Don't Quit. Grow.
Strength training is hard on the body. You push and you pull against resistance as you sweat and feel your muscles stretch uncomfortably.
Life feels much the same sometimes. But that's how you grow.
It's not about looking on the bright side or looking for the silver lining. It's about not quitting. It's about knowing you are uncomfortable but you will not stop now. You'll give it another day. And that's how you grow. You won't be able to stop that growth. It's quit or grow.
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MUSIC: Always With Me Always With You by ZakharValaha
I was working out the other day. I have a home gym machine that I do my own thing on. I had music blasting through my ear buds, sweat dripping down my forehead, and my body felt exhausted. And I thought “this is hard”.
But I’ll tell you, as quick as I heard myself validate how tired I felt, I also heard “No. This isn’t hard. Growing up in a split family is hard. Cutting for over 20 years as your self-harm coping strategy… that’s hard. Having a failed marriage, yourself, adapting with a new husband, raising kids in a blended family… that’s hard”.
I argued back, “it is hard though. Maybe just a different kind of hard. Strength training with resistance is hard”.
“Of course, it is”, whispered back. “Strength training is literally about growing. Growth doesn’t happen unless you are stretched beyond comfort. Growth doesn’t happen in ease. And not for one second do you have to be grateful for hard times that didn’t lead you out of comfort, but violently shoved you into distress. You don’t have to learn to look on the bright side and see the silver lining. There have been many times that there was no silver lining to be found. But you still grew”.
“And the resistance. The push back, or the pull against. Ya, that’s a real thing too. Anything new, anything uncomfortable or painful or frustrating or confusing… anything hard. We will want to resist going there. It will want to resist falling into a place we can have peace with. And again, you don’t have to learn to make peace with what was hard. But if you don’t quit, if you don’t decide to stop trying to survive and make it through to another day… you won’t be able to do anything about the growth. It will just happen because you decided to let another day happen”.
“Ya, but I train, and I lift, and I push, and I pull against the resistance. I sweat and I cry and I’m sore. But the scale will stay pretty much the same”.
“What did you think would happen? You’d get taller? You’d wake up blond or with new thick luscious hair? Did you think your bones would shift and you’d have new knees that have never had injuries before? Is that what you thought?”
“Because even if the scale doesn’t boast of a new person, your shape says something about you is new. You’ve lost inches in some places to be gained in other places. You don’t work hard to wipe certain experiences from your life, only to have room for positive ones only. You don’t work hard to become un-divorced, no longer the daughter of a mother who is gone now. You can’t undo losing loved ones, or experienced abuse”.
“No, you didn’t become someone knew, but you did change. You are changing. That’s the growth sweetheart. You lose in some places, and you gain in some places. Your waist is smaller and firmer, but your arms are tight with muscle. The scale can only measure weight. But it can’t accurately measure change”.
“Ok, I’ll give you that. But I’m still not where I want to be. I had dreams, goals, and plans. Many of them didn’t work out. They aren’t part of my life. And many will never be. They just can’t ever happen now”.
“Thank God. What if you were exactly the way you always wanted to be? What then? Would you just be done? What is there to aim for if you have achieved everything you’ve ever wanted? I’d say your dreams were too small and your goals too easy. And for the ones that will never come true now? That sounds uncomfortable. I wonder what happens when you’re uncomfortable. Oh ya, here we grow again”.
You see, in order for you to bring something new, you have to disrupt something normal. Any time you want to position yourself for something new, something better even, you have to leave something old. Something that was good enough. Something that was comfortable.
And that, can feel hard.
Leaving something is an action. It infers that you are on the move. You are growing.
And we have to stop seeing growth as transportation. We don’t have to see growth as a means to get to where we are going.
What if we could see growth as a way to be. Growth is us on the move. It is the opposite of being stuck. It’s a way of being. Constantly growing, learning, going ahead. And it’s not that we don’t have goals to try and reach, but we don’t grow to get there and then plant ourselves there.
