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On Showing Up

I am currently under a blanket with ice on my hip. It’s really inflamed right now. It was feeling pretty okay despite the running I did last weekend until I decided to do a CrossFit workout yesterday consisting of box jumps, running and kettlebell swings. The last time I did a CF workout with a lot of box jumps my hip hurt like this too so I think that is something I need to avoid for a while. Lesson learned and a reminder that I need to take this nagging injury seriously. I have since done quite a bit of stretching, trigger point release and foam rolling and my hip has calmed down significantly.

I have a really hard time emotionally dealing with injuries. It’s not that I get upset that I can’t workout from a physical “oh my god I must workout or I’m going to gain 10 pounds, lose all my muscle and fitness, etc,” it’s more difficult to deal with just not being able to do the things that I want to do and enjoy doing at the capacity I like doing them at. I want to feel good, strong and confident in my body and being injured shakes that a bit. I mean, I haven’t been able to train for a distance running event in TWO years because of this injury so it just sucks to deal with sometimes.

On an unrelated note on an equally as serious topic, today I wanted to talk about the idea of showing up. I have had a hard time recently dealing with guilt around not following through on commitments that I have made to myself and others. I would say that 75% of the time that I commit to doing something I end up trying to think of a way in my head that I can get out of it. That cycle of thinking and behavior has to improve.

I’ve been focusing on these words from Danielle LaPorte. It’s so straightforward but so true. Do what you say you’re going to do. I’m not sure what it is that creates the flight response in me. I have more work to do around understanding that but in the short time that I have been trying to get better at doing what I say I’m going to do I have found it extremely rewarding and uplifting for my spirit. It feels good to follow through on commitments and be there for people that you care about. And we’ve all been on the receiving end of being bailed on. It doesn’t feel good.

We talked about the idea of showing up a lot in yoga teacher training. Showing up doesn’t always have to be perfect or pretty. Showing up is coming as you are and owning it. I have said this so many times and I am still struggling to apply it to my daily life too but we have to be okay with the fact that every day is not a great or even good day. That doesn’t mean we have to curl up in a ball and hide away. It’s okay to show up and not be at 100%.

I always encourage my yoga students to turn and face each other at the end of class. I ask them to thank themselves and everyone who practiced with them and shared their energy. Some days you have to take energy from those around you and other days you have energy to give. We just have to believe it will all even out.

Do you show up or do you bail? Be honest. And how do you feel when you do what you say you are going to do instead of finding a way out? 

One last note…I am going to be publishing another review post/giveaway later today. Please understand that I only do these for products that I believe in and use and that I typically like to space them out a little more. Thank you for your patience and support! Muah. 

{ 29 comments… add one }

  • 1
    Laura December 12, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Girl, I know how frustrating dealing with an injury must be, but you HAVE to be kind to your body!! You often push yourself outside your limits, which can be an extremely positive attribute, but obviously your body is rebelling! It must be so hard because you are in a lifestyle where you are continually surrounded by thoughts of exercise and fitness. I bet you wouldn’t think nearly as much about it if you were in an office environment where no one even mentioned or thought of exercise! Just try your hardest to be kind to your body and not push yourself too much. Easier said than done, I know. And I feel you on wanting to bail on commitments. I often have an inner battle with myself about whether or not I should follow through or bail. I think it comes from me being an introvert and sometimes I just don’t feel like pushing myself socially. It’s easier to sit on the couch, but usually when I force myself to honor those commitments, I end up having a great time. I also live in fear that if I say no to invites enough, those invites will stop coming. Friendships are hard work sometimes!

  • 2
    Emily December 12, 2012, 12:54 pm

    I definitely bail sometimes. Every now and then, it just feels good to do what YOU what to do and not have to dress up and be out. However, it does feel great to know that people trust you enough to depend on you. So I try to remember that when I feel like passing on plans and having “me” time.

  • 3
    Julie December 12, 2012, 1:03 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree. I feel like I make plans all the time that I’m sooooo excited about at the time I make them, but then when the day comes I try to find an excuse to back out. And it’s not like it’s something boring like grocery shopping, I’ll even think about bailing on fun nights out or a fancy dinner. I wonder why we do that? It’s definitely something for me to work on in 2013.

