Sunday, May 11, 2014

Doing the hard thing

Gray skies have been emptying icy sheets of rain across the Front Range today. It's not a pleasant spring-like shower, the kind that patters gently along, leaving wildflowers kissed with tiny droplets of dew-like precipitation. It's a sharp and chilly rain that at times verged on sleet, more like a storm you might expect in, say, December, not the middle of May.

Weather-wise, it was not an ideal day for outdoor activity. In fact, the uncharacteristically bad conditions would have made the perfect excuse not to run. And I almost didn't. 

But something I'm consciously practicing these days is doing the hard thing. 

This practice is not the same thing as being hard on yourself. I think most of us are way too hard on ourselves already, especially women, and especially around themes of food and exercise. 

What I'm talking about is not this shame-based perfectionism and overcompensation for imaginary flaws. Rather, it's knowing who I am at my core and choosing to do the things that align with that version of myself. For me, that means I listen very carefully to where my thoughts originate. Are they coming from the most authentic version of me or from the small version--the one that just wants what I want when I want it?

As I near my thirtieth birthday, I'm reveling in how well I've come to know myself. And one thing I know about myself is that who I am at my core is very much alive and capable of doing the hard thing. I thrive on a challenge, and oftentimes, end up enjoying something all the more because it was hard-won, because I had to stretch and grow a little (or a lot) to get it. 

Knowing this means I couldn't let myself off the hook today, because who I am is not the kind of person who would let the weather keep them from a much-needed soul-cleansing workout.

So I ran. And I'm so glad I did, because it was an amazing feeling to be out there on a nearly empty trail with tiny shards of sleet on my eyelids, grinning like a maniac at the bittersweet beauty of the storm.

Sometimes it's as simple as a run. Sometimes it's something much more difficult than that. Do the hard thing; it's worth it.

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