We grow and move towards the goals, towards the dreams and we celebrate when we arrive and achieve. Only to set new goals and continue growing.
We don’t need to be grown. Ever. All of our goals are along the journey but the journey itself is to grow and continue growing. Until our last day.
And this will look different person to person, and this will change and include detours and re-routing. Many had goals for the last few years that were put on hold, delayed, or cancelled altogether because of a world-wide pandemic. And that matters. That is disappointing and frustrating and something to grieve even. But it is not a reason to stop.
It is not a reason to cancel all goals, cancel all dreams, and reserve to the fact that growth is too hard.
If this has happened to you, over the last few years or ever… that is not failure and that is not weakness. That is life. And I don’t say that lightly as if its life and you just need to get over it. No, I say it like that is life that did that. Life happens and will continue to happen to us, around us, and at us. That’s resistance. And resistance is strength training.
And it can feel hard. We know that. We established that. But hard doesn’t mean bad and it doesn’t mean wrong. It means that we are uncomfortable and like it or not, we will have to choose… QUIT or GROW.
So, what is it? Cause you are not the only one. You are not the only one sweating right now. You are not the only one tired and struggling and afraid. And that’s not saying suck it up cause other people struggle too or have it worse than you. It just means, you are not alone. It means it is not some character flaw that has brought you to where you are. It means that you don’t have to be ashamed or feel guilted into hiding your struggle.
Someone is willing to be honest enough to say ya, me too, let’s lean in on each other OR they are willing to say I remember those days, someone helped me through them, let me help you too.
Because our struggles will not be the same as someone else’s. Even if we have experienced the same event, our personal experience of it will never be exactly the same as someone else’s. Which means that someone could be supportive and help along the journey…
But no one is going to be able to do it for you.
It’s your journey. Others can walk with you, but no one can walk it for you.
It’s your journey. But it’s your growth too. No one can have it. It belongs to you. It’s yours and it waits for you. No one can take your growth away from you and no one can have it as their own. It belongs to you ONLY. It will not fit anyone else. They have their own, should they choose to grow.
Because it’s QUIT or GROW.
Listen, I heard someone the other day say that to focus on the fact that you are struggling… is arrogance. And I almost fell off my chair. Really? Sure, to focus too long and too hard on the struggle itself rather than a possible solution or some help or support would be you getting stuck in it, but that’s not arrogance.
We live in a world where many are struggling to survive and that’s not due to arrogance or a lot of other reasons, we can blame them for. It’s reality. It’s the world we live in. To start blaming people in their struggle starts having them lean towards QUIT.
I want people to know that there is another option. GROW. And that will likely be uncomfortable and painful many days. It may feel like you can’t see results enough to measure. But it doesn’t make a NEW YOU. It makes you, shape differently.
When we are faced with something to get through, the goal isn’t just to get through it. The goal is to find something within it that will shape us in and for the other side. And that’s growth. When you come out just a little different, that’s growth.
And you might think ya, but I came out scarred, battered, bruised, and exhausted.
And those things matter. They aren’t to be invalidated. But the scars are battle wounds of a battle you won. Because you didn’t quit. You are battered because you went to war with what tried to destroy you. And you were not destroyed. You are bruised because you didn’t hide from what was coming at you. You stood and dealt with it all. And you’re exhausted… because all of that, takes all of you. Because you did not quit.
So now you are different. But you will heal. You will be proud of the scars. The bruises will fade, and your strength will return.
And you’ll know more. You’ll see more and recognize more, and you’ll go back into the storm to pull someone else out. Because you are different. You’ve grown.
Don’t QUIT. GROW. Strength training isn’t just for you to be a stronger you. It’s for you to have the strength to lift another until they are strong enough to lift another. And some days… that other, could be you. Not on a failed day. Not on a weak day. But you on a rest day, so you have what it takes tomorrow, to lift another.
But this is all if we refuse to quit and decide to grow. Even when it’s hard. Especially when its hard.
I will not quit. I will grow.