Ben and I like to train 6 days a week, and take one weekend day off to completely spend time with the family. Sometimes that’s our ski day, sometimes we’re on the road for Maya’s game, and sometimes…I hate admitting to this…we park our sorry, lazy butts on the couches in our living room in front of the fire and don’t leave.
The last couple Sundays, Ben and I have snuck into the gym to do a partner workout because that way it feels more like a date than a training session. Sexy, right?
Last Sunday, we did a workout that should’ve been a great one for me. High skill gymnastics coupled with increasing weight barbell work. And, I can usually pull weird magic together when I’m working with a partner or a team; I subconsciously feel pressure to work harder and faster so my partner or teammates don’t have to worry about carrying me along. I guess I would rather help carry people than be carried. So, for many reasons, I was psyched to do this one with Ben.
Now, doing a partner workout with Ben is accompanied with a complicated mash-up of emotions for me.
For starters, I think he’s super hot and really like having an excuse for looking at him as long as I get to when we’re partners in a workout. I love watching him work so hard, and wondering what goes through his head when he’s the one training…knowing that he spends so much time trying to figure out and correct what’s going on in everyone else’s heads when they’re training. And, if you wanna’ know the real truth, I’m usually secretly pretending in my head that we don’t even know each other and that I just have a crush on him and that I’m hoping that he makes a move on me after the workout and asks me out for coffee…or, a date later that night.
In this last workout with him, though, I was off. My body wasn’t behaving the way I had expected or wanted it to, my mental game wasn’t responding well to my body’s inability to show up, and I was feeling everything from frustration to major guilt for making Ben do more work than I thought he’d have to.
I also know that Ben Bergeron is not the person you should be letting your mental game collapse in front of. Or, at the very least, you shouldn’t let him know that your mental game is collapsing. You keep that guilt and frustration and negative self-talk tucked tightly in your pocket and pretend so hard that it’s not there until you either (a) finish the workout and can safely sneak into the women’s locker room for a good, hard cry session, or (b) become so delirious that you actually forget how disappointed in yourself you are.
This was one of the few times that I slipped and let the two worst words out of my mouth that could’ve possibly come out in the middle of the workout: “I’m sorry.”
It was one of those moments when, as the words are sneaking their way out of my untameable mouth, I’m hearing them in slow motion, all muffled, like I’m in the middle of a bad dream or someone just roofied me and I am slowly losing control of my body.
Sure enough, immediately after the workout, I got the talk.
The “you should never apologize if you’ve done your best with what you had today”.
He was right. He’s actually always right. And, while it’s super frustrating as his wife that he’s that omniscient, it’s very comforting and reassuring when you’re training with him because you know he actually believes that. You know that he’s not just saying it. Ben Bergeron NEVER “just says” anything.
It’s true, though. I remember being on a Games team with Bethany Hart Gerry once and we were training a movement that she happened to not be as good at as Rachel Martinez and I were. In the middle of the workout, I remember her apologizing to me and me responding with, “You should never apologize if you’re doing your best.” And, I knew her and knew that she always, always, ALWAYS gave us her best. And, I know she knew it, too.
I asked her if she ever got frustrated with me when I couldn’t lift heavier weights than I was or if I couldn’t sprint as fast as everyone else on the team. She, of course, said the thought would never, ever cross her mind. She always assumed I was doing my best and just understood there were times that she would carry my weight, and know that I would be there to carry her weight at other times.
I also told her it was important for us not to apologize for things like that because it may make others on the team start feeling like they should start apologizing when they come up short.
In my own experience, the times I am riddled with guilt are a result of pressures I’m putting on myself…not pressures that others are imposing on me. If we’re surrounding ourselves with the right people, and treating those people the right way with love and support, we totally have the potential to live a life free of unnecessary guilt and feelings of insufficiency.
Why do that to yourself? Why blame yourself for things that no one else is actually blaming you for?
Why not use up that space in your brain to honor the hard work and energy you’re putting in to do your best with what you have for where you’re at?
Because that’s what will help free you from fear of trying newer and harder things and give you motivation to overcome weaknesses and shortcomings.
Never apologize when you’ve done your best or when you’ve done what you thought, at that time, was the right thing to do.
And, do live your life so that you never have to apologize for your actions and the decisions you’ve made.