Recently, the Washington Post published an opinion piece on “the seductive danger of athleisure” in which the author went to lengths to prove her point: that wearing leggings and/or yoga pants outside of the gym is essentially akin to bad manners.
My friends and I ended up having quite the discussion on Facebook on the subject, and my initial reaction was pretty strong:
Bad manners have more to do with making blanket judgments according to how people choose to dress rather than with wearing yoga pants.
But that’s in my world. Maybe I’m just idealistic like that.
Regardless, the piece and the ensuing discussion made me think of the comfort/discomfort dichotomy that’s been discussed at length in the last few years from a myriad angles. I certainly have written extensively on the subject, urging others to venture out of their comfort zone, to embrace discomfort and its richness, and to understand how both relate to the possibility of growth, both in the personal sense and in our fitness endeavours.
And while my view of discomfort remains unchanged, I want to ask you this?
Is comfort such a bad thing that we need to cut it out of our lives and avoid it as a whole?
Being an advocate of balance, I see it through this lens:
We need to maintain some places of comfort in order to venture out and grow. If we want to keep up the energy required to expand, we can’t be all in discomfort all the time.
Discomfort demands a lot from us. The key is in our capacity to discern where leaning into that discomfort will serve us best. Ever seen the meme that says Anyone who doesn’t agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me and I’m going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I’m wearing leggings as pants?
While I’ll never advocate for a physical fight over that topic, it supports my general idea: choosing comfort in certain areas frees up a whole lot of time, energy and drive that we can then apply to what really matters.
If we keep telling ourselves that choosing leggings over slacks is “taking the easy way out”, we’re restricting our view of the world to some very superficial components.
I choose to believe that our contribution to the world should greatly transcend our physical appearance. We all have much more to offer.
Making the world a better place isn’t associated with a specific uniform—or lack thereof. Clinging to stories according to which there’s a proper way to dress for the task is simply a distraction, and a costly one at that.
For my part, you can be certain that I’ll keep venturing into discomfort—through rigorous self-work, difficult yet crucial conversations, and challenging physical work, just to name a few—and dedicating much of my own energy to it, as I believe it conducive to growth.
I very much doubt any of it will happen while I’m wasting a thought on proper attire, though. I’ll just be too comfortable in my yoga pants.
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