Something having children has taught me is that everything can be a learning opportunity, and that we are born with this desire to soak up every.little.thing and learn EVERYTHING. They want to know why things are the colours that they are, what the order of the planets are, why soccer is played at night and this morning my 5-year-old wanted me to explain nut allergies to him. This is both the single most obnoxious and yet amazing thing about children.
As we get older though, for some reason asking for answers, saying “I don’t know” or seeking help from someone who is more educated than ourselves is often seen as a flaw. We tend to not want to admit when we are wrong or don’t know an answer. But the thing is that adults who seek to expand their knowledge base or learn more are, in my opinion, doing nothing but bettering their lives and those around them. Knowledge is a beautiful thing.
Many personal and professional based conversations have taken place around friends and clients lack of knowledge or know-how when it comes to food based decisions. OR more accurately, there is just so much information out there it can be overwhelming and they don’t even know where to begin to ensure they are building a foundation based on sound knowledge and information. This can be the tricky part.
As I sit here thinking about the foundations of health and the process of healing our bodies, I can’t help but reflect on my yoga practice. I was a very reluctant yogi. I went only because a new friend at the time really wanted to try a class at the gym I was working at but didn’t want to go alone. Y’all, it was truly magical and life changing for me. (But that’s a post for another day.)
You often hear the term yoga “practice” as opposed to class, lesson, session or workout. At first I was embarrassed to call it my yoga practice – it sounded so hippy dippy and new age (and that’s a lot coming from me!), but as my practice grew, my commitment grew and the years went on I realized it’s called a yoga practice because that’s exactly what it is. Any yoga instructor I have had puts such an emphasis on continuous growth, on connecting your mind and body, to focus on the form of your movements and the breath over the complexity of the pose. So 6 years in, it’s my yoga practice because every single time I take to my mat I’m practicing. Practicing calming my mind, practicing being in that moment, practicing while strengthening my body and working on my form. I am continuously striving to push myself and practicing.
What strikes me as odd is many people take this approach when it comes to sports (hell, even professionals practice daily!), activity and other areas of our life but when it comes to our health and what we are putting into our mouths… we expect perfection on the first try. We don’t want to ask for help, often because we don’t even understand or know exactly what the problem is or how our body function works.
We beat ourselves up when our choices and efforts don’t ‘succeed’ in the way we wanted them to the on the right try.
But here’s the thing: everyone has a first day where they feel lost, everyone has made choices they aren’t super pumped about. The real measure of success is what you do after those first moves and face-plants.
If what you are doing is not giving you the results you want (weight-loss, healthy relationships, strong body, more sleep.. whatever), stop and evaluate. Are your expectations out of whack? Is your approach not ideal for who you are and your lifestyle?
It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to ask for help, or trial and error on your own. Just keep moving forward and making better choices than the ones that came before.