I wouldn’t lock the door on you

This year I’ve been going to work out at six o’clock in the morning, a time I simultaneously love and struggle with.

Love, because it feels great to have a serious workout behind me by 7:00 a.m. Struggle, because it is hard to get out the door at 5:00-something, and harder to put myself to bed the night before at the same time as my 8-year-old.

The class is usually crowded, which tells me I’m not the only woman who (at least begrudgingly) loves the pre-dawn sessions. But almost every session, one or more of us is late, rushing in to the middle of a workout that is well underway. (Some of us are more consistently late than others.)

Usually it’s just a minute or two. But yesterday a woman who is always on time slipped into class 12 minutes past the hour.

Twelve minutes isn’t the end of the world, right? You can get an amazing workout in 48 minutes—yet I hear that at some studios this would never happen. Someone locks the doors when class starts, and if you’re late, that’s too bad. Try again tomorrow.

I’m glad that doesn’t happen here.

(Okay, sometimes we lock the door, but that’s because we’re not sure about the dude trying to observe our class through the windows, not because we don’t want you to come in. Just knock, and someone will run to let you in.)

Warning: as an INFP, and a 9, I’m inclined to get all gushy and sentimental about stuff like this. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ve got a book you can read.)

But I love that people feel comfortable coming in twelve minutes late (or once, twenty-five!), or leaving ten minutes early if their schedule for the day doesn’t allow them to stay the full hour. We’re making the most of what we have to offer that day, even if it feels like the leftovers.

I love that my friend—jet lagged from a trip across six states and two time zones—showed up to class this week wearing collagen eye masks. (She swears by them for puffiness, and gave me some to try. Maybe I’ll wear them to class.)

Nobody cares. We’re there early because we’re trying to take care of ourselves, and our bodies, doing the best we can with what we have.

Of course this isn’t just about locked doors or 6:00 am workouts. I’d love to hear your thoughts on being gentle with yourself and kind to others in comments.   

P.S. Don’t take fake breaks, and the discipline of staying in the room. Also relevant: the best thing you can do for your career.


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  1. Kate says:

    I wish everyone in the world would things this way – imagine how much more pleasant life would be! Of course, I’m an ENFP and also a 9 so I’m bound to agree with you on the this – haha!

  2. Prachi says:

    Absolutely.. I loved the theme on similar lines from the book Wonder, “Always choose kindness” and I wish everyone believed in that. It matters to me a lot too. It is funny that you wrote about this subject because I was a little upset from a comment made by a co worker this morning, to put in extra hours despite my telling him that I do not take work home and want to spend my time after work only with my daughter and family. So I will try and finish this extra work during work hours only. Thankfully, there was another male colleague who came to my rescue and said of course take your time and let us know if we can help in any way. Just a few kind words of understanding is all it takes, doesn’t it? ?

    • Marcia says:

      I can’t thank you enough for these words today. Reminds me of several things: Showing up at all is important. We never know what’s going on in another’s life. You don’t have to write 500+ words to blog and make a difference in your own life or someone else’s. Peace to all today. I need it. Moving clothes from my loving, witty, extraordinary, and formally very independent 92 year old mom’s assisted living space today. She’s just gone into into memory care.

      • Ellen says:

        I’m so sorry you are going through that. I did the same thing a year ago and it is extremely hard. And my mom is still angry because I “left her in this hell hole,” at least on some days. Be kind to uourself!

  3. Sally says:

    This really strikes a chord, and reminds me of something that came out of another Anne Bogel recommendation. A book I was listening to on audio earlier this year that was on your list (Come As You Are – would recommend!!) mentioned Kristin Neff’s work on self compassion. I paused, and googled it, and I am SO GLAD that I did because it has changed the way I look at my life’s “progress” in a lot of areas. I made a summary note of Neff’s thoughts to reflect on — here’s what it says:

    1. Are you being as kind to yourself as you would be to others?
    2. Are you remembering that lots of people struggle and/or fail every day, and you’re not the only person in the universe to ever feel or be unsuccessful at something?
    3. Are you taking a balanced view of the good and bad, or only fixating on the negative?

    Anne, I have to say, I love your blog because I feel like it is a beacon of self-compassion in a constantly self-critical world. You do a beautiful job of incorporating these thoughts into your posts every day, and I really appreciate it!

    • Rachel B. says:

      Thank you for sharing this Sally!
      I read Kristin Neff’s book a couple years ago and have been meaning to pick it up again…could use a refresher on the self compassion. Your overview is perfect. <3

  4. Gayla says:

    I recently had a cancer scare/surgery and I decided that I needed to do something to improve my overall health. I love listening to podcasts, WSIRN is at the top of the list, so I decided to walk every day, rain or shine without fail, listening to all the podcasts that I love. I am a morning person and I go to work early so I can leave around 4 p.m. so getting up and walking before work means getting up around 4:15 a.m. to get an hour walk in. I do this every day WITHOUT fail. If it is raining, there is a breezeway along the 3rd floor of my apartment building that I walk back and forth in for an hour, and on Saturday and Sunday if it is too hot (Texas) in the morning, I go to the mall and walk for an hour there. They open the mall for walkers at 7 a.m. Weekdays in non-rainy weather I walk around my apartment complex (feel safer there instead of out in the neighborhood) whether it is too hot or too humid. I had to make my mind up to do this without fail and so far I haven’t failed. I want to say that I’d give myself grace if I missed a day but I know me and know that if I gave myself grace to not walk for the full hour or to completely miss a day, it would be so much easier to miss another and then another. If I can get out of bed in the morning I will walk. I feel better physically when I walk every morning and my soul feels better after listening to my favorite podcasts every morning also.

