I suppose every culture has ideas about how things should be. It’s how we have some semblance of order and understanding of our places in society. While these ideas help keep order and provide structure, they can be confining and debilitating.
Recently I was talking to a gym member about the pressure of being perceived a “strong” person. When you are deemed a strong person, you are almost automatically put into a category that is impossible to live in everyday. Unrealistic expectations are assumed and you start believing you have to be that person all the time. When you don’t live up to the expectation, it is somehow more devastating to everyone.
Being strong is probably one of silliest expectations we have of each other. Somehow our definition of strength has gotten us further and further from ourselves. Somehow being softer, vulnerable and emotional has been linked to weakness and therefore less than or bad.
Boxing is the perfect remedy for our societal woes! You can’t be strong in the sense that our culture thinks. You have to be willing to risk, to be humbled, to be vulnerable, to not be strong or not good at skills right away. You can be champion one moment and on the mat the next. You can dominate certain opponents and have no answers for another. Boxing shows the range in life in a much more realistic way.
When I asked the gym member if boxing helped her with the pressures on her to continue to be a “strong person”, she said, “Yes! I can do boxing and suck at it. It’s ok to not be good at something and I’m always learning.”
The gym is a sanctuary for all of us in different ways. We can literally let our usual guard down and learn new ways to be ourselves……new ways to protect ourselves.