You see the person who is fit and in shape. You see the person who is financially rich and can hire a yacht on the Mediterranean for a week. You see the happy-go-lucky couple that posts endless selfies online looking so happy and sweet. One thing that I have learned the last few years as a personal trainer, Reiki practitioner and adjunct health instructor is that not everyone is okay. Everyone encounters his or her own form of suffering.
Being a health educator, sometimes I question, “Who is the real teacher?” Sometimes I feel it’s the clients and students who teach me to live with awareness. Here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned that not everyone is okay.
Compare and Despair
One of the biggest awakenings came from my online community college class that I teach. The subject is based on the eight limbs of yoga. During one quarter, some of my students replied to the discussion question stating that they have extreme amount of stress, anxiety, sadness and jealously that they do not have “things” that they see in the media. They have low self-confidence because they can’t afford that car, piece of jewelry or grandiose house.
Shocked, I could not believe the college kids expressed this online, but I think they do so because no one can judge them. It reminded me of the many clients who compare themselves to the women in the magazines, always desiring thinner arms, a flatter stomach and more toned thighs. I’ve realized that everyone on some level in the states compares their success to others. I’ve been there too.
I’ve attended fitness conferences where marketing presenters say “Facebook likes show success. Drive the thumbs up.” When that did not happen, did that mean I was not successful? I compared myself to other professionals, which was the worst mistake.I became lost and confused in my mind and convinced myself that I was not successful and success can't happen without selling out.
To end, we need to detach from comparing ourselves that only drives our mindset into deep and dark places.
Corporate Jobs are Not Always Exciting
Since 2010, I have worked with corporate wellness programs. My one job included training people who worked for Amazon. Working for a company like Amazon sounds exciting. For some it is, but for most it was a miserable experience. The theft department worked 12 hours on Thanksgiving. They worked weekends. They had money but no time to spend it. People were stressed out of their minds and worried about job security.
Going along with the compare and despair, people think working for a big organization is glamorous and amazing. I remember many people saying in Seattle, “I wish I worked for Starbucks.” I replied, “Why? It’s a job that has large expectations and big revenue goals to make. If you don’t make it, someone else will.” What I meant by that was everyone is replaceable. It’s the same thing I’ve seen about New Yorkers. Everyone wants to live in NYC and everyone is replaceable at his or her job. So you either bust your ass or you choose to work and live somewhere else that offers more balance.
One client had all the money in the world. His kids owned every technological device and yet, their family was unhappy, children were depressed and his marriage had endless stress. There is a strong lesson in the understanding of detachment.
The moral of my story is that although your friend may have a fancy job title making a boat-load of cash, chances are a part of their soul is suffering and their mind is craving a long vacation.
Everyone Suffers from Something
I believe humans are programmed differently. I know that our minds are what they are and can get influenced from society where we have the free will to follow trends or be independent thinkers. From drug use to sex addictions, I’ve heard it all. Some people I’ve coached are beautiful and attractive individuals who post happy images on Facebook, but deep down are suffering with life stress. What I find most fascinating lesson is that these people are “normal” people. Drug users can be educated and earn high wages. Food addicts are not fat, lazy and stupid. Sex addicts are also educated and highly ambitious people. No longer is there a stigma that these people are “creeps or dead beats.”
Plus, many people who have high-level jobs are vocally bounded because of the public opinion. Do you know how hard it is for some people (and bad for the throat chakra) to keep your opinions and ideas suppressed? People who can’t express themselves also suffer internally with guilt, shame and fear of being labelled by society.
I also believe life is about balance. One person may have an amazing boyfriend, but career is suffering or vice versa. At times, we can’t have it all, but need to prep our mind to overcome the obstacle at hand.
This is the perfect time to be honest about our personal weaknesses and individual suffering. When we confront our fears, ego and suffering we can liberate our souls. Also, this is the time to break patterns or accept that you are not “in the norm” of what society wants.
If you need advice about something you are suffering from, contact MBSF for a bit of free advice and help.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com