    • Janelle says:

      You’re an inspiration, Gayla! I admire your daily commitment and I’d like to follow in your footsteps (so to speak) 🙂

      Wishing you continued good health.

    • Beth says:

      I’m also a walker and live in Wisconsin so there are several months of the year when walking outside isn’t an option. May I suggest Leslie Sansome for you? She has a ton of DVDs and a subscription online service of walking workouts. Most if the time I mute the audio so I can listen to an audiobook or podcast. Her workouts are great!

      • Pam says:

        I’d second your recommendation of Leslie Sansone! I have a variety of her DVDs and you can get a great aerobic workout using them at home. Unfortunately, I got out of the habit several years ago when I broke a bone cross-country skiing. Must get back to it.

  5. Heidi says:

    I’m having a hard time telling if I’m a 9 or a 1, but I lean towards 9 with stuff like this: I’m always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. My 1 friend is completely unable to let people of the hook for their failures, and I’m constantly saying to her, “Well, they probably didn’t intend to ____.” It makes her crazy, but I decided a long time ago that if I’m well-intentioned and still fail, probably most of the people around me are in the same boat. Most of the time, I can afford to assume the best.

  6. Guest says:

    I’m an ENTJ so gentleness isn’t really my strong suit. 😉 I’ve recently significantly reduced my carb intake to see if it improves some inflammation related health issues I have. One of the ways I’m being kinder to myself is reminding myself that it’s about progress not perfection and that no one eats perfectly their entire lives. (Further, who would want to?)

  7. Sarah says:

    This is particularly important with regards to mothering. My son had a perinatal stroke and I was expressing sadness and frustration to my therapist at the struggles he faces as a result. Then, I did the classic “but other people’s kids have it so much worse and I”m being a jerk” My therapist stopped me and said, “Hey, be kind to yourself. A mother caring for her child is never being a jerk. He’s your kid and it’s ok to be sad and frustrated.” It was SO helpful and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

    • Akaylah says:

      I think we all fall prey to the comparison game, mother or not. Last year I was reading “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers – a sci fi novel, which is unusual for me, but the following conversation between two characters stood out to me, and I find myself reflecting back on it a lot.

      “What happened to you, to your species, it’s…it doesn’t even compare.”

      “Why? Because it’s worse?”

      She nodded.

      “But it still compares. If you have a fractured bone, and I’ve broken every bone in my body, does that make your fracture go away? Does it hurt you any less, knowing that I am in more pain?”

      “No, but that’s not–”

      “Yes, it is. Feelings are relative. And at the the root, they’re all the same, even if they grow from different experiences and exist on different scales.”

      • Tory says:

        I love that book SO MUCH!! Precisely for these types of passages. The conversations they have about Fear are so powerful. I do read a good amount of SF but this book felt to me like finally arriving “home.”

  8. Kristin says:

    This post – and all of these comments – are just beautiful! Thank you to Anne and everybody to showing so much kindness to yourselves and to others. This kind of support is what I choose to focus on rather than all of the negative that is pulling us apart. (And I want to read up to find my number…!)

  9. Faith Raider says:

    As a fellow 9 I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!! The metaphor is so beautiful. As a 9w1 I would seriously struggle to come in late. I would feel mortified. But I feel like I need to give myself permission to be “that person” who is “better late than never” sometimes.

  10. This is so eye opening to me! I would *never* judge someone else coming into class late, but I’m an Enneagram 1 that tends to direct most of that “Reformer” attitude inward where it manifests as sometimes pretty toxic perfectionism. So if I thought I would be late for class I just wouldn’t go at all. I’m giving others grace I’m not giving myself!

    • I too have not gone to meetings numerous times because I would be late. I need to remind myself that I should give what I have rather than nothing. Let’s move forward with more grace for ourselves and see how we progress and enjoy.

  11. Edie says:

    It is easy for me to offer kindness to others. My ability to offer kindness to myself totally fluctuates. I find that stress is my personal kindness squelcher. If I’m under stress I’m so much more apt to berate myself and compare myself to others who seem to have it all together while I’m grasping at straws. So pausing to notice that I need to slow down and say no to more things on my plate is critical for me to have any traces of self-compassion.

  12. What a great message of welcoming and gentleness. I need the reminder to be gentle to myself and others these days. I’ve beat myself up for taking so long to continue my education, and I’ve been hard on those whose voices unwittingly built fear rather than courage. I can still start this year or next year as it’s never to late to be who you might have been. I am still a teacher, a writer and an encourager.

  13. Erika says:

    I love this post and the comments!

    When you are kind to yourself, you also give others permission to be kind to themselves.

  14. Deborah Larson says:

    I wish our fitness center did the same. I attend a Stretch class from time to time and the door often gets locked if you’re not there on the dot! Some people are much more stringent about time than others.
    Interestingly, we read Einstein’s Dreams for our Library Book Club yesterday, which TOTALLY dealt with the subject of time, so I’m right on board with your post today. 🙂

  15. Cice says:

    No matter what the time u show up its all wAys perfect for you. And right on time. Its great to let go of shoulds. & shouldnts about everyone else.

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