thing I was tired of. So, I reminded myself that the bikes would in fact be stationary and put on my best attitude to check out the class.

99e2296e5ecb11e3858a0e399160e2e5_8The only bike that I’ll ever be able to master.

While I was apprehensive about spinning, I have to say that I fell in love with the class from the BEGINNING. Since I’m new to spinning I’m still testing my limits and I love pushing myself every single class. Every time I go back to spinning I get faster and stronger, which is an amazing feeling, plus I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing the instructors are.

parking-like-a-mini-boss-bikeWhat spin class makes me THINK I can do on a bike.

One instructor in particular is my favorite, not for how she runs her class or how hard she pushes everyone, but for how she ends the class. Every class my favorite instructor, who is well into her 50’s, leads the group in a cool down exercise and stretch all the while telling us how great we did.

Pretty standard, right?

It is until, the very last minute of class when my senior citizen instructor smiles at us and says “Think carefully about something you love about yourself. What are you good at? Is there a trait, feature, or characteristic you are proud of? Are you thinking of it?” she asks while whipping a towel around her shoulders and standing a little taller.

“Now that you have that positive thing about you, hold on to it. When I say, I AM, I want you respond with whatever affirmation it is that you have in your mind right now, ok?” She opens her hands, pauses a moment and closes her eyes. “Take a deep breath, stand tall, open your hands and reach for the sky like the strong person you are. Ready? I AM…”

Now, normally the class fills up with a variety of voices, some soft, others confident, but without fail each time the participants seem to stumble with the exercise. However, my favorite instructor repeats her exercise a total of three times and by the third time the room is bursting full of positive affirmations and words of self-love and confidence. I always love the atmosphere in the room by the third time, because so many people are willing to speak positively of themselves and in front of other people in an unashamed way. There’s something so freeing about making a proclamation of affirmation about yourself where everyone can here it. I feel like it always seems to make what you are saying all the more real. I always leave feeling pumped up and ready for whatever is waiting for me, so naturally I look forward to my spin class, but this Sunday was different.

I went the entire class looking forward to those last few minutes of class, for that feeling of strength and elation that just seems to be rolling off of people after a hard fought class, but this wasn’t what happened. Instead when my instructor went about her usual ending to class, mine was the only voice that rang out.


Seemed to bounce off the walls of the classroom while the other 15 people remained silent, and even a little confused looking. Ok, well, maybe people are just shy? Nope, round 2 and 3 went more of the same way and my instructor’s prompts were met by my voice only. Instead of feeling empowered, I felt a little confused. When I looked into the other people’s eyes in the classroom all I saw was an uncomfortableness with speaking words of affirmation about themselves. “I don’t know what to say!” one girl hissed to her friend when they looked at each other like the spin instructor had gone crazy with her request.

I left the gym wondering why people found it so hard to speak positively of themselves, why were they at a loss for words when asked to speak kindly to themselves? I started to wonder if I had come off as cocky with my eager participation, suddenly the part I looked most forward to seemed wrong. I stood there in the parking lot thinking on what had happened in class, but then I saw my spin instructor on her way out. I waved. “Thanks for class! It was great as usual.”

She grinned back at me, “You did AMAZING! I love what you said by the way. Capability is the perfect thing to speak over yourself, you know that?”

“I thought I could use a reminder with the last week of school. I really do love that you end class that way, it’s what keeps me coming back.” I told her.

“I’m glad that you’ve embraced it. Too many people forget to speak kindly to themselves, which is a shame because we are the ones who know the best words to speak.” My instructor gave me another smile before headed off towards her car.

I hope that you take the time to remember to speak in an affirming manner to yourself. My instructor is completely right, too many people forget to speak kindly to themselves, which is a shame since no one know what you need to hear more than YOU.

What is one thing you love about yourself?

Take a second to not only think it, but say it out loud like you mean it.

You’ll be surprised what just one word can do for how you see yourself, and what you’ll be able to achieve.

  • http://betweendreamstheblog.blogspot.com/ Allie @ Between Dreams

    I love, love, loooooove this exercise! Such a great way to get ramped up.

