Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Written by Michelle

What do you do when you feel physically strong, but emotionally done?

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try…try again.
  • Look on the bright side. 
  • Expect that things get worse before they get better. 
  • Wait for another door to open. 
  • Hope everything happens for a reason. 
  • Count your blessings.

Give it to me. Your best advice. Please, I beg you! I need it.

I’m great at giving advice, but quite frankly, I SUCK at listening to my own. So here I am, soul searching for more.

We all have to go through trying times that test our patience, make us question our strength and humble us. I’m currently being “tried, questioned and humbled”…and it’s simply not fun.


You might remember that I work part-time as a fitness instructor.

“Trying” Michelle? Really?

Okay. No. Not really.

Stay with me for a second.

I teach various fitness formats 7-12 times a week.  I’m blessed; I know. I get paid to do something that is healthy and fun. I don’t take this lightly. I shouldn’t complain. I’m incredibly grateful for all my job perks. I make my own calendar. I choose when I can and can not work. I work alongside my kids. At times, they are able to even join me during classes. Nights, days… it’s what I do. But most importantly, what I have chosen and LOVE.

When it came to most of my fitness licenses and their completion, I didn’t fret.  Most of them are based on participation, physical evaluations, and written assessments. But then I discovered Les Mills Fitness programs. I fell in love with the rigor, the structure and the strength of their classes and instructors. It was a definite sell for me.

The certification process, on the other hand, is another story. It’s enough to scare any normal human being away. After a grueling weekend of hours upon hours of physically and emotionally-charged training and evaluations, individuals are sent off (if they have successfully completed the initial module) to submit a video assessment of themselves teaching a live class.

Sold, yet?

Herein lies the problem. After successfully completing two of those initial modules, I have spent the last month consumed in the video process.

My nights and weekends have been filled with video taping, viewing, rehearsing, critiquing, assessing and dissecting myself.

Rewind, repeat, fast forward and pause to look at myself.

Repeat again.

There! What? Me again…

I scrutinize every move, every word, every breath. Every pose. Every cue. Every workout plan.




The critiquing has been relentless.

Sadly, it’s become a self-bashing evaluation. Everything I do wrong, I point out. Every misstep, I notice.  The culprit? My personal insecurities. Throughout the process, which I whole-heartedly believe is meant to make me grow and succeed, I have become self-critical and negative. Rather than constructive and empowered, I’m tired and deflated.

My evening starts like this:



With a paper that looks like this:



With a desktop and critique sheet that end up looking like this:


(You know it’s bad when you reach for your comfort food while watching a fitness class.)

I know part of growing and learning requires some type of assessment. Evaluations measure our growth, where we are and how to move forward in the right direction. Unfortunately, when it comes to self-evaluating, I think most of us perhaps don’t see what other people do.

There’s negative and positive, the bad and the good. Why do we tend to focus on the former and not the latter?

My example is trivial in the grand scheme of things, but this process has made me realize so much about myself.

The last month has taught me beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. If I assessed and looked at myself through the caring eyes of my mother, the loving eyes of my husband and the non-judgmental eyes of my best friend, I would see myself differently.

I’m surrounded by a community of friends and family members who see a person that I sometimes miss when I look in the mirror. I think this happens to many of us. So I’m grateful for the glimpses of me that I get to see through other people’s eyes, the eyes that belong to people who remind me:

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try…try again.
  • Look on the bright side. 
  • Expect that things get worse before they get better. 
  • Wait for another door to open. 
  • Hope everything happens for a reason. 
  • Count your blessings.

These same people make me realize it’s okay to pause, watch, rewind and assess who I am if I start listening to my own advice.





15 comments for “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

  1. Lisa
    May 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    As a fellow perfectionist, I get it. I really do. That being said, a wise friend (umm…you) once told me that you HAVE to give yourself a break. I am no fitness expert, but I can say that what keeps people coming back to your classes and absolutely falling in love with your teaching has nothing to do with perfect burpees or eloquently-stated instructions. I admire you so much for your ability to make every person you meet feel special. You have the truly unique gift of connecting, verbally and nonverbally, with every single person in a room. That cannot be taught in a weekend training course or assessed by making notes about a video. Given a choice between an instructor who never makes a mistake or a real person who truly loves what she does and the people she meets, I would choose you EVERY single time. Never forget how many of us belong to the “Michelle Weber” fan club. I may even run for president. xoxo