  • 4
    Addy @ Six-Kick Switch December 12, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Showing up is totally something that I’ve had to work on. I’m like you, I immediately start thinking of excuses. What gets me out of it is two things: 1) I always think ‘how will I feel if I don’t go?” Like a lousy friend? Like an outsider? Usually the knowledge that I’ll regret my not-showing-up is enough motivation to make me go. But if that doesn’t help, I always think of that Jim Carrey movie, ‘Yes Man’. I think I’ve told you this before? Anyways, it inspired me to just say YES to things without over-analyzing it!

    And on the note of dealing with injuries, I am also like you. But on Thursday, I said yes to a team-mate’s invitation to an “old-lady yoga class” (her words, not mine!). There were a lot of older people in the class, many of whom couldn’t hold tree pose for longer than three seconds. While it was a slower class, I felt so humbled by these people! It really opened my eyes to the fact that my mobility is a gift, but it also reminded me to have compassion with others (and myself) who are not at the same level of physical performance. Everything is a learning experience, but our own struggles can also help us empathize with others – total learning experience for me :) I hope you’re back on your feet (and hip!) soon!

  • 5
    Jessica December 12, 2012, 1:48 pm

    I’m a huge believer in following through on commitments. I remember vividly when this way of living began for me – I was in junior high and on the phone with some parents asking if I could babysit for them. My indecisive self was wavering, because who knew what other fun stuff might come up! I realized that they needed an answer, a firm commitment of yes or no, and that ultimately it didn’t matter what I choose other than I stuck with my decision. I realized then that this is a form of respect for those you interact with. For me, honoring commitments I make is a big deal. It’s my way of showing I respect them and their time (and myself). It also works in the reverse where I expect a similar respect, and can be really disappointed and frustrated when I’m not given that. I think this way of approaching commitments has really helped me with saying no to things. I think this is a HUGE deal. So many people have a hard time saying no to something because they don’t want to be mean/disappoint/whatever, but ultimately, I think not following through on your word is an even bigger disappointment. I’m not meaning to sound harsh or critical of anyone out there….really, I’m trying to emphasis how good it is for yourself to do this. If you listen to yourself when deciding if you can actually do something or if it will fill your cup too full, you will be happier and not waste time thinking yourself out of the situation. You will respect the needs and time of all parties involved and ultimately, feel better about yourself and what you do AND don’t do. I think this was a really powerful lesson for me to learn and I’ve carried it with me my whole life. Have I over-committed myself unintentionally? Of course. Learning where that line is can be tricky, but is so important to learn. Wow….didn’t mean for this to be so preachy/ranty! We all have our own journey and lessons to learn – this just happens to be one of mine!

  • 6
    Tori December 12, 2012, 1:53 pm

    I definitely understand the pressure to show up and appear “perfect.” I feel like as an elementary teacher, my students need to see that it’s okay to express emotion in a positive way and accept that you may be having a bad day, and work to getting over it. My first year, I always tried to appear perfect, even when I wasn’t (most of the time!). I think my students relate a lot better to me when they can see that just like them, I have bad days too!
    :)

  • 7
    *Andrea* December 12, 2012, 2:02 pm

    This is something I’m working on too! I hope you heal and take care of your (one) body :) A helpful quote I recently have been reflecting on:

    “Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there’d be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these “set backs” as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”
    – Jason Kiddard

  • 8
    Jessica December 12, 2012, 2:16 pm

    A work acquaintance called me out for bailing on her multiple times. Once confronted about it, I realized that I bailed because I wasn’t interested in continuing to build that relationship. Being called out for that didn’t feel good. I recognized patterns in myself where I would get burned out and bail. I would over commit and then FREAK out (too often). I would avoid issues instead of dealing with them. I believe in integrity and I want to be a person of my word. However, I wasn’t being true to myself nor listening to what I really wanted, nor taking the time I personally needed to recoup. While I am outgoing and enjoy being around people, I recharge best when I’m quiet and alone, with no TV or computer screens. Also, the things I do for work require a lot of personal energy. I am slowly but surely learning when I need to say no to something.

    There are 3 key things I do that keep me showing up/not burning out/limiting flight response:
    1- Set boundaries. Examples: I stop responding to work email by 8 p.m. I don’t drink during the week (I make a few exceptions). I schedule only 1 after work meeting/dinner/etc. per week.

