I was mentally sabotaging my morning run before the day even started. I laid in bed the night before thinking about how I was getting to sleep too late after eating too much junk when I knew I was coming down with a cold. I had not set myself up for success and felt guilty. I tried to tell myself if I was that beat tomorrow, I would skip it. I woke up in the middle of the night twice for other reasons but couldn’t help but think of how I tired I would feel come morning.
As I prepped the kids for school and got through breakfast with way too much coffee, I told myself how I was not well-hydrated and would be dragging. Should I even go? I kept moving but my inner voice whispered that I could just walk today if I felt overwhelmed. That voice said, “Listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it.” Then a competing inner voice mocked, “But it’s your own fault for not feeling up to it, so go suffer through it.” I carried on.
When I got to the trail, I saw flashing lights up ahead. I almost stopped, thinking I should not run that way. However, I pushed on telling myself to see what the lights were about before bailing. They were just for a parked maintenance vehicle being unloaded, so I jogged on.
I was sluggish the whole time. I felt slow, heavy and bummed about not taking better care of myself. Still, I kept going. I told myself I would cut it short if it felt like too much, but then I knew the negative self-talk would grow. My knee was a little achy, and my spirits were low. Nonetheless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to lose myself in some music.
Then I spotted a young woman I often see on the trail. She is gorgeous with long hair, bright eyes, and slim body. She usually takes long walks, and we exchange waves and smiles as I go past. Today as we crossed paths, she was jogging. She stopped and told me in a panting voice that I had inspired her to stop walking and start running the trail. I congratulated her on her efforts, and we both went on our ways. All of a sudden, I was lighter. I ran without issue. I didn’t think of my knee, my weight or my tiredness. I just ran and finished up the run on a high note.
Her simple compliment made such a difference on my perspective. This beautiful woman told me I had kicked her butt into gear. I had fallen into the trap of cutting myself down mentally while assuming this other gal had it all together. How could she not?
But we all have stuff. We all have the stories we tell ourselves.
I’m an upbeat person who usually focuses on the good, but like everybody, I have days (like today) when I focus on the bad. The fact that this gal stepped out of her comfort zone both to run and to tell me, a stranger, that I had inspired her to do so snapped my head back on straight. Her gesture reminded me of a few things that I know to be true:
1) Just getting out and taking each step counts, even if it’s not your best performance. Looking back, I placed so many obstacles in my own path for this run, but I pushed past each one. Not my best run, but I still did it. That is worth something.
2) There is always going to be someone achieving in an area that you are not. Someone will always be smarter, thinner, happier, healthier, wealthier, etc. It’s okay to admire or be inspired by that someone, but do not judge yourself harshly by that someone. Measure yourself against yourself.
3) Everybody has challenges and doubts going on. Everybody. We’re human. We’re not perfect.
4) It never hurts to tell someone, even a passerby, something nice. You may just change their whole day. You may just change their whole life. Kind words are that powerful.
My trail acquaintance probably has no idea how much her words impacted my day. When I see her next time, I’ll tell her. Plus, I feel prompted to tell someone else how they inspired me. I have been meaning for some time to tell a certain person how they unknowingly helped me to make a life change for the better. I haven’t done so yet, despite ample opportunity, because I don’t want to seem too familiar to an acquaintance. However, today has taught me that hearing you changed someone for the better is never too familiar.
Have you received an unexpected compliment that changed your day? Is there someone who has unknowingly inspired you to try something new, and have you told them?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State), USA.
Photo credit to the author.