I’ve read a few articles, seen some videos and had various conversations about this recently and it’s been tickling away at my brain. It does seem that at some point along the way something about our world, our society, strips away our confidence and turns us into our own worst critic.
Remember the innocence of childhood when (in summer) you could run about in the skin, paddling in the sea or playing with the garden hose? I didn’t think about my body or what it looked like, I just used it to have an awesome time. I didn’t compare my paddling to how well the other kids were paddling, I just enjoyed the sensation of sand between my toes and squealed in shock and delight when cold water splashed my sun-warmed skin. Hopefully, most people have those kinds of lovely childhood memories and hopefully can remember a time when they weren’t hyper-conscious of appearance or performance.
Fast forward to now. I no longer have the shapely, slender hot-pant worthy legs of my younger years and I’m a little too chubby everywhere with overly generous boobs that are incredibly impractical. Speccy. Scarred. Blemished. Hair grows where I don’t want it to. The hair where I do want it, seems to have a mind of its own. I’m slow, so slow at running. Slow at cycling. Slow at swimming and I can’t even do crawl. Other people start off on the first day of their training already faster than a couple of years of trying really hard has got me.
Well, do you know what?
IT’S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!
It’s just not good enough to give myself such a hard time for being me.
My legs are strong and muscular; they keep my bum off the ground and they carry me for miles and miles and miles. My body sustains me and when it comes down to it, it’s my primary source of transport, of pleasure and of pain. I live in a time when corrective lenses mean my eyesight is not a disability, how lucky I am to have specs. The scars and blemishes on my body are trophies and reminders from my adventures and misadventures in life. I am slow, so slow but I am strong of body, heart and mind which gets me across finish lines time and time again. I keep making progress, it’s my progress and no one else’s. There’s no comparison and no point in comparing – we’re all different, we have different starting points, different abilities, different goals and different challenges to face. Life isn’t a level playing field and that’s not a bad thing, it would be really boring if we were all the same.
I think I need to regress a little bit, time for a second childhood perhaps, time to quit thinking about what my body looks like and just use it to have an awesome time. Actually, I AM having an awesome time already so thank you splendid body of mine for making it possible.
I’m unlikely to win any prizes at sporting events but I’m not in it to beat other people, I just want to be the best version of me. Surely that’s all anyone should really want to be, and I think the best place to start is recognising that you’re already pretty darn great to start with.
How lucky I am to do the things I get to do. To paraphrase a bunch of motivational quotes: every day, every run, cycle, swim, sunset, hug, smile or shooting star is truly a gift and our time would be better spent appreciating life’s many little gifts than beating ourselves up about not being good enough.
I’m good enough and so are you!
Edit: just adding a wee link as I saw this article and thought it was absolutely spot on.