    2-Block off “off time.” Every two weeks, I look at my calendar and block off time where I won’t schedule anything. Certain work meetings or events take more personal energy, so I’ll block off a day before big events and 1-2 days after, when I know I’ll need the recovery. I don’t always use this time as “off time”, but it helps to keep people from scheduling meetings with me. I’m able to limit how often I burn out.
    When I have things

    3-Make time for the things that really matter to you. I am constantly re-arranging my priorities. Me and my health are number 1. Work is often number 2, followed by my family/friends. Some weeks we flop these around. But, I make times for the things that matter. And I’m not afraid to say no to the people, things and events that don’t make me a better person.

    • 9
      louly December 13, 2012, 7:05 am

      this is excellent advice – thanks for sharing!

  • 10
    Bess @ Bess Be Fit December 12, 2012, 2:37 pm

    I don’t bail on others much if ever, but I find I’ll bail on my own plans–a lot. Things like working out or chores or errands…sometimes I just keep pushing it back or saying “not today” but in reality it just makes me more stressed out because then it feels like I have more on my ‘to-do’s”!

  • 11
    Emily December 12, 2012, 2:44 pm

    Showing up can be difficult! Sometimes it may because I have over committed myself. Or, I may have committed to something that I didn’t want to do but couldn’t find the strength to say no. Sometimes, hanging out under the covers instead of interacting with people just sounds better. Other times, what keeps me from showing up might be my own emotional or hormonal issues (think insecurity, struggling with the comparison trap, etc). When life is throwing many curve balls, showing up is just plain hard.

    It’s valuable to realize when showing up is right or wrong for you. For example, if I know I am going to feel worse about myself after not showing up, then going is a must. Deducting points off of my self-esteem is never worth it in these cases. I’m glad you posted this topic. It’s something that I am still trying to figure out too!

    I hope your hip feels better soon. I have struggled with hip inflammation caused by running. Hips can be such a tough place to stretch and heal and all the more frustrating when you need to step back a little from working out. The mental/emotional benefits from working out are what make it a daily “must” for me. Hope the rest you get is helpful!

  • 12
    Claire December 12, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Showing up can be difficult! Sometimes it may because I have over committed myself. Or, I may have committed to something that I didn’t want to do but couldn’t find the strength to say no. Sometimes, hanging out under the covers instead of interacting with people just sounds better. Other times, what keeps me from showing up might be my own emotional or hormonal issues (think insecurity, struggling with the comparison trap, etc). When life is throwing many curve balls, showing up is just plain hard.

    It’s valuable to realize when showing up is right or wrong for you. For example, if I know I am going to feel worse about myself after not showing up, then going is a must. Deducting points off of my self-esteem is never worth it in these cases. I’m glad you posted this topic. It’s something that I am still trying to figure out too!

    I hope your hip feels better soon. I have struggled with hip inflammation caused by running. Hips can be such a tough place to stretch and heal and all the more frustrating when you need to step back a little from working out. The mental/emotional benefits from working out are what make it a daily “must” for me. Hope the rest you get is helpful!

  • 13
    Courtney December 12, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I’m most definitely a “FLIGHT” type of gal. Having realized this over the past 2-3 years, I can now recognize that it’s typically not toward people – or things to do with others. For me, it kicks in when things aren’t what I expected, or that I’m not good at. My entire life, I’ve excelled in sports, so if I wasn’t the ‘best’ at a particular sport, I’d quit and move on to something else I wanted to try. The cycle continued into college, and right out into the ‘real’ world. I didn’t’ like a job, I’d quit. In my current position, I’m fighting this feeling EVERY SINGLE DAY, and boy is it rough! What I do know is that by speaking about it – states recognition. Recognition can bring on healing. Let the healing begin, right?!!

    I’m so grateful for your honesty – as so often I think I’m alone in the boat!

  • 14
    Lindsay December 12, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Love this quote. It follows along with my mantra of making sure I keep the promises that I make to myself. If I can’t keep my own promises why would I expect anyone to keep theirs to me?

    One thing I do think is important that was stressed by other people, while acknowledging the importance of following through with commitments, it’s also very important to know when to embrace the power of “no” and not spread yourself thin.

