Knowing your limits vs stretching your limits

Knowing your limits vs stretching your limits

T is big on ignoring pain and working through it nonetheless. When I’m attacked by bugs/struck by eczema, he keeps me in line, yelling at me when he notices me absentmindedly – or sneakily – reaching for an itch, and I’m often jostled out of sleep by him grabbing my hands to stop me scratching. When he manages to slice himself open, he simply carries on (no bandages, no dressings) and heals within a couple of days.

Sometimes, this doesn’t work out so well. But I have to admire the general philosophy. Self-control and perseverance are fine virtues.

Still, while I’m all for positive thinking, there are some things I can’t manifest away. My chronic sinus problems. The fact that I bruise at the merest brush up against another object. My digestive system’s dislike of Indian food. And even T can’t ignore his chronic back pain.

I’m a bit of a day dreamer, but ultimately, I consider myself a realist. That’s just how I like to operate.

But does that mean I sometimes sell myself short and give myself an out – using that as an excuse for not even trying?

At indoor rock climbing recently (my second time) I was really struggling. It was a serious struggle to belay T (probably doesn’t help that’s he’s nearly triple my body weight), and I wasn’t doing all that great with my own climbing thanks to insane foot cramps (most people worry about excessive sodium intake; I usually don’t get enough and don’t realise it till agonising cramps set in at inconvenient times), hand swelling and cramps, general fatigue and my own lack of physical strength. Oh, and my fear of heights doesn’t help either. I think I only made it to the top of two walls out of five.

I know that I didn’t have it in me. Nonetheless, watching the doggedness of my friends as they went all in, trying several times to scale a tricky part, couldn’t help wondering if I’d pushed hard enough. I’m sure to an outsider, it looked like I was giving up without really trying to push my own limits.

What do you think? Where’s the balance between realism and reaching for the stars?

5 thoughts on “Knowing your limits vs stretching your limits

  • Reply theminmin May 31, 2012 at 05:00

    I’ve taken a lot of people rock-climbing. I’m not strong, nor am I good at it but it’s mentally, emotionally and physically challenging – the very reason WHY I enjoy bringing people who’ve never been. There aren’t many sports that force you to be so focused and in the moment. I mean, you can half-ass a game of badminton or soccer, but you can’t half-ass climbing a rock wall if every move counts!

    Struggling is normal. Let go of the sense of defeat. Go again with a smaller crowd, perhaps people who are more patient and willing to guide you. Practice focusing. Meditate when you’re up there and see if you can let go of your fear.

    Good luck on your next climb!

  • Reply From Shopping to Saving May 31, 2012 at 07:32

    Another thought-provoking post. Love these!

    I have a hard time with knowing my limits vs. stretching my limits all the time. I feel like I’m like T in a way, because I ignore things and just move on. If I was on Survivor or something, I’d probably be eliminated because I ignored an injury for too long or something. I’m more likely to end up hurting myself without realizing it because I’m pushing myself too hard rather than not trying hard enough. I think it’s good to know your limits and know when to push yourself farther. I have trouble identifying my limits but I need to work on that. Any tips?

    • Reply eemusings June 1, 2012 at 12:23

      Thank you 🙂

      I think it comes down to knowing your body – I’m very much in tune with mine and I know when things are physically not right (I get run down easily and at the first sign of a cold or flu – tickly throat, change in, er, mucus [ick] I know I need to take some time out to rest if I want any chance of staving it off. Some might say that’s self-perpetuating, but experience has taught me that this is what happens, and this is what I need to do). Without being really in touch with/familiar with your own body, it’s going to be hard to be aware of when you’ve gone too far, I think.

  • Reply Untemplater May 31, 2012 at 19:58

    I have a fear of heights myself and am slowly trying to get more confidence by challenging myself a little bit at a time. We all have our own comfort zones and some are a lot harder to break through than others. It helps to have someone close to us who can give us encouragement to push a little harder.

  • Reply Financial Planner Exam June 8, 2012 at 22:16

    It is said that humans use only 1% of what their body and mind can really accomplish. Although we never realize this, but if we push harder we definitely can do better., much better.

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