Today at the gym, while working on trying to get my figure back… I bumped into a trainer I had not seen in a while. She asked me how I had been and how my girls were doing. Obviously, I had not been to the gym in a while, so my answer to the first part of her question was short and evasive, “ok” I replied and then came a momentary awkward pause, while I figured out how to respond to the second part of her question. It would have been customary for my reply to be, “great, the girls are doing great, thanks for asking.” However, at this moment I felt the need to go deeper and speak more honestly. Taking a deep breath, breaking the silence, I replied, “Well, the girls are doing fine, they are figuring it out” then I smiled and repeated the words over again, as if reassuring myself with my answer, “they are figuring it out!” My trainer smiled and gazed at me with a surprised look, as if she wanted to know more. I had intrigued her with my cryptic answer, yet I corresponded in a tone that let her know that I would not elaborate on the subject further. She nodded, smiled and replied, “That’s great, we all had to figure it out, right?”
I felt a sense of tranquility and pride as a result of this short, yet poignant exchange. As she began to walk away, I said, “Actually, I’ve been great, especially once I realized that my daughters have the power to figure it out for themselves” she smiled and replied, “I bet!”
I then returned my focus to the stepper I had been exercising on and popped my headphones back in trying to regain my concentration on the audiobook I was listening to, however, my thoughts kept me from accomplishing this. I was recalling all of the seemingly traumatic events over the past year, where my daughters reached out to me for support, and how in error, I offered un-invited advice that they weren’t willing to accept or embrace. So I changed my tactics and just listened. I allowed them to unload their fears and concerns on me. They were not reaching out for me to solve their problem, rather, they wanted a sympathetic ear, and reassurance that they could figure it out. I did not need to offer solutions to their problems, I just needed to guide them through questioning and assist them in solving their own problems.
I decided to end my workout session a bit early due to the fact I had lost my attention span, so I disembarked from the machine and made my way across the crowded gym floor. I bumped into another mother that I had not seen in a while (again, I had been lax in my gym attendance) and she too asked how my girls were doing. I felt an opportunistic warm smile come across my face and I replied confidently, “Great, they are great…and figuring it out for themselves.” This time I combined my old response of “great, they are doing great” with the new, deeper response of “they are figuring it out for themselves” and like the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, it was perfection. She nodded her head in agreement, and her sense of relief mirrored my expression. “My boys are doing just that,” she said, “I like that, they too are figuring it out!” I excused myself with a newfound spring in my step as I exited the gym. I felt a sense of contentment and pride. The aha moment I had just experienced was profound. I realized that I have done my job, and done it well. I have provided my daughters with the tools they need to figure it out, whatever it is.
And just like that, I am no longer concerned about what brought me to the gym, my figure!
Megan Murphy, CPC, ELI-MP