One of the books from my reading list this year was Anything You Want by Derek Sivers. It’s more of a business/entrepreneur book but I still got a lot out of it.
One passage in particular struck me.
“You can’t pretend there’s only one way to do it.” How freeing! As much as I hate it, my tendency is toward black and white thinking. It’s all or nothing, this way or no way. I try desperately to escape this but the brain can be very difficult to train. Combine this with my ever present compulsion to compare myself and well, I’m usually not satisfied. It’s as if I am walking around surrounded by measuring sticks by which I must constantly gauge my abilities. Unfortunately, my self worth is tied to this process and since I am not perfect I am almost always disappointed.
I am working on that. Which is why the thought of having many options in life is very intriguing to me. I like to think of it as though we live through seasons. I don’t expect to be sun bathing in winter…it’s winter time….that doesn’t make sense. The same with our lives. Should I really expect to be training hours a week when I just moved to a new city, started a new job, and bought a new house? Add all the sickness I’ve had and I am just happy to make it through the day without freaking out on somebody.
We should all be a little less hard on ourselves and others. Especially me. I get really irritated with overly cautious or slow drivers. I am always in a hurry (a topic for another day) and so when these unfortunate souls get in my way I am usually chastising them from my car. But yesterday I couldn’t find the top to my coffee mug. So you better believe I was taking it slow all the way to work because I was not going to spill one drop in my new car. I had several people ride up on my bumper and zoom around staring me down as they passed. I made a mental note to stop doing that people, you never know what others have going on.
This is fresh on my mind this summer because I have been making a genuine effort to work on my self image. I am choosing positive thoughts over negative ones, learning what it means to love myself and accept (and maybe even one day love) my flaws. This all stemming from my goal to focus on the inside rather than the outside.
Exercise and fitness are important to me and I expect them to remain so the rest of my life. I just don’t know to what level I will always be able to commit. I need to realize that I am still a good person even when my focus shifts. It’s ok to have seasons. Running and working out are things that people can see and are impressed by. It’s immediately rewarding to work on those goals. But changing your mindset, transforming your character…that is hard. And the results are more subtle. You don’t see facebook updates about people boasting that they spent 10 minutes looking at themselves in the mirror repeating over and over all the traits they love. But how many times did I scroll through and see post after post of the workout of the day, number of miles ran, another pound lost. I’m not judging, that was me at one point. But now I am at a different season of my life so I have to stop comparing it to seasons past.
Changing the way I talk to myself and breaking my food addiction have not only been time consuming, but energy consuming as well. Running 6 miles before work used to be easy and normal. But that was a different time, different job. Plus, I am preparing myself for the amount of work that is in front of me when I start my doctorate program. There’s only so many hours in a day and I usually don’t like to sacrifice my beauty sleep…just sayin’…not sure how much time I’ll be in the gym over the next 4 years.
I got an email from one of my professors yesterday with our textbook requirements. She expects that we will have 2 of the 9 books read before our first class meeting in just over a month.
jk, jk…I’ll at least skim it.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet, drink, and botanical medicines.” -Henry David Thoreau