    Now, imagine if we ALL started our day saying this very thing? WHAM! Think I just might give it a go :)

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      I think that our self-perceptions and what we expect of ourselves would change for the better if we each made a conscious effort to begin our day by speaking words of strength over ourselves. I hope that you do give this a try, because I know it would only benefit you and help you take the world by storm.

  • http://megantofrancewithlove.blogspot.com/ Megan

    It’s amazing that you went into the class thinking that you weren’t capable of ‘riding’ a bike, and came out of it shouting “I AM CAPABLE!” Sometimes we just need a little encouragement :)

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      EXACTLY! It certainly helped that my bike was incapable of falling over….but STILL. I rocked that exercise bike and felt all the more confident and capable for it!

  • http://she-travels.net/ Chantal

    Fantastic exercise! I always love this at the end of my yoga class, as well as setting an intention for yourself for the week or day. It makes you look at your day way more positive!

    Why not wake up every day and start it off with something positive about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with saying something good about yourself, if you can’t why would others try?

    I think the word I would pick today would be “strong” not because I’m physically strong but because sometimes you have to make decisions in life (good or bad) that show you how strong you really are.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      Strong is a great word to apply to yourself and your day, because you are completely right that strength is not only measured in terms of physical strength. Mental strength and emotional strength are also ABSOLUTELY necessary to make the most out of every day and situation that you find yourself in.

      What kind of yoga do you practice? I love yoga so much and have been kicking around the idea of getting certified to teach. I think it would be the most amazing thing in the world to take the lessons I’ve learned from other instructors and pay them forward.

      • http://she-travels.net/ Chantal

        I used to take power yoga classes, unfortunately they stopped them so now I practise at home until I find a yoga class that suits me. I just do whatever my body and mind require, whether it’s a calm session or a bit of power :). I love that it’s something that can be done anywhere.

        I wish I was good enough to become certified to teach but I’m not flexible enough (yet) to teach others the positions the right way so for now I’ll focus just on my own practise.

  • http://susanneisme.blogspot.nl/ Susanne V.

    What a great instructor and a great way to end a class. Any class! And I think you and she are right, people should be kind to themselves.
    Great post!

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      The instructor really IS a gem as far as fitness teachers go and I’ve loved every single class she’s been at the head of. Kindness is often a gift that we bestow upon others, but forget that we owed it to ourselves FIRST.

  • http://www.diariesofanessexgirl.com/ Kate Hall

    OK woah. We definitely just became soul mates because I have forgotten how to ride a bike too! I am so ashamed.

    Exercis bikes? Love. Them. ‘Real’ bikes? I fall down.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      HAHA! YESSSSS! We are definitely soul mates and I’m in good company if I’m not along in being bicycle challenged. Don’t you just have to fight the urge to roll your eyes and be like THAT IS NOT TRUE! When people bring that reference up to you? Also, exercise bikes are the bomb.com

  • http://www.scatteredseashells.com/ Chantal

    Wow! Love love love this. Spin class is pretty amazing, too.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      I’m glad you loved it! Are you liking Korea? Yes, spin is RAD!!! I can’t believe that I stayed away from it for so long just because of my history with bikes. I was soooo missing out!

      • http://www.scatteredseashells.com/ Chantal

        Loving it! Trying desperately to find an apartment we like now. When do I get to see you?

  • http://lostintravelsblog.com/ Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

    what an awesome class! i love teachers that go above and beyond and find ways to truly encourage those that they are teaching and help them find their confidence. because if you are confident about something, you’ve already taken several steps in the right direction.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      I’m with you on loving teachers who are passionate and willing to go that extra bit to make the class a special experience. Helping others find their confidence is pretty much one of the most rewarding things that I think a person can do in their own life so when I encounter a teacher who helps me get a little more swag in my step I am thrilled!!!

  • Alyssa @ Lyss + Loveliness

    Yes yes yes! I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe lies and repeat those to ourselves instead of speaking kindly to ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://quarterlife-adventures.com Anne

    what an awesome class and instructor. I think these kinds of exercises should be more common. People are so not used to speak kindly to themselves, especially in public. Makes you wonder why… To be honest for me this would also be difficult. But after a strong workout and adrenaline rushing through your veins, seems like the perfect moment to start doing this. Wish I could find a teacher with a similar spirit here! :-)