I usually end up doing them in the evening much later than I should. I tell myself I’m being strategical and avoiding the heat, but if that was true I would run in the morning (that RARELY happens). In reality, my procrastination and dread for long runs are the reason why my long runs happen in the evening.
Yesterday though, my run was pleasant. I never thought I’d say these words, but it was almost enjoyable.
Around 7:55 I told myself, “Bella, get up, you’re running.” I grabbed my headphones, running watch, a headlamp, and started to run.
It was cool weather.
My music was good.
It was dark to the point where I could see my shoes and three feet ahead of me, but nothing else.
I had no light to see my watch screen, so I just ran. I didn’t constantly check to see my mileage or pace, or how much time I had left: I simply just ran.
And then there were the shadows.
What I’m going to say next will sound like some philosophical bs but while I was running it totally made sense, if you’re a runner, you know that the mind starts to lose sanity after about five miles.
The newly set sun and distant street lights served as an invitation for three shadows to join me. One ran about four feet behind me, one right by my side, and one ran far in front of me.
I stared at the three shadows for a good twenty minuets because, like I said, running is a tedious thing that causes a bit of insanity, and I started to think.
I thought about my progress with running, the struggles I’ve faced with it, where I am, and where I want to be.
The shadow behind me represented where I started: my first time running without someone forcing me to do it, the first time I competed in a race, and all of the first steps I took in my running journey.
The middle shadow right next to me represented where I am now: I am not in as great of shape as I was at my peak, but I’m in better shape that when I started. I am working to improve my skills.
The shadow in front of me represents where I want to be: my goals, the times I want to achieve, races I want to compete in, and mental toughness that I want to acquire with my running.
On my evening long run, in my philosophical state, I stared ahead and placed one foot in front of the other, in a rhythmical pattern, as I chased down my running goals and the shadow that ran ahead of me.
Throughout my athletic career, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to others. Not only has it affected my performance in sports, but it has affected many other aspects of my life. From not raising my hand in class to ask for help because I’m scared people will think I’m dumb or make fun of me, to quitting a swim team because I thought my teammates judged me and thought of me differently because I was the slowest on the team. But in reality, there were at least ten other of my classmates who were just as confused as I was, and the good people on that swim team liked me because I tried and was kind, and the people who treated me differently because I was the slowest weren’t worth my time anyway.
But still, my fear of being judged has had me in chains for years and I still fight it every day.
Yes, I have been viewed differently by people when my athletic abilities were less than theirs, but I’ve come to the realization that the true athletes are ones who accept and help others succeed.
Dear anyone who needs to hear it: We all start somewhere. We all have our insecurities. Not everyone has the same strengths as others. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. The most important thing is to focus on your journey.
Whether you run a 15 minute mile or a 5 minute mile. Whether you can bench 40 pounds or 400 pounds. Whether you swim a 1:40 for a hundred or a :40 for a hundred. The point is you are trying, and that’s what matters.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro athlete and I am not saying I am in any way, but I have recognized one of the main things that holds me back, and I don’t think I am the only one.
Please know that where ever you are in your athletic journey, don’t look at what others have accomplished, look at the improvement you’ve made because that’s what matters.
I don’t care how talented an athlete may be. If they judge or make someone feel bad because of their abilities, all of my previous respect would be gone. Sportsmanship is building one another up, not tearing each other down. A team is a supportive group of people, not enemies. Athletics is a field meant to empower, inspire, and be available to all people, not just the pros.
If you share this same anxiety as I do, please know that it is your journey that matters and the people worthwhile will support you no matter your skill and ability.
“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”- Doctor Seuss
When someone is vibrating at a lower vibration of fear and disconnection from Source/Self and is attempting to project this reality in to yours it is extremely important that you project a reality of understanding, compassion and empowered inner strength right back to them.
For example, if someone treats you poorly in order to get what they want and you react the way they want/expect you to out of fear, they won’t love you or feel supported by you anymore, they will never learn to respect you.
Stand up for yourself.
“It’s really not okay for you to treat me this way when I have done nothing to deserve the anger you’re throwing at me. I’m taking responsibility for my own reality and removing myself from this situation in honor of Self preservation.”
The light of awareness that you shine in that moment of truth is a light that gives them the opportunity to reflect on the reality they’ve created and rise to meet you on a lighter level of being. We all have a right to live a noble and virtuous life as kings and queens of our reality. We have the ability to create a life of preferences that are tailored to fit our emotional mental physical and spiritual needs. enough of trying to fit in or please people who do not understand or honor you where you’re at. love yourself and build a life that reflects that and you will surely attract a tribe of beings who can stand beside you to receive the blessings that life offers and create a new reality from the overflow.
I like divulging stories and experiences from my childhood so I think I’ll do that again.
5th grade was an interesting year for me. I spent the whole year knowing it was my final year in China, that I would soon be moving to the promised land that I had only know as Hollywood from movies and the few visits I had made to the southern coast of California. I fostered friendships I knew wouldn’t last, I got moved up to the highest reading group, and I ALMOST kissed a girl. All the subdued craziness afforded to an awkward twelve year old was incredibly liberating, however at the same time, it was shrouded in the despair of having to leave behind everything I knew.
Aside from all that depressing stuff, my fifth-grade year was the perfect culmination of all the time I had spent in China. My friends and I released more videos in a single year than we ever had before, under the name of our production company, “Yovodka United.” My homeroom class won the elementary school dodgeball tournament, even defeating the teachers somehow, making for one glorious pizza party. I finally read the final book of the TinTin series from the library, after waiting nearly two years for someone to return it, and I gave my final goodbyes to the friends, the school, the city, that had raised me and taught me so much, walking off stage, throwing glow sticks into the audience, after our heartfelt class song.
The Skype calls that seemed to go nowhere but made hours fly by in minutes. The new era of pop music, Maroon V, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, The Script, and Gotye, creating a perfect soundtrack that could encapsulate my memories into a single playlist. The Minecraft LAN parties that involved poor WiFi, pizza bagels, and lots of griefing. I don’t know if I can ever recreate a year as packed with mixed emotions and shameless exuberance as my fifth-grade year, but I only hope I can one day look back on my high school experience, my senior year even, with the same kind of nostalgic pride.
Boundaries are a part of our healing process. Many of us grew up in homes where boundaries were non-existent. As children, our boundaries were crossed so often that we become adults without them. We were told how we felt, how to behave, and how to interact with others. This disconnected us from our intuitive responses of stating (and following through with) our own personal limits.
All healthy relationships require boundaries. There’s no shame in us not having boundaries in our relationships if we never had this behavior modeled for us. It’s something we have to learn. And practice. And slowly integrate into our lives.
Disclosure: when I first started setting boundaries it was terrifying. The reactions I got often sent me into fear along with many panic attacks. Being in toxic relationships in the past, confrontation with others was my number one fear. I would completely shut down with the thought of telling someone how I felt about the way they were treating me. It took me a while to realize I am not responsible for the emotional reactions of others. It took me a while to see how this benefited me and everyone I had relationships with.
Boundaries are kind. They provide clear limits of where we end and another begins. They allow other people to understand how to best engage with us. Setting and receiving boundaries can feel terrifying and guilt ridden, especially coming from codependent dynamics.
And for those with unresolved trauma, boundaries can feel like abandonment. They can trigger defense mechanisms within us. All we can do is objectively deliver them with grace. Then hold them regardless of reaction.