Have I mentioned I have great friends? Because I do, and ever since day one with this blog, my friends have been telling me I should challenge myself to work out for a week straight, or run for a week or pick up a sport. I said sure, sure but really I was thinking heck no, I’ll avoid that challenge as long as possible.
But there was no avoiding it last weekend when I spent my fall break in Denver, Colorado where my friends and I ate out every day, visited a few breweries, took a car ride up a mountain and did a lot of sitting around and catching up with old friends.
We were all feeling sufficiently unhealthy when Sunday came around and that’s when Kat suggested it would be a good idea to go for a run once a day as my challenge for the upcoming week, and she offered to join me. At first, I refused. I had two more days in Colorado and it was difficult enough climbing stairs with the elevation there, and besides I wanted to spend my time enjoying life, not gasping for air and making a fool of myself. Kat’s persuasive, if you didn’t know, and talked me into doing it.
The next morning as we left our friend’s apartment I thought to myself, when was the last time I even ran? I racked my brain, sifting through memories and as Kat and I began to jog, I remembered. Summer of 2008. Over two years ago was the last time I went for run… and then I thought what am I doing?
I won’t lie, it was extremely difficult to run in Denver, especially for someone so out of shape. Kat and I made it 10 minutes the first day and an arguable 15 the next. My lungs hurt for the remainder of the week. But when Wednesday rolled around and I was back in Michigan, something happened that genuinely surprised me: I found myself actually looking forward to run. I think the fact that I survived Denver and proved to myself that I could actually do it made me see the whole situation in a different light. I finished my challenge without a problem and even ran two days on my own.
It didn’t take me long to figure out what the root of my problem was with running: fear. I was afraid I won’t be able to, afraid I would look like an idiot while trying, afraid that I would confirm the fact that I’m out of shape, afraid that I would fail.
So as a defense mechanism, I limited myself. I told everyone that I don’t run, which eliminated the possibility of even trying. Because ultimately, deep down I had this fear that I was incapable.
Fear has this huge presence in our lives that brew underneath the surface of the majority of our issues. Identifying that fear is the first step and understanding it’s irrationality is the next.
Which reminded me of Coach Carter, at the end of his long speech about fear he says this: “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others" (*originally a Nelson Mandela quote).
Liberation. To be free from fear. It can be a powerful feeling.
So what’s on your list of things you don’t do?
Why are they there?
How do you limit yourself and how will you attempt to liberate yourself?