We’ve all started a new journey alone. Perhaps we made a commitment to join a gym, to eat healthier, to do a sober month. It’s a necessary first step – to come to the decision on your own and follow your gut. You can listen to advice around the clock, but nobody can start the journey for you except yourself.
Still, even amid a great new routine, we fall into slumps. We may not see progress, we may feel alone, we may even doubt our initial resolve. This doesn’t just represent an inevitable challenge, but a sign it may be time to bring others in. We don’t have to struggle through everything on our own. Sometimes, a big part of the journey comes down to sharing it.
Seeing outside ourselves
One of the first things connecting with others can teach us is to think outside of ourselves. When we begin to focus and build relationships in our new communities or within our new endeavors, we start to see into other people’s journeys and through their eyes.
We get out of our own heads and see the whole – an entire beach where we once saw one grain of sand, or a whole forest instead of just our own trunk and roots. The ability to have empathy for others’ journeys can help us treat our own with more tenderness, more love.
It’s easier to do this in an academy setting, like Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu, but even if your efforts are directed towards nutrition or sobriety, finding an online community or even following relevant accounts on TikTok or Instagram can help take your withering resolve and infuse it with new inspiration.
In class, it can be as simple as making a friend who helps make the hour more fun. Maybe you’re both white belts, or you’re both new.
Experiences like combat sports can feel triggering, defeating, or just plain uncomfortable. Having someone to talk to about class, your experience and feelings around it, can be critical in relieving the pressure that may otherwise build up and erupt in a rash decision – like quitting.
Committing to improvement, and not just our own
Recognizing that we’re not alone – that everybody struggles – can help us keep our mindset on warrior-mode instead of a victim mentality. Remember, you wanted this. And now you get to share it.
Another benefit of creating relationships is the logistics of having a drilling partner. If you’re committed to improving your game and putting more energy into your training, a commiserating class relationship can quickly become a productive, out-of-class, training relationship.
It’s not just you now – you have accountability to your drilling partners to show up and do your best to make sure they have a good training session vis-a-vis you. We get out of our own ways when we start thinking about others.
Bonds that stretch beyond the mat
The commitments and relationships we make not only help us stick with our goals and keep improving, but they create deep, long-term bonds that can only come through shared struggle.
First and foremost: don’t overthink it. You’re not necessarily here to make friends, but you’re not not here to make friends. The relationships you forge on the mats happen naturally from training.
People you barely know become familiar faces you see everyday, and the more you fall in love with your own practice, the more necessary all those faces feel. Just by showing up regularly, you’re going to start recognizing and being recognized.
Classmates and coaches will ask you how you are, how training was, and what you do for work. You’ll make weird noises and do silly things and forget to stay cool. You feel completely free to be yourself – mostly because you’re so used to being in uncomfortable situations together that sitting around the mat feels easy-breezy.
These dynamics and relationships truly help the everyday struggle of making it to class. Rarely do we connect through education as adults the way we do as children, and there’s an undeniable correlation between making friends at school and enjoying school.
There’s a benefit to seeing people you like and who like you, each day. There’s also accountability – when you’re a die-hard morning trainer and suddenly you miss a class or two, people will ask.
Get used to a lot of “Hey I didn’t see you in class on Monday, is everything all right?”
It’s not to nag or make you feel guilty; people just care. They enjoy having someone to share their experience with and learn from, and in this way they become actively invested in your journey too.
Holding space for each other in our most tired and vulnerable states allows us to build honest connections that guarantee benefit to our lives.
We’re connecting with like-minded individuals who share our values and principles, and who care about our progress and success in and out of the academy. These relationships will change your life. But don’t take it from us – see for yourself. Sign up for a class with us today