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My Everlasting Insecurity

About a month or so ago, I had a really interesting experience that left me with more anxiety and insecurity than I can remember having in a long time. I thought it might be of value to share with some of you so I’m dusting off the keyboard to write my first blog in a long while. First some context. This Saturday evening I was playing around in the gym. These are the sessions that I enjoy most, there’s a podcast on the TV and I have no plan or structure. I’m experimenting with movement as I systematically tire out different parts of my body, working on skills, sticky parts of my mobility and sometimes I am creating new exercises to take specific clients through. There’s not really a huge amount of intensity in these ‘workouts’ and often I’ll be at it for hours, this particular session was four or five hours long. While usually I don’t push too hard, this evening I was feeling particularly motivated. I decided to hit a twenty five minute AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) and thought at the same time I would film the workout and post the content for others to hit as well. So this involved working out in my backyard at about ten at night while filming the whole thing. It was warm and I generally don’t like clothing so I was shirtless throughout. After finishing the AMRAP I was leaning against my ice bath editing the workout vid so I could post it and here is where the insecurity set in. For those who haven’t been to our new place yet, we moved in January to a new home. The whole bottom level and backyard is about a metre below ground level and I’ve fitted it out as a fully functioning gym and PT studio. It’s almost perfect for this as our place is right next to the visitor parking, meaning clients can park and come straight into the gym without entering the house. The problem is where the visitors park they can see straight into our backyard. We are in the process of putting hedges in to create some privacy but for now, if there’s someone getting in or out of their car, they can look right in. So here I am, editing a video in my backyard, shirtless and covered in sweat, with a tripod all set up and there’s some kids getting in their cars after a Saturday night at my neighbours house. I was like a deer in spotlights as they looked over my fence and realised what I was doing, for some reason I was terribly embarrassed to be caught influencing. It might be surprising to learn that I could be embarrassed by attention, if you are familiar with my regular antics. It’s taken me a little bit of time thinking about this event to work out exactly what is going on in my brain here. Years ago I was very afraid to speak in public. I come from a background in sales so I’ve always been confident in conversation but talking to groups? Fuck all of that. I began to realise how limiting this was for me in life in my late twenties and decided to rectify it, so I started actively looking for ways to get out of my comfort zone. I would go live on social media and teach group fitness classes, both of these things got way less terrifying over time until they normalised for me. I can now happily talk to groups or go on camera with no preparation. So why then would I be afraid to be seen filming myself by people I didn’t know? I’m fully aware of the paradox of being anxious about getting caught filming something that I was going to post to the public the next day. The best answer that I can come up with, is that technology has enabled us to insulate ourselves from the humanity of social interaction. This isn’t novel idea, I remember writing a blog on comparing yourself to others on social media years ago that touched on these same threads. I’ve also seen many people much smarter than me talk about exactly this in regards to online bullying. When typing to someone on social media, it’s much easier to forget that the person on the receiving end is in fact a person. This allows people to say things that they wouldn’t otherwise get away with for a variety of reasons. Go to any of Conor McGregor’s IG posts and you’ll find all sorts of haters saying the nastiest shit. You can be damn fuckin sure these people wouldn’t say the same thing to this wild dude if they were speaking to him in person. On the other side, while some bullies are c*nts, most people wouldn’t say something to someone’s face if that person was sure to burst into tears. Most people just aren’t that unkind when dealing with an actual person face to face. Technology creates a barrier to our communication, removing the immediate consequences of the things we say to each other. For good or bad, this is a feature of the system. Social media almost perfectly allows the poor parts of our humanity to flourish. To be a good social media user takes a level of self understanding and discipline that clearly many people lack. This doesn’t make social media bad, it just needs to be managed. You could make a comparison to alcohol. Many millions of people are able to manage their alcohol intake to reasonable levels, allowing them to get the most out of their lives with few downsides. On the other hand, some people regularly get pants shitting drunk and alcohol gets them into all sorts of mischief. The alcohol isn’t the problem, the management of it is. So getting back to my strange paradoxical insecurity, the idea of someone watching me film content was more embarrassing than posting the actual content. This is strange but I get it. Even after all this time teaching classes, I would still be more comfortable sitting in a cafe talking into my phone on a live video with potentially hundreds of people watching, rather than putting the phone down and addressing the actual people sitting in the cafe, even though they can all see and hear me when I’m live. As much as I try to be as real as possible on social media, what I post is always going to be curated and while I was posting this content the next day, the unexpected spectators meant the content was getting viewed not on my terms. It felt like an invasion of privacy. It doesn’t matter how confident I may look on the outside, I’m susceptible to the same anxieties and insecurities that we all are. I believe that this will never not be the case either, it’s just part of the human condition. Interestingly to me at least is the picture I’m posting with this blog was one I took that night, testing the timer on my new gimbal but decided that I was too embarrassed to post. It seemed fitting to share it now. Helping clients lean into discomfort and manage anxiety is something I'm big on and I really try to lead by example where I can. All of this made me reflect on what a strange time the last ten years have been, with such huge changes to how the world communicates and the ways information is shared. It’s no wonder that stress and anxiety is at record highs and overall health at all time lows. We have so much information at our fingertips now. We can be instantly connected to the most amazing people on the planet and are able to find a tutorial to pretty much anything instantly. Ultimately we are the ones that choose whether to feel inspired or jealous by the content and experiences we take in, to find growth or anxiety in how we interact in life and use social media. This was an experience that upon reflection has helped me grow and understand a bit more of my own mind, my own shortcomings and destructive paths of thought. In an age of near limitless information, you must be disciplined in where you choose to focus your attention. Social media is a tool, and I’m going to paraphrase a great quote from Joe Rogan. It’s a tool just like a hammer, you can build a house with a hammer or you can hit yourself in the dick with it. So if you feel like you’re hitting yourself in the dick repeatedly in the way you’re moving through life, maybe it’s time to stop and think. You might be doing it wrong.

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