Thursday, June 07, 2012

Exercise as an expression of self-loathing

Like you, or unlike you, I sometimes find myself trudging under the weight of some anxiety, which after some time trenches into an open pool of guilt and irrational self-loathing.  These days when that happens I think of forcing myself to exercise because I don't enjoy exercising just for the sake of it.  So it begins as an act of aggression against a guttering mind, a self-destructive behavior, but in the process it often rekindles the mind and strengthens the body.  Somehow I am actually drawing on the angst to press myself.  It's a little sadistic, but also masochistic.  I am both the dealer and the recipient of pain, pushing myself to run further, faster, longer, proving, disproving.

But isn't that how all exercise is?  And of course who REALLY enjoys exercising just for the sake of it?  Isn't it always this push and pull of sadomasochism?  Somewhere in our minds we're disgusted with who we are becoming, so we use exercise as a weapon against that person, which requires overpowering the body's inclination to remain comfortably at rest.

I suspect that most successful people in this world and throughout history have found motivation in creating distance between themselves and that which they have considered revolting, namely failure in themselves or others.  But in focusing on that failure as a means of inspiration, we're really embracing it.

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