One aspect that is popular about Crossfit is the sense of community. It’s a group of people, who may not have ever interacted in another environment, accomplishing what they didn’t know they were capable of together. There’s yelling and cheering, high fives and fist bumps.
There’s something about suffering with others that makes it seem not as bad. And when its over, you get to share that victory or accomplishment, even when that means you simply finished.
It’s not only enduring the difficulties with others that makes the community aspect so popular with Crossfit. It’s also about having someone to share the amazing moments with. It’s having the person next to you get just as excited as you do when you hit a new squat clean PR, or finally learn how to do a muscle up.
They understand on a level that no one outside of the gym does. These skills aren’t always the easiest to master. And a lot of it is mental. And not a lot of people understand the mental strength it takes.
There can be a fear of failure, a fear that you can’t do something that can take control of your mind and hold you back. And people who face those same fears are the ones to be excited with you when you conquer them. They know what to say, they know how you feel, and you KNOW that they’ve been there.
Facing your fears and becoming a better person are both amazing accomplishments. That being said, you shouldn’t do it for anyone else but yourself. You have to live the life that makes you happy, and mastering a new skill or hitting a new PR should be because YOU want it, not because it will make another person happy.
Reaching someone else’s goals for your own life isn’t making the world better, or serving anyone but that one person. And, for me, living my life to make someone else happy left me feeling miserable and lost.
I’ve also learned that accomplishments aren’t as satisfying if there is no one to share them with. Finishing something that I set out to do is an amazing feeling, but if there’s no one to share that happiness with, then I lost myself a little along the way of accomplishing whatever I set out to do.
Human beings are social by nature, and we are drawn to a community aspect. I found that, for me, it’s important to be myself, but it’s when I drift away from my community to focus on whatever I’m aiming to accomplish that it becomes not the healthiest goal. Some people worry about becoming selfish when they focus on themselves. I think it becomes selfish when you get to the point that you reach your goals with your community out of reach.
Since I have a tendency to isolate, I force myself to physically be around my community, whether I am mentally/emotionally there or not. My friends and I may all be working on completely different barbell movements, but as long as I am in the same weight room as them, or on the same track, I am forced to be somewhat engaged, and when I accomplish a goal, my community is already there.
Some of my most memorable PR’s are the ones I hit when I was with my lifting community. There ain’t no party like a PR party, and when you have someone to share that moment with, it is even more special.
Suddenly, its not that one time you back squatted such and such weight. Its that time you were afraid to fail on that weight but you went for it anyways, and it was hard but you had your support system coaching you along the way, and afterwards, your team/ community/ friends are happy with you, because they got to experience you becoming a little bit better in that one moment.
Goals are great, but when you isolate yourself to reach a goal, I have to wonder if it is worth it in the first place. Is the damage of isolation and loneliness worth the temporary strength of accomplishing something hard?