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Growing Roots

NVC Academy Co-Founder and CEO Mary Mackenzie shares her thoughts monthly in our Growing Roots newsletter. Read and enjoy Mary's current and past letters from her deep experience as a CNVC Certified Trainer for more than 20 years.


Remember the Beauty and Lovability of Yourself

Remember the Beauty and Lovability of Yourself

Time Investment:

2 minutes


Date Published:

I’ve been part of a fitness group here in California for the past 1.5 years. It’s called Boot Camp, and I have no idea why! Anyway, most people in the class are 25-30 years younger than I am and have been part of this group for several years. I don’t lift weights as heavy as theirs and I can’t always keep up with them, but I had felt confident that I was holding my own (except when jogging, which is the one place where I consistently lag far behind them). I found a way to be okay with this, to enjoy working out with them, without thinking I should be as strong or skilled as they are.

Then, just yesterday, a new person came to class who is my age and, as far as I know, doesn’t have a history of working out. The first time out, she ran as far as I can run— a distance that I have worked very hard for 1.5 years to attain.

Guess how I felt about that?

SHAME! Ucky, thick, unrelenting shame.

It comes on so quickly and without a moment of notice.

Deep breath. 

In fact, several deep breaths later, I managed to pull myself from shame’s grip by talking to my wife about it when she got home. Through empathy and tons of tenderness, she helped me remember that I’m lovable, worthwhile, and good enough just exactly as I am.

I went to bed last night feeling tender, a little bit of shame, and a lot of appreciation for the love in my life.

This morning, I woke up chewing on the situation again and then remembered something that I have had to re-remember many times over the last several years. That is, “Be grateful and respectful of my starting point,” which to me means don’t belittle myself or my progress just because someone else has a higher starting point. There are some areas of my life that I have progressed quickly through and others that have been greater struggles. Jogging is apparently one of those that I work at; the progress is slow AND there is progress to celebrate. 

What are my needs? Compassion, self-care, acknowledgment of how far I’ve come, to know that I’m good enough, to admire my strength and willingness to stick with something that is so good for my health, and so hard to do. 

To love myself – all of myself - for exactly who I am right this very minute.

Then, of course, I heard Marshall Rosenberg in my head reminding me that comparing myself to others can only bring pain. I bet it’s been 20 years since I heard him say that for the first time. I still agree with him, of course, and there are times when I simply forget it. 

Writing this out now has been soothing; another form of self-empathy. And, I can be grateful for how quickly I worked through this emotional blip in my life. Truly, in years gone by, I could have stayed in shame for days or even weeks, which reminds me that I can get caught in old patterns sometimes…

but I don’t usually stay there for long. This, in and of itself, is something to celebrate!

What about you? Are you comparing yourself with others in a way that causes you pain or shame? Consider sharing it with someone else, receiving empathy if you can, or offering yourself empathy, so you can remember the beauty and lovability of yourself!

With warmth, 

Mary