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.
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.
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.
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.
“I AM CAPABLE.”
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.