  • 15
    Christine December 12, 2012, 3:01 pm

    I have been beating myself up for the past couple of weeks about how terrible I have been lately about making and subsequently cancelling plans. SHOWING UP summed it up perfectly. I am in yoga teacher training and we talk about the idea a lot, but it’s easy to forget (especially if you want to forget!) how that translates outside the yoga practice/studio. Thank you for the reminder that it’s ok for it to feel like an effort sometimes and that it doesn’t have to be 100%.

  • 16
    Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin December 12, 2012, 3:08 pm

    This is something that was HUGE for me throughout college. I would commit myself to anything and everything, and often not follow through because I would get so anxious when the time came around to the event. It was often things that when I made myself go (because I couldn’t come up with any valid excuse or I knew another excuse would hurt my relationship with that person), I was always SO glad I followed through. I don’t know why I would always do bail on things that were often supposed to just be for fun (it’s not like I was bailing on class or work). The past year or so I have made a HUGE improvement in this area because I’ve realized that bailing on plans makes me unhappy in the end, and makes that other person unhappy. It’s a win win to follow through and do what I say I’m going to do. Plus, I would rather look back on life and not regret NOT doing something. You hit the nail on the head by saying we don’t always have to be 100% to show up, but showing up at all is better than not. Thank you for this post – it’s a reminder to keep up with my goal to stick with commitments!

  • 17
    Lisa December 12, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Great post Jen! I hope your hip feels much better soon! I think this was a huge, huge issue for me back in my college days. I suffered from such high panic and anxiety that I would commit to things and then back out because my anxiety got too high, which wasn’t a good excuse because I’d end up more anxious in the end haha. Funny how that all works. I agree, just because we aren’t feeling super confident or happy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hide away from the world, it’s times like these where we need the love and support of others and we often feel uplifted after showing up.

  • 18
    Joy December 12, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I totally know how you feel about dealing with injury. I have had an ankle issue for the last year that has kept me from running a marathon I was training for, and now it is keeping me from running completely (and doing any other serious aerobic activity). It’s hard for me because, like you, I want to feel strong and to be able to push my body to new places and feel happy about my accomplishments. But the body needs time to heal.

    I love the idea of showing up, even if it’s not 100%. Sometimes I cancel plans with friends because I’m feeling grumpy, or like I’ll be bad company. Sometimes I guess it’s better just to meet up.. and most likely my mood would get lifted.

  • 19
    Jo December 12, 2012, 4:39 pm

    I am SO glad you posted on this! I have gone years thinking that I was the only one who had this showing up problem. I would commit to things left and right, and then when the time came to do them I would cancel. It even extended, terribly enough, to charity work. One thing that helped me was doing a sort of “zero month” of really trying not to commit to anything that I was iffy on or that was long term. This gave me room to think, breathe, and figure out what the things were that I was doing and enjoying. It really helped to ground me. I also try to make a rule to not book evening commitments more than two (or maybe three) nights during the week. If I get overbooked I inevitably get overwhelmed and back out. I also stopped just saying yes automatically to anything anyone sends me, even fun nights out. I try to think about my week and what I have going on, and then if I say yes I know I will want to go. Thanks SO much for writing about this. It makes me feel so much better to know that others have this issue.

  • 20
    Beverly December 12, 2012, 4:58 pm

    OK – I always show up and do what I say I am going to do. BUT, I also almost always want to bail or dread doing what I say I will do. I show up out of guilt often more than out of desire and I, like you, would like to know what that is about. I would say that I often volunteer to do things or be places when really I should just keep my mouth shut.

  • 21
    Ally December 12, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Jen, I’m sorry to hear about your hip, so very frustrating. I think you’re approaching it really well though and handling it with grace. Serendipitous timing your mobility talk. I was in a car accident five years ago this day after Christmas and I have been haunted with injuries since then. I’ve made a lot of progress since, but just started physical therapy again at the end of November. I don’t know why, but it felt like a huge hurdle to reenter therapy; like, everything was my fault for not being better or “heal” faster or whatever. You’re dedication to your own well-being is encouraging. I have never fully regained the level of physical activity that I had prior to my accident and it’s challenging. I’m a work in progress.

    Also, love the talk on showing up. That’s been a big one for me. I used to be really bad at following through, but it has honestly been a priority for me this last year. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” has become one of my life mantras and it helps me step back and assess my own intentions.

