I am a novice runner. I don’t break any distance or speed records. I simply put one foot in front of the other in an attempt to stay in better shape. And now that I have stuck with it for a while, I can see some physical differences. And I am pleased with the results.
But, physical benefits are not the only thing I received. As I run, my mind tends to wander. It’s nothing for me to bounce back and forth between work, home, sports, favorite TV shows, movies, etc. It’s almost like the muscles of my mind are working right along side the muscles in my legs. Some of my best thoughts come while I am running.
During my run today, my mind wandered to the area of comparisons. It started with me comparing myself to other runners. Here is a small glimpse of those thoughts. Other runners are faster. Other runners are in better shape. Other runners endurance is better than mine. You can image how that line of thinking made me feel. It was very discouraging.
My feet got heavier. My legs got tighter. My chest got congested. I struggled to breath freely. It was amazing how these negative thoughts were impacting my body! These poor thoughts were literally weighing me down. Everything within me was screaming – STOP!!!!
At that point, I broke my normal free range thinking to save myself from this negative spiral. I forced myself to start thinking about something more positive. I steered my mind to how I started running. I remembered my accomplishments. I remembered my physical improvements.
The impact of this was almost immediate. My feet got lighter. My legs loosened up. My chest opened up. I could breathe easier. The weight I was feeling was being lifted. I quickly started shouting to my body (inside my mind), WE CAN DO THIS!!! And you know what, I finished my run.
What did I learn from this? It is amazing how quick we are to compare ourselves to others. And we usually start out by comparing ourselves to those who are further along in this journey we call life. When we compare ourselves to those who (we determine) have more than us. It leads us to a dark place. And this impacts everything we do. Slowing us down on our journey.
If we are not careful, we can overcompensate for this by comparing ourselves to others who are behind us in this journey. While that may lift our spirits, it is usually for a short period time. And let’s be honest, it really is not healthy to sit around and say, “Well at least I am not (fill in the blank) as (fill in the blank) is!”
If we are going to compare ourselves, let’s keep it in house. Look at where you started. Look at your distance traveled. Look at the obstacles you overcame. Use that to motivate you to look forward and keep moving. Look at the turns. Look at the dips. See the end. And feel yourself crossing that finish line. Then, take the first step toward tomorrow.
See you at the end of the journey!