I'm doing an 8 week challenge at the gym. There's a weekly class, we get access to a bunch of recipes, meal planner, articles and we earn points by getting people to sign off on the things we do. That is all irrelevant to the story.
Last week in the group class we had completed a hard session of HIIT and then we did the finisher; 30 sec mountain climbers, 30 sec commando push ups, 30 sec push ups and repeat. Basically, three minutes of pain. I made it through the entire series on my toes, not stopping, not dropping to my knees. I immediately swore after finishing, but I made it. High-fived the trainer, and he pointed out to the group that I had made it through and not many people do, even professional athletes don't make it through. I laughed. I was embarrassed. I'm glad I did it, but I was embarrassed by the attention.
This week we did our usual grueling class followed by a two-part finisher. The first part of this finisher was 'bring sally up bring sally down'. It's a song. Another form of hell. He likes to torture us. We enjoy it. Anyway, this was commando push ups and again I lasted the entire song. Which is an achievement. I was happy. The trainer then pointed this out to the group and made them clap me which I wasn't happy about. I felt a bit gross. Perhaps embarrassed.
Today, I went to a pump class and it's thank you day at the gym. This simply means they are giving out prizes at the end of class. The trainer said she had been looking for the person putting in the most effort, and she liked the smiling face, and it was me. Seriously, stop pointing me out gym. It makes me uncomfortable.
Two things from this.
First, it reminds me of one of the other women in the challenge. We were having a chat and she was saying how she always finishes last and everyone claps and cheers her in the end, but she doesn't understand because she just did what we all did. For me, it's that she keeps going and doesn't give up. It's inspiring. But she sees it as something we all did and not worth acknowledgement.
Secondly, this clearly isn't just the gym. I'm not comfortable with attention. With praise? With being singled out? And I'm an actor? I'm an actor. What a conundrum.
But it's not just me, not just actors. Getting compliments or receiving praise can be tricky for some people. Some people freaking love it. They thrive on attention and praise. Congratulations. No, thank you. Others, don't. And it's a real struggle just to take the compliment.
I used to be even worse at accepting compliments or praise. I would deflect immediately. Now at least I can say thank you, before steering the conversation elsewhere. So I want to get better at just taking the praise. Or finding a way to accept attention and not feel embarrassed and awkward.
Then, I feel like, in the back of my head I have my Dad telling me 'not to get too big a head' and 'don't be arrogant'. Parent guilt is the worst.
So where is the balance? How do we create a balance? I await your answers below.