T Nation

Negative Self Image: Isn't It Scary?


Ok, did you ever feel a change in your mental outlook? Do you feel that even though that was a struggle, it helped you in some way?

Having to endure something because you must, is vastly different than having to endure something to… But, if you mentally approach that challenge in life with the right state of mind, regardless of the reasons, the benefits can be achieved.

This makes me want to add something to my original post in here. Not only do the bike commute, but do it in a way that you have to challenge yourself a little in the process. Not just peddling a little bit, and coasting into work. You have to get everything ready for the trip, start out, and get there


Absolutely. Too many positives to even list.

I actually didn’t have to. I had access to a vehicle and numerous people to get a ride from. Part of it was a personal challenge and part of it was to keep from making things worse.

You do have a lot to think about too for routing, arrival, figuring out what you actually need instead of what you would just rather have, what the weather is going to do etc.

The terrain around here is a challenge too. Steep hills everywhere, minimal flats. If you aren’t pedaling up a hill you are going down one. I took a trip to Florida and could ride fast and effortlessly for endless miles.


That’s great.


I can’t say that I’ve ever really had a negative image of my body. I actually started lifting because as a kid I thought Arnold was cool, and I wanted to be like him. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a champion, famous actor, and the governor of the most populated US state? The man was pretty much a rock star.

Dunno, I might be rare, but I literally only do this for fun. Hell, the sport I switched to recently is literally the worst one for building muscle, (Weightlifting) so much so that there are heavily roided Olympians who don’t look like they lift.


Like some others, I fit this bill, likely because some of us have dim views on libertarianism and extreme individualism (selfishness to a deplorable degree). Then we heard that Ayn Rand fits the bill, read and hear some of her statements, and then come to the same conclusion despite not reading her books: f— Ayn Rand!

That’s how I came around to disliking her in a nutshell.


This is really common, Brick. You’ll see lots of educated people who will criticize her based on a some critical opinion essays, or what their college professor told them to think. There’s plenty of wacky stuff from her personal life to take aim at, and you may not like all of her politics. Maybe that’s putting it mildly.

That said…

You can love the heroes in her fiction because they are examples of human achievement, people who are guided by their own internal compass and a desire to realize their potential. In some ways The Fountainhead might be better as a start to her fiction in that it’s less of a social commentary. People love to say that the world of Atlas Shrugged could never exist, and of course they are right. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some profound things to say about the human experience, and the exceptional humans among us. Appreciating those things doesn’t kill my sense of compassion, and it won’t kill yours either.


“Compassion is a wonderful thing. It’s what one feels when one looks at a squashed caterpillar. An elevating experience. One can let oneself go and spread–you know, like taking a girdle off. You don’t have to hold your stomach, your heart or your spirit up–when you feel compassion. All you have to do is look down. It’s much easier. When you look up, you get a pain in the neck. Compassion is the greatest virtue. It justifies suffering. There’s got to be suffering in the world, else how would we be virtuous and feel compassion?.. Oh, it has an antithesis–but such a hard, demanding one… Admiration, Mrs. Jones, admiration. But that takes more than a girdle… So I say that anyone for whom we can’t feel sorry is a vicious person. Like Howard Roark.”

― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead


I was talking about this to one of my kids just a week or two ago. “Thou shalt not covet” is one of the ten commandments, but it’s not one we think a lot about. It’s the source of so MUCH unhappiness in this world. Envy. A tendency to feel diminished by the success of others.

Read them. See if you like Howard Roark, and if that quote represents him. I dare ya.


This one was never an issue for me; Pride has always been my favorite sin.

My nickname growing up was ‘Chris - I’m bigger than you - (last name)’. I suppose, I never had a negative self image problem, but a positive self image problem.

To clarify, I don’t have a model’s face, hahaha. I just never worried about that. I was more concerned with being bigger, stronger and better (notice I didn’t say faster. I’m slow) than everyone else.


The quote’s not meant to represent Roark; it’s meant to represent Rand.


They’re related, right? Pride is looking down, and envy is looking up. Both are really common. When we look at how the human brain works, we tend to understand our world largely though an ability to categorize and compare. We’re a bunch of star-bellied sneetches. Living by our own internal compass, our own measure of success without being overly proud or envious of others is a really difficult thing to do. It involves overcoming some very basic things about our humanity. If you figure it out let me know.

