Using the Will and Learning Acceptance

Have you ever said these words to yourself? "If only I were skinny, I'd be popular!" "People would like me more if I were thinner." "I can't go to a gym. People might laugh at me."


Do you believe the saying that you are only as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside? Have you ever seen a beautiful person who, once opening his or her mouth, became unattractive in an instant? I believe that beauty on the outside is only skin deep. What does it mean to be beautiful from the inside out? First of all, when I meet someone on the street, my first instinct might be to judge him or her by his or her looks, but if I truly see each person as that person is, then I will see the truth. Most of us have gone through some kind of hurt or pain in lives. Do you become bitter? Do you become stronger and keep going? Do you give up?

My vision is to enter a class as an instructor and see only acceptance, from my students and myself. My dream is to have a class of kids or adults who are accepting of their peers, who don't see an overweight person and wonder what they are doing there. Encouragement is what I want to see. Kids can be the cruelest at times, but kids are also the most accepting. I have been told that a teacher is only as good as his or her instructor. As I ponder that statement, I have to wonder, as I have not yet begun teaching. It is my heart's desire to love my students unconditionally, that they feel accepted in my class and that they be guided in the way of fitness. I want them to have a true feeling of accomplishment.

I plan to teach Tae Bo and, within the next year, I will also teach Kenpo Karate. I want old and young alike, fit and unfit, to want to come to my class, to know that they have achieved something that wasn't easy. Not because I want any glory, but because I have felt pain; I have felt as though I couldn't enter a gym; I felt like people would like me if only I wasn't shy and if only I were pretty. I want to guide others into a way of life that will not only leave them physically fit, but also leave them with a stronger will and a healthy self-esteem.

I would like to teach children, while they are still young, about acceptance and kindness. Not just for others, but also for themselves. I used to enjoy poking fun at other people. What I see now is that we are all individuals. We don't have to live the popular way. We don't have to conform to be somebody. That is something that learn from peers at a young age. Do we have to buy into it? That is up to us. I did not learn this lesson until recently. What I know now is that making fun of others is just a short-term approach toward making me feel better about myself.

I spent a childhood of abuse, feeling like I was in a dark tunnel and that I would not make it out alive. I was alive physically, but my soul was slowly dying, in the same way a candle dies out when it is deprived of oxygen. My only strength was in God, Himself. I want to help people like me. I want to show them that there is another way. I want to help them get back their self-esteem. I can't do it for them, but I can help guide them. I can use my pain to help others see that they, too, can be free.

Not everyone has been abused. Some people are just physically unfit and are too busy to give themselves any time. Is this because of low self-esteem? It might or might not be. It is a precarious position to be in. They probably feel guilty about taking time out for themselves. I say, "You can only help others if you help yourself." You can only love others if you truly love yourself. I am not talking about being selfish. There is definitely a difference. Truly loving yourself for who are you and who you will be in the future is not selfish at all. It is more about acceptance. The more you accept yourself the less you need to judge others.

So, what is my point? Where am I going with all this? My point is this: We all need to put aside judgment of others and focus on ourselves. Not a selfish or judgmental focus, but a focus that allows us to work on our self-esteem and exercise our will; a focus that allows us to accept ourselves for who we are and what we are capable of. We need to love others and we need to be loved despite pain, despite our past, despite how we look. For some, the feeling of accomplishment is a start and for others being able to take out aggression in a healthy way really helps to begin a process of healing.

How does self-esteem tie in with working your will? As you choose to make fitness a part of your lifestyle and as you continue to push your body to its limits you will notice not only a stronger body, but also a stronger Will and a more sound mind. Endorphins are released when we work out and they are necessary to uplift your mood and reduce stress. A better outlook in general will help you to make better choices in your day-to-day living. If you can work out for longer periods of time or continue a work out when your muscles are screaming for you to stop, then you can also say, no, to that extra plate of food or maybe to help you overcome the desire to smoke cigarettes. These are just a couple of examples to show you what I am talking about. Neither is it easy to overcome for the average person. Your will is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes and it will carry over into all areas of your life.

In closing, let's not judge the person who is desperate and wants to change their lives for the better. They have as much right in a class as anyone else. Let's not judge the person who is uncoordinated. It has probably taken all the courage they have to get themselves to class. Let's not look in the mirror and say, if only. Let's see ourselves for who we are and who we can be and then we can see the same in others. Do you have the will to at least give it a try?

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