    • Michelle
      May 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      I value our friendship and YOU so much. Thank you for sharing this. It moved me to tears. Blessed to have you as a friend! Gracias…

  2. May 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    While not in the same career, I’m another person who can fall victim to self-criticism – as many of us do. Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to stop and really listen to the negative self-talk – then stop it. The things we tell ourselves, the horrible way we can talk to, and about, ourselves, is so much worse than we’d ever say to another living being, or likely tolerate hearing. Instead, sooth the negative voice and yourself – “that’s all right, honey (or whatever nickname you want to use)” Next, insert the kind of gentle advice you’d give your best friend.

    It sounds crazy, but it really does help.

    And sometimes, you just have to finish the work and send it in. A tiny tweak here, a little nudge here, is not going to change it. YOU need to decide it’s done, and it’s time to move on. Best of luck! And from your past success, it sounds like things should go great. 🙂

    • Michelle
      May 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Thank you so much! This is great advice, and I will take it to heart. I appreciate you taking the time to both read and post this comment. You are so right about deciding when it’s “done”. I’m struggling with that part. 🙂 Working on it…working…

      • May 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Working on it is all we can do – I’m in the same boat. 🙂 Best of luck to you.

  3. May 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    We’re harder on ourselves than anybody else could be. I’m sure your video was great.

    • Michelle
      May 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you for the vote of confidence! We are so hard on ourselves…so true. Wondering how to remedy that as I see my kids grow and learn the same way.

  4. May 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I totally understand! Most frequently we ask others for critical feedback from others and are pleased when we realize their reply mirrors where we think our shortcomings are. When you twist it around and ask people to reflect back to you when they have seen you shine it gives you pause and helps you see facets of yourself that you may never have gotten to see otherwise. I had the opportunity to do this during my master’s coursework. Around 20 friends, family and colleagues provided detailed accounts of three different times they saw me at my best and I had a set of questions to reflect on their answers through, which helped me tease out the personal strengths woven through their stories. I was amazed and humbled that people saw me the way that they did, and that they saw things I didn’t. It changed me for the better, and helped me reach a point where, although I still strive to work on the parts of me that could be better, I tend to move forward through those inherent strength areas. I’ll bet no one else would see the flaws you believe are in those videos, and I’ll bet they would point out strengths that you didn’t even know were there. Good luck on the next part of your certification!

    • Michelle
      May 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Your coursework story sounds really interesting. Thank you for sharing!
      I’m staying positive, and taking all of this in. I appreciate you taking the time to post. 🙂 I’m looking forward to the “next steps” ahead. Taking them all one step at a time.

  5. May 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

    It’s definitely okay! You just sound like you’re working really hard and getting a bit frustrated, but hang in there! It will be so worth it when you’re finished! I’m hooked on all things working out, and I’m always up for trying new things. My sister took me to her favorite class last weekend–a Les Mills certified class. You’re right–it was intense! It was almost like an Insanity workout in the way you hardly got a break the entire hour. I can imagine how intense your training is. Good luck! I’d love to read more about it. And my motivational phrase for myself when I’m getting tired or upset or just frustrated is this: JUST KEEP GOING. Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Michelle
      May 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Thank you, Shay! Frustration has set in a couple of times. I guess it’s normal and part of learning. I too think it will be worth it once it is done. I’m a Body Pump and CXWORX instructor and love those formats. I will let you know what happens to my GRIT and Body Flow certifications. 😉 Fingers crossed.

  6. May 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Sometimes it’s not about hearing good advice, it’s about believing it. Letting it inside to change you. That’s the hard part. You already know what to do. Doing it is the hard part. Sounds like you help other people be motivated all the time. Let them help you now. If making the video is taking longer than you wanted, so be it. You will probably learn something amazing along the way. Good for you to even try. I certainly would NOT want to be editing video of myself right now. Yikes!

    • Michelle
      May 19, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Hmmm….not sure why my message to you is below. 🙂

      • May 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

        The mysteries of replying. Glad you took my comment the right way. I was trying to be positive. I wish I could do the right thing all the time, but hey, I’m only human.

  7. Michelle
    May 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Love your positive way of looking at this experience! I am definitely taking advantage of the support group I have, and I’m so grateful for ALL of them. Thank you for posting your thoughts. It’s so true!

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