Exposure II: Recent

Last time, we delved into a belief that might be holding you back from enjoying the outdoors or working out. Today, let’s become curious about that belief and possibly shift perspective a bit.

In the daily walking post, I introduced the grubblers, who made noise about how much and how fast and how far I was (or wasn’t) walking. They were also the ones with helpful reminders like these:

  • “Somebody might be watching you through their window.”
  • “Oh no, there’s a car coming. What are they thinking about me?”

I think we all know logically that most people couldn’t care less about who’s walking down the street. But the truth of it is, those thoughts aren’t the result of the behavior of others are they?

They’re about you and the stories you tell yourself.

Here’s the thing:

As long as you judge yourself, you will assume you are judged by others.

If part of what’s holding you back from enjoying the outdoors or any other way you want to rock your world, is the belief that you shouldn’t be seen, what would be possible for you if you released it?

  • You wouldn’t have to hide out in your basement to move your body.
  • You could join that yoga class you’ve been waiting on ‘skinny’ for.
  • You could move through the world, never having to deal with the “What if they’re looking.” grubblers. They are a tiresome energy drain.
  • You could like yourself no matter what the outside looks like.

Practice Promotes Safety

When the grubblers get noisy, they are only trying to keep you safe. When catastrophe persistently fails to strike, they become more comfortable and quiet.

Notice, I didn’t start feeling safe and shifting the belief by sitting around thinking about it. You have to actually do the thing you want to do, and find out that most likely catastrophe isn’t going to strike, and if it does, you are strong and capable of facing it.

One of the ways to get up and start actually doing the thing you’re worried you’re not good enough to do is to imagine what would happen if the “what if” came true.

If one of your “what if” catastrophes is  “They might see me” what would be the worst that would happen? How would you handle that?

I will share this story of recent exposure with you. I headed out on a walk one day with the small-fry by my side on his scooter. He was excited to go up the hill near our house so he could coast down lickety-split. I had worked in the garden, had on an old pair of capri sweats, a sports bra, baggy tank top, and hadn’t shaved my legs in a while. You get the picture. It was going to be a short walk before taking a shower and getting cleaned up to go on a family outing.

As we rounded the corner, here was a woman walking with two of the small-fry’s friends from school. They immediately gave a shout, inviting us to go to the park with them.  I had never formally met the mother, only seeing her in passing. What a lovely first impression of me she was getting, I thought.

Oh, how the grubblers howled.  All my newly found comfort with walking alone outside was sliding fast at the prospect of being seen, even for a minute, in my current state.  I started making excuses for why we wouldn’t have time to go. The mother said if I had things to do the small fry could just go with them and she’d drop him back later.

Spurred no doubt by my recent releasing of these exposure worries, something snapped in my mind and I say what I was denying myself. Based on my judgment of my outward appearance, I was ready to toss the potential for a lovely walk and conversation.  I shrugged off my worries and we joined their troop.

The short version end of the story is that we ended up walking and talking and sitting in the park, and then proceeded back to our deck where my husband joined us while the boys played. What I would have missed out on was three hours of great conversation about a variety of topics; a connection with a like-minded person. Neither my state of dress, nor the shape of my body had any bearing on the enjoyment we had that afternoon.

What are you missing out on by keeping yourself hidden away, literally or figuratively?

Let me know what came up for you:

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