Most work-out routines include some kind of core exercises. Core muscles wrap around your abdomin and back supporting your spine, keeping you balanced and stable.  If you’re not strengthening your core muscles, check out exercises like the bridge, the plank, the Superman.  Personal trainers everywhere would encourage daily core workout.  

A few years back I had to see a Physical Therapist to help me with some pain in my hip.  He informed me that our core has three-dimensional depth and many of the muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature that people typically train.  So he gave me a different set of core exercises to interject in my daily workout.  The bottom line is that if the core isn’t functioning at its optimal level, balance and stability suffer.  

Have you noticed how pre-teens and teenagers have trouble adjusting to the size and shape of their bodies?  They suffer through that awkward stage of never quite being balanced and stable.  Grace was not my middle name in high school.  One day I was walking down the hallway after the crowd had cleared out unaware of the two girls walking a couple of yards behind me.  When I hit the back doors I proceeded to fall down the steps in slow motion.  As I went down each painful step I heard the hysterical laughing of the two girls behind me, my sister and her best friend.  I came up laughing like a hyena because this was not uncommon to me (both the falling and my sister and best friend laughing at me at any given time).  One of the reasons, I found it particularly funny is because I’d ripped my pants.  However, the joke was on my sister.  We often wore each other’s clothes and that morning I was wearing her pants.  There was a significant principle to learn here: our stability impacts everyone around us!

 

Author Leslie Veronick suggests that we should all build our CORE strength.  Only she isn’t referring to physical strength.  She’s talking about core strength to support our mental, relational and spiritual health.  

  • Commitment to Truth and Reality
  • Open to Growth, Instruction, and Feedback
  • Responsible for myself and Respectful of Others without Dishonoring myself
  • Empathetic and Compassionate to Others without enabling People to Continue to Disrespect me

These four strengths are essential to maintaining mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational health.

Commitment to Truth and Reality

This is a call to stop pretending, placating, and avoiding reality.  Is it time for you to face the truth about your situation, your relationship, yourself?  One of the scariest things we must do to grow is be honest with ourselves.

Open to Growth, Instruction, and Feedback

None of us can move forward without being willing to receive feedback.  The best organizations and programs have some kind of feedback built into them.  Dedicate yourself to learning new things.  Remaining teachable is a key to core health.  

Responsible for myself/Respectful of Others without Dishonoring myself

You are responsible for the person you are and are becoming even when you are with difficult people or in difficult situations.  Choose to guard your heart so that you are not overcome by bitterness.  How other people treat you is not about you, it says something about them.  The reverse is also true, how you treat people is a statement about who you are rather than how they act.  Resolve not to dishonor who you are just because the conversation became tense.

Empathetic to Others without Enabling them to Disrespect me

Empathy and compassion are essential to all healthy relationships.  When we lose empathy and compassion for others we cannot maintain our connection. Sometimes when we’ve been hurt repeatedly, we lose all our compassion.  This is a sign that it’s time to release the resentment by choosing forgiveness. Forgiveness is not for the offender, it is an act that releases you from the toxicity. Maintaining your empathy and compassion protects you from being a victim.

Empathy does not mean enabling someone to hurt you or trusting someone who is untrustworthy.  You are responsible for yourself, as we said earlier.  The flip side of the same coin is you are responsible for only yourself.  What are you taking responsibility for that is not yours to take?  Are you feeling responsible for your child’s assignment?  Are you feeling responsible for your co-workers lack?  Are you taking on the responsibility of someone else's emotion?  

When you exercise this CORE daily, toxic people and situations lose their power over you.  Refuse to pretend.  Learn all you can.  Take responsibility for your own responses.  Maintain your empathy. You can compassionately counter toxic behavior. As you practice CORE, you will begin to feel more balanced and stable.

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