Gooooooooooddddd Morning! Or afternoon. Or evening…whenever you’re reading this.

We got #blessed this past weekend, y’all. If you weren’t able to make it outside and do something with Mother Nature, you missed out. I’m so thankful for the sunshine and somewhat warmer weather. I went for a short jog and did a little bit of walking on Friday – in a tank top and shorts đŸ™‚ Saturday was a little chilly when class started, but people were still brave and went outside to do all kinds of rando stuff. And there were so many people. The sun came out, it warmed up, and we all got some vitamin D. Today I went for a jog. It feels good to be running again. However, my IT band hates me. BUT hot yoga helped, AND I found this video from MobilityWOD to be so helpful, and fitting as well.

Ok,ok okkkkk…I finished my first book of 2018. This is a major feat for me because I have a hard time sitting still long enough to finish books in their entirety – besides sports biographies (random, but I love them). I can listen to something all day, but sitting down to actually read is struggs. BUT not being on social media the past couple of Sundays (and turning my notifications OFF) has helped me to find a little more time. Crazy how that goes?

This book is called Braving the Wilderness by Dr. Brene Brown.  I kept hearing great things about BrenĂ©, and recently, this book in particular. She’s a wonderful writer, and I think it’s pretty cool that we went to school to study the same thing – social work. However, it’s safe to say she’s done a lot more with her education than I have with mine, haha. There’s way more to her, but you can just read all the details on her website. 

Even before I read this book, I wanted 2018 to be a year of vulnerability, transparency, and being true to myself, no matter what. The thing about me is this… I love affirmation. You don’t have to buy me things, you definitely don’t have to go out of your way for me, and I’m even ok with you not wanting to spend time with me. I just need you to approve of me, AND let me know it while we’re at it. I’ve always been a total people pleaser, and if you don’t like me, I need to know why, and then conform to who you think I should be. Not good. Approval has become sort of an idol for me. So, while I still want to be kind and do my best to be a good role model, love others despite even our differences sometimes, and be appropriate, I still want to be KEWL with just being myself.

I have a long way to go, but I’m pleased with the initiation I’ve taken so far. Maybe I’ll share more about this one day….

But for now, I want to focus on this book with all of you (for whoever is listening đŸ™‚ 

BrenĂ© lays out 4 elements to think about in this book…and they are worth sharing!!!:

  1. People are hard to hate close up. Move in.
  2. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.
  3. Hold hands. With strangers. (((<—-I’m just glad she didn’t say “hug” :))))
  4. Strong Back. Soft front. Wild Heart.

I’m not going to take your entire day by breaking each one down, and this isn’t a book report FYI – which is lucky for you, and book reports are for the 4th grade anyway.

BUT I DO want to focus on this whole “Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart” thing. BrenĂ© wraps the book up with this practice, and to me, it somewhat summarizes what the entire book is about. 

Strong Back = Courage to stay true to ourselves, no matter what. As in, stop trying to be perfect and please others at the expense of my true identity.

Soft Front = Vulnerability. As in, to stay open to the thoughts, needs, beliefs, and opinions of others, instead of attacking and losing all hope of staying civil. 

Wild Heart = THE JOY that comes from navigating the above tension. And as BrenĂ© says so wonderfully, to be fierce AND kind.

Soooo…what does this have to do with me?  – And maybe you too. Everything. In a world that demands for us to conform, compete, and do whatever we can to fit in, it’s easy to try and be someone we’re not. It’s way more comforting to not speak up. And because we think dumb thoughts sometimes, there are those times where it feels good in the moment to tear others down, or assume the worst.

But the good news is this…There is no other YOU out there. And there is no other me. I believe it is because we were each born with specific, God given gifts and qualities that make up who we are. So, why try and be someone else? Why try and compete? Why tear others down to build ourselves up just a little bit? 

So, here is your reminder (and mine too) to DO YOU today. How can you make the world a better place? What gifts do you have to share with others? And in the process, let’s be a little softer. If there is someone or something that bothers us, move closer. See what’s really going on. And be slow to fight back.

Last thing…you’re probs like “ALISON – what does this have to do with fitness?” And that’s a good question. It can be about whatever you want it to be…including all things fitness and health. For those of you competitive people, like me…it’s a good reminder for us to “stay in our lane.” Our progress and skills are going to look different. But that’s what makes us who we are. 

For some of us, maybe this is a reminder that we aren’t defined by a number on a scale, or by what our arms look like in a sleeveless top, or our butt in workout shorts. We’re not defined by abs, or choosing to eat healthy food because we want what’s best for our body, or choosing to eat ice cream for that matter. You and I are more than that. 

Anyway…thanks for reading. This is a work in progress for me to. Growth is fun. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, and then one step backwards. But that’s ok. It’s all part of it, and ultimately, we’re still slowly moving in the right direction.

Have a great week!