Sigh. I’m over it.
I’ve had smatterings of this post here in my drafts for a few months, but the last few days have brought it all together, so it’s time to marry these thoughts on my heart, get it off my chest, and let it go.
Over the weekend, in a running community, a woman posted a conversation she had with a friend that escalated into comments from the friend putting down her running achievements simply because she didn’t look like a runner (paraphrasing, it was ugly, and I’m not aiming for ugly here). Very quickly, the response in this community was one of support in reminding her the very basic premise that if you run, you’re a runner. End of story. There’s no speed, size, race, gender, age, or any other specification that qualifies you as a runner. It spawned flooding this woman’s feed with photos including the hashtag #whatarunnerlookslike. It was beautiful. It bugged me, and I got a little rant-y about it and went to my instagram and facebook with it too, because the ugly part of the post really hit me in a hard place and I went off from a place of (somewhat righteous) anger. Fast forward to yesterday…someone on this forum took all of the photos that this woman was flooded with, and put them together in the video (including yours truly) featured here:
Pretty awesome, right?
Then this morning, as I was watching the Ironman “Anything is Possible” video again as I’m throwing my gym bag in the locker at the gym, another post pops up on my favorite triathlon page. A woman that is preparing to complete her first full Ironman this weekend shared her story of un-supportive people in her path.
What. The. Heck.
I’m not delusional enough to believe we live in a world where everyone has to agree with one another and be in full support of every person’s decisions, that’s obviously not realistic. But I am naively optimistic enough to believe that we can agree to disagree, still love one another, still coexist, and treat each other with love and respect in spite of our differences. In the end, I’m not the one to judge. That’s God’s job…and it’s wayyyyy above my pay grade.
As to stay out of anything potentially controversial, political, or otherwise inflammatory, I’m going to stick with my own example…because, well, this is my blog and it’s used to (whine) detail my journey anyway and not air any other stance.
Just as the two women above, I know I have my own haters. Whether they are purposely trying to be covert about it or not, I’m not as dense as I may appear sometimes…I know they’re there. I know they judge me. Joke. Wait for me to fail. To perhaps even fall into old habits. What I don’t think they realize is how they benefit my journey. They illustrate to me how far I’ve come in some of my different goals. I could easily let them get in my head, under my skin, and consume my thoughts. In the past, they would have. But what they don’t realize is that in the work I’ve done on me, their judgments just provide fuel that continues to push me towards me goals. Bummer. Their power over me is removed.
People don’t agree with me or judge me for a lot of reasons. That’s okay. They get upset when I won’t even listen to a sales pitch for a supplement or weight loss product. I’m sorry, those things aren’t part of my life. I don’t diet, and I don’t intend to start. People get upset when they ask me what my diet is and why I’ve been successful and I start to explain the concept of balanced eating, exercise, spiritual and mental fitness…a holistic approach to be the woman that God has created me to be. They get upset. They want the magic answer. I don’t believe there is one. Sorry. I’ve gotten to where I am through faith, prayer, work, research, experimenting, and finding what works for me. It may not be the answer for all, and I totally acknowledge that reality.
There’s the flip side of this, I have many friends and acquaintances that do engage in weight loss programs of various credibility, supplements, surgeries, special diets, restrictive plans, minimal exercise, excessive exercise, exercise beyond their ability that is resulting in injury, and the list goes on and on and on. We all have a similar end game in mind, we just have different approaches. I know my boundaries regarding these subjects because of how they play in my head, but I understand the fact that these things are important to these people. I don’t eliminate them as people from my life just because I don’t agree with one part of what they do, nor do I rain on their parade. I don’t go out of my way to comment on the things that I do not agree with, I simply just let subjects be. What is the point of arguing with someone who already believes they are right? Now, if they are truly asking or seeking my comment, opinion, or advice, I’ll be honest–not in an way to tear them down, but to express why their choice just isn’t a choice that’s right for me. We’re all different, and we all find success in different way. You do you. I can still love that person and encourage them for the amazing child of God that they are. And we sure don’t have enough of that in this world.
I’m not sure why it’s human nature to judge each other…it sure would be nice if we could just knock it off. It wears thin on me when people look at me and ask is all I do is train. Um, in a different world…I wish. In reality, no. I train anywhere from 45-90 minutes on a weekday and 2-4 hours on a Saturday. That’s it. I don’t think people understand how much physical activity has truly become an outlet for me too. As a person who has always used food as the ultimate comfort, I’ve had to find other places in my life to let that pressure off–physical activity, working on some of my other growth goals, other activities–these are the healthier coping mechanisms I employ now. Believe me, I don’t think I can express in the stress of our recent transition, maneuvering our new responsibilities, being ten feet apart at the office with a wall separating us and not out in the community as much as we are used to yet, how much that release is preserving our marriage right now to have that stress release! (Know I say that tongue-in-cheek, my husband is a saint, and he’s amazing). I’m also someone that has pseudo-control of my own schedule, so I get judged a lot on interspersing the work on I do on my personal development and goals with my daily professional responsibilities. This journey started when I realized how I was not honoring God’s creation, so why not be a living breathing model redemption from sin every day? I need segments and breaks in my day because it’s a long day–it starts at 4am and goes until 8pm or 9pm, most days up to 10-12hrs of that is spent on “business” whether it’s at the office, home, or out in our community. I need structure. I need routine. So by having all these activities segmented throughout the day, it’s more productive than engaging in my destructive all-or-nothing tendencies that typically results in getting nothing done. At the end of the day, let’s look at my track record. I’m running circles of efficiency around my former self (but can we quit throwing balls into the juggling match for a bit, please?)
I don’t need the judges and haters to keep tabs on me…I’ve talked about accountability before, I’ve got literally a team behind me of people who are in my corner that keep me focused on my goals–professionally and personally. Colleagues, friends, doctors, coach and sport nutrition professionals, and people that truly have my best interest at heart. So, before you tell me….or anyone else for that matter…that they’re overdoing it, they shouldn’t pursue that, their priorities are in the wrong place, they don’t “look” like the type of person that does that, or any other generalization that you’re about to make, just think about how you would feel. If you wouldn’t want to hear it, they probably don’t either.
We need more encouragement in this world. We need more hope in this world. It’s something that I work to the point of tears to some days trying to make happen and feel like I’m beating my head against the wall, but I know that God’s got it covered. I just have to keep suiting up and showing up and following His will. He’s got the plans, I do the foot work…and do my best to just mind my own business in the process.
I don’t have the magic answer…wish I did, but in the process, let’s just make a deal: I’m probably just as guilty as the next guy and don’t realize it sometimes. So, I’ll work to knock off the discouraging behaviors, and you too?