My closest female friend and I started working with a personal trainer in an attempt to learn some weightlifting skills in preparation for sculpting our bodies in time for Hot Girl Summer 2020.
We were at the gym the other day when I overheard something amazing. One of the other personal trainers was guiding a woman through an exercise that looked remarkably unpleasant.
I didn’t want to stare because I was afraid my trainer would get ideas.
From the corner of my eye, it looked something like this. The woman lay supine on a mat on the floor with one arm outstretched toward the ceiling. In that hand, she held a dumbbell. She was sweating profusely.
Still holding the dumbbell aloft, she slowly rose to her feet before dropping back to the floor with equal slow control. All the while, she complained while her trainer encouraged her. Despite her complaints, she kept performing the movement over and over.
The trainer turned to her and said something I didn’t hear, and she looked up at him as she struggled to her feet with that one dumbbell still held high in her left hand.
“I am allowed not to like things,” she said firmly, but she didn’t quit.
You are allowed not to like things.
You are allowed not to like things that are good for you; that doesn’t give you a free pass to avoid them.
You are allowed not to like working out, but if you want a fit body, then you have to exercise. Sitting on the sofa watching Netflix may be more fun, but it won’t get anyone closer to their fitness goals.
You are allowed not to like eating salad and grilled chicken instead of cheeseburgers and fries, but if you want flat abs instead of a protruding belly that overflows the elastic waistband of your jeans and yoga pants, then you’d better opt for the salad once in a while.
You are allowed not to like going to the dentist, or the gynecologist, or your annual checkup, but unless you want a mouthful of rotting teeth, an undiagnosed gynecological condition, or a question mark where your clean bill of health should be, then you ought to make and keep those appointments as if your life depends on it — because it does.
You are allowed not to like things that are none of your business; that doesn’t make it your business.
You are allowed not to like your boyfriend’s friends, the way he dresses, and the fact he leaves his dirty socks and wet towels on the bathroom floor of his own apartment. That doesn’t mean you get to choose his friends or his clothes, and you certainly don’t get to make demands about where he leaves his dirty socks and wet towels — unless it’s your apartment, too. That’s a different story.
You are allowed not to like the amount of makeup your girlfriend wears. You are allowed not to like the length of her skirt or the length of her hair. You are allowed not to like how often she calls her mother and whether she pays more attention to her dog than she does to you — but you are not allowed to demand changes. That’s not your call.
You are allowed not to like your coworkers’ politics, but you aren’t allowed to berate them for it. You are allowed not to like your coworkers’ work ethic, but you’re not allowed to berate them for that, either. You are allowed not to like the way your coworkers laugh or sneeze or eat egg salad every day for lunch, but unless any of those things give you a rash or send you into anaphylactic shock, then you aren’t entitled to complain.
You are allowed not to like things; that doesn’t grant you entitlement.
You are allowed not to like people, places, or things. That doesn’t grant you entitlement. It’s not your place to build walls or belittle immigrants. You aren’t entitled to an Uber driver who speaks English as a first language and provides you an iPhone charger upon demand.
If you don’t like to eat healthfully and exercise, then you aren’t entitled to a fit and healthy body.
If you don’t like your partner, spouse, or coworker’s habits, then you aren’t entitled to “fix” them. You are, however, entitled to vote with your feet. Get a new habit, a new hobby, or a new job. Get a new attitude.
You are allowed not to like things; you’re just not entitled to act like a jerk about it.