Guilty Redemption

Jul 22, 2013 by

          On Friday, between the hours of 12:30 am and 2:30 am, 6:15 am and 8:15 am, and 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm, I completed three workouts. I needed to do Friday’s workout, plus make up for skipping my Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts because of my sunburn. Please note that I do not condone such self-punishing behaviour. Please also note that I am a hypocrite.

          As much as I wish that I could dismiss my perfectionist tendencies by forgiving myself of this week’s two missed workouts – my first missed workouts in months – I couldn’t take the guilt. It was gnawing at my self-image. I workout five times each week, unless there’s a holiday or I’m travelling. Because of my misses, that statement no longer seemed true by Friday. I’m typically an all-or-nothing thinker. It comes with the perfectionist territory. I’m working on assessing situations in less of a black-and-white fashion, but I still have a lot of thought-process restructuring to do. Therefore, in my mind, skipping two workouts is skipping two workouts, and makes me feel as though I can no longer own the claim that I go to the gym five times weekly. I needed to undo the cognitive dissonance.

          I would have loved to report that I had let the two skipped workouts go. I wanted to be a role model of imperfection. To my disappointment, the need to absolve myself took priority. In a compulsive manner, I gave in to the feeling of obligation to complete these workouts. I knew that the make-up workouts would make me feel like a failure of imperfection (Isn’t it ironic that I feel the need to be perfectly imperfect?), but I also knew that not making up the workouts would condemn me to horrible guilt. Both options sucked. However, I was sure that the guilt would bother me more. Thus, in an attempt to be the least unhappy, I drained myself at the gym. It was not fun. Although I’m grateful that I no longer feel guilty, I certainly do not recommend similar forms of self-sentenced penance. Clearly, thinking in absolutes does not yield happiness; it leads to unnecessary pressure. Even though I haven’t mastered this yet, it’s obvious that the avoidance of habitual clear-cut thinking is important to maintaining happiness. Therefore, I encourage all of you to live in the grey. I hope to meet you there someday soon.

Happiness Tip: Think in shades of grey.

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