  • 22
    Lindsey December 12, 2012, 5:28 pm

    I show up and on occasion I bail. When I commit to doing something, anxiety typically follows- consisting of TONS of “what ifs?” What if I’m late? What if I show up but my mind is elsewhere? I could go on and on.

    Unless I am doing something I felt forced or guilted into doing I feel great about following through. Keeping my word is important and I try to treat others the way I wish to be treated.

  • 23
    chrissie December 12, 2012, 5:33 pm

    thanks for posting this! I definitely have problems with bailing – I often make plans that sound great at the time, and then when they come around, I secretly hope that the other person will cancel, or something will come up so we can reschedule. I don’t know why that is – but it definitely happens more, the more stressed out I am. I’ve been trying to be better and follow through with my plans, even if I don’t want to go, and most of the time I’m glad I went. I wonder if it’s because of my tendency towards introverted-ness, when most of my friends are extroverts?

  • 24
    kat December 12, 2012, 7:41 pm

    I show up. Period. And I get frustrated when others don’t. Sure there are times when I don’t feel as up to it as I did initially, but I still do it and I’d say 100% of the time I’m glad I did. I don’t know why I’m like this or why others aren’t, but I’ve always been this way. I’ve had many friends/colleagues/etc. tell me that I’m their “most dependable” friend/coworker/etc. And that feels good. One thing I will say: I can be wishy-washy until I know for sure whether I will do something…but once I say I’m going to do it, I will. I guess the wishy-washyness is the time I give myself to really think through whether or not I feel up to making the commitment. Maybe that’s the take-away for the “flight” people – don’t be so quick to say yes to something that you aren’t really sure you’re up for. That’s a “people-pleasing” trait – and warrants further examination of why one feels the need to make everyone happy, potentially at one’s own expense. Things that make you go “hmm”. ;)

  • 25
    Paige @ The Balancing Act December 13, 2012, 7:33 am

    What an interesting dialogue this post has started! I don’t know exactly how often I bail vs. show up, but I do know that I almost always WANT to bail. I think part of it is that sometimes I’m just too much of a homebody/loner for my own good! ;) Other times, though, I think it’s a sign of a bigger problem at hand: I might dread a meeting because I already feel stressed and overcommitted, or I might not feel up to a night with friends because I’m dealing with something difficult and don’t want to face anyone or talk about it.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals for 2013 (as many people are this time of year), and I think I’ll definitely make “careful commitment” something to strive for. That is, I want to take more time to reflect prior to committing, but once I commit, I want to follow through 100% (even if I’m not feeling 100% at the time).

    Finally, hang in there with your injuries! Many people who don’t love exercise won’t understand that you don’t just work out to burn calories–it’s an integral part of your life that provides you with energy and light and is a means of connecting with others in a much deeper way than words alone. Stay strong, listen to your body, and keep being an inspiration to us all!

  • 26
    Rachael December 13, 2012, 8:13 am

    Excellent post, Jen. “I would say that 75% of the time that I commit to doing something I end up trying to think of a way in my head that I can get out of it.” Thank you for sharing that. I love the integrity and vulnerability and strength of “showing up” when you feel like a loser/not up for it. Sometimes you do need rest/personal zone out time, but we do have so much to give (even in our low times) and being around others is sometimes a great way to receive strength and love. It’s a blessing when people can be strong for you.

  • 27
    Elizabeth December 13, 2012, 10:25 am

    Jen — I love reading your site and you have inspired me to try yoga! Do you know of any good studios in the Buckhead area of Atlanta? Thanks so much!

  • 28
    Danielle December 13, 2012, 6:08 pm

    I’m really bad with backing out of things, especially plans with friends. My husband hates when I make plans because 90% of the time I cancel. I don’t know why I do it:(

  • 29
    She Rocks Fitness December 13, 2012, 6:28 pm

    LOVED this post as soon as I saw the title! So much truth in all that you have said! I too sometimes struggle with “showing up” or committing to something that I say I am going to do and end up not doing it. I am not sure why I do this and it is something that I need to work on. It’s hard to admit it, but at least I know that I’m aware of it. I have tendency to do this with “trips”. I like to dream big and say I’m going to take a vacation or visit friends and then I bail and come up with stupid excuses as to why I shouldn’t go. I think I just came up with a resolution for 2013. Travel, explore, and commit! THANKS! XOXO

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