I know, but it’s not representative of the theme of that book. See if you don’t like some things about Roark. He’s a great character. There are things to be learned from imperfect people (Rand). That’s a good thing, since imperfect people are the only kind.


Hmmm… I suppose.

I would argue pride is less of a foible than envy. :wink:

I have figured it out. I married someone who is the complete opposite, hating all competition and unafraid of confrontation. I still am not envious and my pride has been removed… EDIT: Well sort of, less overbearing.


bodybuilding used to be aesthetic the arnold days are my favorite videos… now its all how many compounds can my body take to look like a balloon.


It’s helpful when you have a spouse who balances you out, for sure. Unfortunately, this life is about your heart, so you don’t get to take credit for her good qualities. My spouse has been riding his bike to work for over 20 years (up hill both ways, wink), and it hasn’t done a single thing for my fitness levels.

They’re both pretty bad, chris.

We’ve had some miserable young, poor grad students over the years who look at the people who have homes on the beach and make lots of judgements about their morality. It wouldn’t matter if the rich family was extremely charitable, kind, and employed lots of people in their business. The poor students starting out often think those people on the beach couldn’t truly care about the poor, or that something must be very wrong with their priorities if they can afford that house. This is sad. The wealthy family likely looks at the poor young students with some sense of nostalgia because they were once in that position, and they remember those years of living in a little apartment as some really good years. In my experience, there’s often less looking down on the students, than their is looking up with envy. I find this kind of thing a bit sad, this failure to really see each other. We sometimes assume so much. This can go both ways of course. Pride is real, on both sides. People see the way the fictional families on TV shows like Modern Family, and assume they are somehow less if their home doesn’t look like that. We see all the beautiful people and we envy. So many times we see policies aimed at relieving poverty, but people often care less about the effectiveness of these policies in really helping the poor than they do about bringing the rich low. A lot of this unhappiness stems from either pride or envy, or both. You can look at a lot of problems and strife in the world through this lens.


Interesting. In Judaism, it is taught that the 1st (no other “gods”) and last (coveting - 3 times) are the most important because violating them are the foundational sins from which other sins arise.

Generally speaking, you steal, murder, commit adultury, etc. because you “covet” something.

Similarly, the first one (no other “gods”) of course literally means fake pagan gods, but, more importantly today means having something you put a greater priority to than G-d. For example, work. Or money. Or weightlifting. Or Xbox.

And a further observation about this, is basically all of the sins are a twisting of something normal and good.

For example, “coveting” is a twisted and extreme example for the desire to improve oneself or ones station.

Adultery (or really any unhealthy sexual perversion) is simply normal sexual desire pushed too far.


This is because evil cannot create anything new of its own. All it can do is twist G-d’s creation.


Dude it’s not even top three.

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed


is there some reason why you don’t type the full word?


Might just have to pick up Atlas Shrugged to read on the plane so I can see what all the fuss is about.


Absolutely, Jewbacca. Thanks. I think that’s very true. Coveting leads us into a lot of other garbage, right? And it is a skewed or twisted version of something that is fundamentally good. So many things are like that. Good things perverted in some way or taken to an extreme, and then they become a vice. So many examples of that in the fitness world, but really we see it everywhere. That’s really very profound.

I was cross posting with you about it above to dchris.


I was mostly being playful, but on a serious note; my wife does life coaching and this was one of the first things she discussed when we were dating. I can honestly say, my first instinct isn’t to one up people anymore. I got together with a couple of college buddies recently, and we have little in common now that I don’t belong to that lifestyle.

I can absolutely identify with this. I’m not wealthy my any stretch of the word, but my wife actually and I reminisced about how:

6 years ago - I was homeless (I didn’t know her at the time)
4 years ago - we were broke, living with her family trying to save for our wedding
3 years ago - we were broke, living in a 400 sq. ft. apartment trying to make presents
1 year ago - our new house’s basement flood.
This year - We are flying to where her family is for Christmas, we have a ton of presents under the tree for everyone, and I’m about to pay off the flooding from last year :slight_smile:

We actually really miss how simple life was… (Unlike many, we actually enjoyed those times at the time they occurred. We were conscience of the fact it was temporary)

I was sarcastically saying it’s not as bad to be prideful, out of pride :wink:

A question I often ask people who believe this: Who has done more good, Phil Knight (Bill Gates) or Mother Theresa?

One gave it all - which wasn’t much
The other is giving more - Spent life earning and now gives

Walter O’Brien said:

“Being charitable while still being a charity makes a negligible difference”