Hello there, what are you providing me?
Some of you may know, I’ve taken up boxing.
It’s one of my favorite things to do these days.
I love it because its a great workout, and because I get to wake up early and move my body in ways I don’t usually. And, everyone at the gym is friendly. But mostly I love it because I have so much fun.
So when a couple weeks ago, I hopped in the ring, and one of the trainers started calling me ‘lazy’ and telling me ‘to get my shit together’ and that I should be better than this after two weeks – I was totally shocked. He was throwing out commands so fast and nit-picking on little technique details, some of which I had never heard of. He didn’t seem to care that I was new, physically and mentally exhausted, and trying my best – or that my main point for being there was to enjoy myself. And afterwards, I wanted burst into tears.
I figured it was a guy thing and a gym workout culture. I could see how this could provide a certain type of motivation. But just not one that works very well on me. Afterwards when I told Jihad about it, he suggested that I talk to the guy and let him know.
The next morning at the gym, I saw him with his personal clients and wondered what kind of masochistic people they were.
And, I avoided him.
Then a couple days later, I found myself in the ring with him again. He treated me the same way, and I thought I could just suck it up. But that didn’t work so well. After one round of trying to play it cool, I teared up.
Then I went off on vacation and read these amazing books on relating to men by Allison Armstrong. She talks about how one of men’s natural instincts is to provide for others. And, that it can be helpful to see them through the lens of what they are trying to provide instead of the many, more popular options out there (like what they are doing wrong, how insensitive they are, and how they need to change).
I immediately got super excited about trying this out with Jihad. (And have experienced more connection, joy and fun with him as a result.)
But little did I know that when I got back home yesterday, this information would totally transform my relationship with Mean-Trainer-Dude.
We do circuit training, so you go from one station to the next, and when I could see I was coming up on working with him, the thought popped into my head – “What is this guy trying to provide?” And, so many things came to mind – challenge, technical instruction, feedback, actual skill improvement.
And in my eyes, he transformed into a different person in a matter of seconds.
All of a sudden, I saw him as a man who is really passionate and knowledgeable about boxing, who has a huge gift to share. If only I was willing to receive it.
The thought alone fueled me. By the time I got to his station, I was pumped, and actually excited to get the opportunity to work with him. And, to say the least, I showed up differently. The word lazy was not used once, and I had a blast.
I worked with him again today, and I feel like my technique has improved dramatically in just these two sessions, and I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow. But what’s even cooler is feeling connected and having way more fun – all without having to ask him to change a thing.
So, for any of you who relate to men out there – I highly recommend giving it a try. Ask yourself “What it is this man trying to provide?” and then see if you’re actually willing to receive whatever it is.
And you may just find, that it’s a delightfully addictive habit that spreads its side effects of increased connection, joy and fun across all areas of your life.