Yes I Can: Learning to Unravel Limiting Stories

Yes I Can: Learning to Unravel Limiting Stories

Back in February, my therapist informed me that my beloved noon workouts at the wellness center would be canceled.

I’d been going to these workouts consistently twice a week for a year and a half. It may sound strange, but I loved working out at noon. It broke up my day perfectly. Not only that, but training alongside the same women each week offered me community and a support system; something I desperately need since I work from home. (Confession: I often spend entire days speaking to no one except my dog.)

Needless to say, I was comfortable in my routine.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I didn’t exactly take the cancellation news well. I complained to my trainer, my therapist and to anyone who would listen that it wasn’t fair. It was throwing my entire schedule for a loop.

“What about the other time slots in the morning or evening?” my therapist asked gently.

Out came the excuses. The other times wouldn’t work for me. The evening was non-negotiable family time with Dave and the pets. And the mornings weren’t possible either because I’m often ill with nausea or indigestion first thing when I wake up.

She nodded patiently and said she understood; that she was sorry she couldn’t keep the noon classes going. Unfortunately, they just weren’t filling up.

For weeks, I felt totally unmoored. These workouts had become essential to my wellness routine. If I was going to wade through the endless layers of trauma in my past, I needed the physical release of strength training to bring me back to the present.

Each day that passed without a workout, I grew more depressed. I spent hours researching every gym and trainer in the area. Surely, I thought, a few must offer mid-day sessions. Unfortunately, there were no convenient substitutes to be found.

I hit a wall. I was despondent. I knew I needed my workouts to get out of my slump, but didn’t feel like I had any options.

Or did I? 

Ultimately, I realized did have an option: I could keep complaining about how unfair it all was, or I could adjust.

I chose to adjust. On a cold Friday morning, I got my ass up, and showed up to my first 9:00 AM workout.

Predictably, the adjustment was difficult. The first day, I was so sick that my trainer had to put a waste basket next to my station so I could throw up if I needed to. I did. Twice.

My training companions cheered me on and gave me tips to stave off the nausea. They sent me home with Israeli ginger chews and advised me to try an antacid in the morning before I even thought about doing cardio.

The next week, I went to bed an hour earlier and showed up to my workout far more ready, equipped with TUMS in my belly. I felt ok. My trainer smiled from ear to ear and told me she was proud of me.

I kept adjusting my routine a little bit, and I kept showing up.

Today, I completed a month of morning workouts. I even have more time slot options now, and have upped my training to three days per week. 

If you told me on January 1st that I would be consistently showing up to morning workouts (much less enjoying them!), I would have laughed in your face. I didn’t think it was possible.

Now, I’m reflecting on all of the limiting stories I’ve told myself; all the things I’ve decided I “can’t” do for one reason or another. What if I unravel these stories and find that they’re based on old ideas, old fears and old ways of thinking?

What would I be able to accomplish if I didn’t place arbitrary limitations on myself?

I used to think I couldn’t be a professional writer, but now I am one.

I used to think I couldn’t find true love, but now I’m six years deep in a healthy, lasting partnership with an incredible man.

I used to think I couldn’t share my vulnerability with the world, because it was too scary and people were too cruel, but here I am, putting myself out there. Proving myself wrong.

Where I used to see limits, I now see possibilities.

What about you? How have you limited yourself in life and what are you doing to unravel those stories? Let me know in the comments!

–Chelsea


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