Finally, a time has arrived that comfort in your own skin seems natural. There is a feeling of alignment with purpose, a sense of alignment with why we are here on this earth. It isn’t about the almighty dollar or how successful WE can be, instead it is about how we impact others and thus the world around us. The moment when we can be completely our silly selves and not care what anyone thinks has arrived and yet intimidation still exists.
Not the feeling that others intimidate but more about situations that feel daunting, that we feel our age or perhaps feel less than others. That excruciating moment when you look around and think you are being judged because you are the oldest, the least in shape, the loudest, the softest, the one feeling like a fish out of water, not knowing if that is truth or not, but feeling it just the same. A few times in the last month or so this feeling has come over me forcing me to wonder, why am I intimidated? Why do I feel judged?
Most recently I took a new class toward my certificate for pilates instruction. I do not know if I will ever instruct but I love learning more about my body, how to move it differently and create more flexibility and stability in my spine and core without the impact of jumping around. I walked into the studio and my age smacked me in the face. Nobody else in the class was 60. There were one or two in their 50’s but the majority are in the 30’s and 40’s. Many are already instructing other fitness classes, whether that be yoga, barre, zumba. And here I am, a good 25 pounds overweight and never have taught a fitness class in my life, INTIMIDATION.
All that went through my head when I got there was how I don’t belong. Who the hell is going to take a pilates class from an overweight past her prime woman? I had to swallow hard and walk through that door like I knew I could do this. As I watched these women get their mats, I thought more about how they must be looking at me as if I am in the wrong room. “Shouldn’t you be in the fitness class down the hall?” was what I imagined them thinking. Oh yes, my judginess was on display for me, loud and clear. The good news was I wasn’t judging them at all other than wondering what they were thinking of me. I was judging me so very harshly that during the introductions I had to say that. After I said my age(which I’m not even sure why I did) and why I was doing this, I shared that I was intimidated as hell. I look around and see people in better physical shape than me, with experience I don’t have and wonder what I am doing. I also shared that the Mat class I took in the spring completely intimidated me at first, but I am still working toward something. I immediately saw smiles and one person turned to me and thanked me because she too was intimidated. She wondered the same things as she walked in the door.
My intimidation immediately changed to relief and wonder. I began to relax. I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit out of my element and I wasn’t the only one looking around the room wondering why I was there comparing myself to everyone else. As I drove home after a full day of learning and teaching, I realized that my intimidation came from such a place of fear. I was fearful of being made fun of, fearful of making a fool of myself, fearful that I would be embarrassed, fearful.
The coach in me started to wonder how I would coach a client who thought all of these things. I asked myself a simple question, what would I tell myself if my lens was love and not fear? I would tell me that everyone here is here for their own reason including me. I see this as an opportunity to improve my own practice and maybe help other people in my age group with physical issues strengthen and find more flexibility and stability. I am proud of myself for jumping into something new. I know that there is no outcome that I am expecting except to learn more. I am excited to see where the journey takes me.
I realized that I was so focused on my fears and my limitations that I ignored all the possibilities. I judged myself so harshly triggering those old feelings of not being good enough. All of those judgements and fears intimidated me and made me feel as if I was crawling inside of myself. I don’t want to shrink any more. I don’t want to judge me anymore.
I came home and took a book out of my bookcase, Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein. It is time to re-read it and remind myself that I am good enough, I have no need to judge me or others. It is time to cut the cord with some situations, and maybe people who I have felt judged by so I can heal this next level of judgment and no longer be intimidated by others, by situations and by whatever growth I am looking to achieve.
Why are we intimidated? For me it is due to feeling less than, judging me and my ability against others and being afraid of taking a leap. Take the leap. Focus on the opportunity. Talk to yourself through a lens of love and not fear. And lose that intimidation; we are good enough!