This week, I decided to start running again. Well, I wouldn’t quite call it running…yet. It’s more like awkwardly jogging, sometimes walking, and sometimes looking like I’m going to fall over (though, that’s partially due to my terrible balance/amazing talent of tripping over air). But whatever you want to call it, I’m doing it.
The place I run is a gorgeous 3-mile loop. It’s on a busy street with lots of traffic, and there are always tons of other walkers, runners, bikers, dog-walkers, etc. no matter what time of day it is. Parts of this area get full sun, and other parts have nice shade. It’s situated on some nice hills – not too big, and not too small.
Today, I noticed something strange as I ran. Every car that passed, it was almost as if I could hear audible voices from the drivers. I could hear them yelling at me, saying things like, ”Speed up, fat ass!” or ”Why don’t you just quit?” or ”Who do you think you are?”
With each passing car, I felt more discouraged and more embarrassed. I felt like I didn’t belong there. And with each passing car, I slowed down. I gave up just a little more. I accepted the fact that I couldn’t do this; people like me can’t do this. This went on for probably the first 2 miles of my run today.
Until suddenly, I realized it wasn’t the drivers or the other runners saying these things to me. They weren’t the ones saying these horrible things to me! It was me.
We’ve been so conditioned to believe that everyone else is thinking bad thoughts toward us. We’ve been conditioned to think that people are automatically judging us and criticizing us.
But ya know what? It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if people are judging us. It doesn’t matter if the guy in the car is thinking, ”Ew, she’s so disgusting!” or if that other runner is thinking, ”Gosh, I could run circles around this chick!” It doesn’t matter if they’re laughing at you, calling you names, and thinking you will never make it. That doesn’t matter! Stop worrying about what other people think!
As I realized that it was me thinking these horrible things about myself… ”Speed up, fat ass! You’re never going to make it! What are you doing out here? Who do you think you are? You’re so disgusting. There’s no hope for you.”
As I realized this, I began to change my words. I began to say, ”You can do this! You’ve got this! Come on, girl! Run! Faster! One step at a time! One foot in front of the other! You’ve got this! Keep going! You can do it.”
And sure enough, every car that passed, I heard those things. Every car that passed, it was like I could hear them say, ”You’ve got this. Come on, you can do it! Keep going! Good job!”
I found myself running faster, keeping my eyes up, and smiling as I ran. And when I ran as far as I thought I could go… When I ran as far as I did last time… When I got to the end, and I was exhausted and ready to quit… I kept going. I kept pushing. And I ran 70 steps further than I believed I could go. 70 steps may not seem like much, but when you’ve done all you thought you could do, each step beyond that is a big deal. Each step matters.
One foot in front of the other. You’ve got this, girl. Keep going. You can do it.
How do you talk to yourself? What kind of words do you use? Do you encourage yourself, or do you tear yourself down? Do you push yourself to become better, or do you hold yourself back? Do you focus on what’s going right, or what’s going wrong? Do you speak life or death?
What words do you need to hear today? You are beautiful. You’re doing a good job. You are a great mom. You are an amazing dad. You are strong. You are passionate. You are giving it your best shot. You are a good leader. You are on the right track. You can do this. You’re gonna make it. Keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ve got this.
Don’t wait for someone else to say those words to you. Say them to yourself today. Encourage yourself. Push yourself. You will be amazed by the results! You can do this, my friend! You’ve got this!