righting the ship

My dad sent me this video the other day.  It documents climber Emily Harrington’s attempt at free climbing El Capitan in one push.  I’m not a rock climber and I’m not a runner/athlete who pretends to be anywhere near her caliber in any way shape or form.  What inspired me while watching the video was her extreme determination and single-mindedness in the pursuit of this particular goal.  What inspired me was her PASSION.

Can you recall a time in your life when you were so passionate about a project or goal that you would essentially lose yourself in it?  Time would fly and your mood was naturally & effortlessly enhanced? I consider it a precious gift to have discovered even just one activity in my life which grants me such freedom and pure release.  I am not, by nature, the type of person who instinctively “lives in the moment”…I prefer to ruminate over, analyze, and judge moments. At least that is my default setting.  I’m working on it.

Running serves as a foothold or a boost up towards a more elevated and elusive mind space…one where my busy worry-intensive brain quiets down.  Running, for me, is that perfect combination of intensity + flow.  I am naturally drawn towards the elementary nature of just letting my body GO…and at the same time, I love the concrete structure of a plan.  The rigidity of a disciplined, clear, step-by-step challenge towards a BIG GOAL is something I need.

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So! Why is it that the BIG GOALS at once excite me and scare the shit out of me???  One might say that fear is an indicator that your goal is big enough.  I have a healthy respect for the difficulty of some of my goals and I actually LOVE the fact that they require a heavy dose of courage & guts.  Where I stumble is right here: I stumble upon a misguided belief that I am not good enough at (fill-in-the-blank…for this post, it’s running) to take it seriously.  I’m not a good enough/talented enough/fast enough/tough enough runner to DESERVE to take myself or my big goals, seriously.  Only elites do that.

DO YOU SEE THE ABSURDITY IN THIS LOGIC????????????????

By this logic, I will never improve or meet my goals….because I’m not “good enough” to start.

Well, I’ve decided I am ridiculous.

Would I tell my son, “Oh honey don’t even bother doing that extra work or making that extra effort because only elite athletes deserve to take themselves that seriously!” or “Oh you should probably take the easier math class because, really, what’s the point??”   Of course not.

I believe it’s a beautiful sign of self-respect, self-love and emotional maturity to step up and say:  “I deserve to ask this much of myself.”

Somewhere along the way, I “learned” that it is better, easier and safer to keep my expectations low.  For myself and others. This did not work out so well for me. Aiming low has never brought me joy.  Expecting the worst of every situation, every relationship = A surefire recipe for depression and dysfunctional relationships.

As women, I think it can be tough to declare our high expectations.  Some may say we come across as bitchy, judge-y, threatening, self-important and just “too much” when we do this.  I say, BRING IT.  Announce those lofty goals.  Proudly state what you expect from others.  Look in the mirror and demand the same from yourself.  I believe this benefits US ALL.

Lately, my ship as gotten off course.  My expectations for myself and others have dwindled into an unrecognizable mishmash of half-hearted bumbling good intentions.  It’s time to right the ship.  It’s time to get out the poster board, the Sharpies and the gold stars.  (whatever works right?)

I deserve to expect A LOT from myself.

You deserve it, too.

Why not start, now?

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