Top London based activewear store Active Man, asked me to write a message about what it means for me to be an active man. Here, from the bottom of my heart, is what I had to say:
I like to think I am a modern day active man. Physically I try to stay fit and looking healthy from daily exercise, mentally I strive to stay fit and feeling good from a growth mindset. I want to be the best I can both physically and emotionally, but it wasn’t always this way….
For a long time the gym was my place to try to create an athletic physique that I hoped would impress those people around me. Why? Because I felt I needed a physically confident appearance to hide the inner insecurities I buried within. Without a strong sense of self-love, I grew up with an unhealthy need for external validation from others.
My thinking was that if I looked the part, then perhaps I could fool the people around me into believing I was the part. But in living for others approval and validation, I didn’t live free. I was trapped in a mental prison dictated to by opinions and judgements. My happiness was governed by the need for approval around me, something that couldn’t always be relied upon. It was a lonely life, in not loving myself I had no inner peace.
I share this with you now, but In the modern world we live in, I wasn’t on my own. So many of us have become disconnected with the natural beauty of exercise, nature, deep conversations and real relationships, instead our behaviour is often driven by “likes”, social validation, conformity and acceptance. In doing so we’ve forgotten that true happiness and inner peace comes from loving the person we are and living in tune with the things we believe in and stand for.
When we are proud of the person we are and of the behaviour we give to the universe, regardless of what others think, we truly fall in love with ourselves. It’s then that we can fearlessly express our real and authentic character. Nothing gives us more freedom than having the inner confidence to always express the person we are.
With a growth mindset and a deeper connection with my heart, my daily habits and activities are done with a different purpose these days. Everything I do is geared towards feeding my soul, not my ego. This means doing things that help me feel truly fulfilled such as living healthily, exercising and following my dreams, rather than engaging with short term happiness fixes that leave me feeling empty when the moment has passed.
Exercise is now a space for me to push my comfort zones and to achieve that feeling of accomplishment that helps me live a fulfilled life. I thrive off the endorphins it produces and love the thrill of proficiency within myself having finished a hard session. With my daily exercise routine done, I feel freshly energised to go about immersing myself in my passions.
I no longer fill my days to please those around me or to inauthentically perform to receive praise and validation. I participate in being active because it fits in with my principles for happy and healthy living that makes me proud of the person I am, irrespective of how others perceive me.
Alongside my active life, I surround myself with people who share similar passions to feed off their energy and learn from their ways. In my past life it often took me weeks if not months to form deep, real connections with new acquaintances, my authenticity now sees me live in the moment and truly connect with the new people the universe sends my way.
I’ve gone to great lengths to change my career to fit in with my passions. This has left me financially poorer for the time being, but I’ve worked hard to connect to my heart and find what inspires me, and for that my soul is richer. I’m now excited about each day, immersed in all the things I love, I speak authentically from the heart about what I do and that allows me to be open, honest and full of energy.
I love this way of being, I live with a purpose, no longer following the crowd into a life that wasn’t meant for me, but in line with my own hopes and dreams. Through my blog, I hope to inspire others to connect and follow their heart to find a fulfilling way of being, free from anxiety and inner unrest.
Let’s get active in following our heart and treating our body and soul with the love and nurture they deserve. To live free and authentically with a clear purpose for what we want from our lives is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It’s time to throw off the shackles, we have one life, let’s dream of what might be and do what our heart’s crave most.