The dock at my cottage has often been a place of reflection and inspiration for me. I have likely spent more hours here than anywhere else on or around the property, although in the lake is likely a close second. It is from the dock that this week’s newsletter is being created.
This morning I did some yoga on the dock too (as I often do), and unfortunately I had forgotten that my cottage yoga clothes were in the clean laundry pile I forgot at home. No excuses, I decided I would do double duty this morning: daily vitamin D intake cottage-style (in other words low SPF sunscreen and a bikini), and yoga combined. This somewhat risqué approach to yoga-wear I knew might attract some attention. However, I didn’t foresee the judgment it attracted would reinforce valuable lessons to share.
I sat reading on the dock at first and 2 men were trolling by in a boat furthering their beer bellies and fishing. With their engine running they couldn’t hear each other well, however I could hear their conversation as if they were next to me with the way the sound carries over the water. They swore profusely, spoke very poorly of their wives, and defended to each other their right to be “smashed until I leave” and how they should be able to drink and drive home because their wives don’t understand that drinking and fishing is the best talk time men have and it should last right ‘til the end of the weekend. I judged them harshly in my mind and thought how grateful I am to be a woman and have what I deem to be better conversations than the one I just overheard.
I am doing yoga now, the same 2 men troll by. This time I hear them talking about me. They are saying “look at her doing that in her bikini”, “desperate for attention”, and “thinks she’s so hot, her ass is eating those bottoms”.
Now I wasn’t hurt by what they said, I knew I had reason and logic for doing what I was doing, and yes “my ass is eating those bottoms” it’s a Brazilian bikini bottom, they simply don’t cover as much bum (they are all the rage in Portugal, as my sister and I discovered on our recent trip. We were the ONLY women not wearing them, but we fixed that. Now apparently, we’re the only ones wearing them here, but now how can I revert to a lesser tan?). But really, I just don’t care what most people think.
That’s Lesson 1: the only opinion about you that really matters is your own. If you take personally everyone’s 2 cents you won’t be left with any self-esteem nor anything you could do with your life that everyone would approve (career-wise, hobby-wise, spiritually, or otherwise). There will always be opinions, favourable and unfavourable (you know the saying about everyone having an opinion). If you can use the favourable ones as support or a boost that’s fantastic! But remember you may also get boosts and support from others even if you’re not living in a way that supports a positive opinion of yourself and thus, at the end of the day check-in with your opinion of you. Keep in mind also sometimes even your own can be very harsh; you may want to reflect on whether you’re being fair to yourself when you find yourself in a position of being overly self-critical. Ask yourself if you’d berate a friend the way you are doing to yourself.
Lesson 2: you never know who can hear you, or is listening. Don’t say things you wouldn’t want others to know about you unless you are in real and true private. Don’t say things about others you wouldn’t want to get back to them. I mean for all these guys know if I can hear them clearly, so may their wives.
Lesson 3: Rather than judge others, save your judgments and use other’s less favourable behaviour to clarify who you want to be. Use the energy to better yourself rather than lessen another. After judging those men, only to be judged by them an hour later really hit home this point. I think they were wrong about me, but maybe there’s something I misunderstood. Also, maybe I was wrong about them. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter, what does is getting an even better grasp of where I’m going and adjusting my course. We’re often so busy telling others they’re going the wrong way we forget to check our own compass. Remember, only your going the right direction, and being on course is what matters.
1:38 pm As I close writing this piece someone from their dock just spoke to them from across the lake. And now they know everyone has heard their conversations for the last 4.5 hours. They are now discussing how they must chat more quietly. And everyone on the lake can still hear this conversation. I’m grateful I got to take home some lessons today, each of us in our own time I suppose.
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