When we hear the word Perception, many things come to mind. Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things. In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions. Understanding what I just explained our perception may feel very real, but that does not mean they’re necessarily factual.
I am going to go deep in this blog, in terms of Females in the Fitness industry alongside facing Injury and tackling it head on and why we must remember perception is reality.
For many years females have been beating the same dead horse over and over. “You look to skinny” “Don’t get bulky” “That’s to heavy for you” and so much more that it is not a compliment, its degrading and it devalues the hard work put in day in and day out. This is a good example of where our perception of these comments affects our reality. If we, as females perceive these comments as negative, then the result will likely follow suit. As in, we allow these statements to affect our mental game, we allow them to block our view of why fitness is important to us, why we do what we do. I know for myself I have run into this many times not only in the gym setting but outside the walls of our “comfort zone”. For myself as not only an athlete but now a coach I personally have had to sit back and reflect on my own perception and how I am going to rise up and stand tall for not only myself but for every female athlete and coach out there.
For example, let us talk about Billy Jean King (29) and Bobby Riggs (55) in 1973. Bobby challenged Billy to a tennis match and his own words stated, “I can beat any female player even though I am 55 Years old”. Fun fact, at first King refused which played into Rigg’s even more but King eventually agreed with a $100,000.00 winner take all match. Before it took place Riggs made yet another statement explaining why “he will win” he said “She is a woman, and they don’t have the emotional stability. Women play about 25% as good as men, so they should get 25% of the money men get” WOW! Who says that? Now, as we stay on track with Perception is Reality, what would be your perception of this situation? Would you allow it to become your reality, or would you accept that it is his reality, not yours? Yes, King won that match and she stated after “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s tour and affect all women’s self-esteem”.
I came across a post on group I am a part of on Facebook about a young woman who has always been small. She was born 3Ibs at birth and full term! She is strong, healthy, and has carried not 1 but 2 babies to full term. She made a post simply stating “Body positivity is for all sizes” in another group and came to tell us about the nasty comments she received. Just to mention a few “You’re to skinny, are you eating enough?” “There’s no way you eat enough food” and my favorite that made my jaw drop “You must be lying about your workouts”! She stood her ground and knew her reality, she is small, but she is healthy and strong and did not let these people’s perception OF HER become her reality. As women, it is our job to unite and empower others do not judge, bring them down, criticize, or let our own insecurities take over and project them onto others. Our perception is our reality, we are allowed to feel that way what we are not allowed to do is make them other peoples reality unless the circumstances allow it.
Throughout history, people have used the argument that women are weaker than men to hold them back from physically demanding jobs in the military, police forces or firefighting departments. That’s changing.
In August 2015, two women graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School, one of the most grueling training programs in the military. These women met the same tough physical standards as the men and were the first females to complete the program.
The realization that strength is a social construct might be the hallmark of feminism in the 2000s. The worldwide influence of CrossFit—from the affiliate level to the CrossFit Games—has played a role in this shift, helping to destroy the idea that women are the weaker sex.
Coming from a strong background in Gymnastics and Snowboarding I have very strong feelings about equality and empowering others. I got into Crossfit when my daughter was 6-7 months old and I’ll be the first to say I was no where near as strong mentally than I am now. I was absolutely scared and intimidated the first time I walked through the doors into my first Crossfit gym but it didn’t stop me. It encouraged me to fight harder, dig deeper and be the one other woman/females look to for support, encouragement, be a leader. Sure, I have had and still have many moments where I have allowed others perception become my reality but only for a moment and then I snap out of it and remind myself “their perception is just that, theirs. It is not mine and it will not define me as a person, as a mother, or as an athlete and now as a Coach. Each time a woman/female stand up for themselves, even without knowing it or claiming it, we stand up for other women. Something I stand firm by and remember there is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise!
So how do you do deal with being a female in the Crossfit/Fitness world? Do you allow others to derail your perception of your reality? For me, I am human, of course it gets to my mental game its how we deal with it is what matters. I am a firm believer in Podcasts because to me positive reinforcement changes behavior for the better, while criticism stabilizes negative behaviors and blocks change. Journaling is another option as it helps control our mood. It can help us prioritize problems, fears and concerns. It helps us recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them. It provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors. Last, be the change you want to see. Be the positivity you want to attract and reflect what you desire. I’ll end it here but remember, don’t ever let someone take away your happiness by twisting your perception, it simply was never theirs to take!
Thank you for reading.
Coach Kelly 😊