Let’s face it. Living through a divorce, if nothing else, will certainly grow hair on your chest. It’s a powerful beast that has the potential to bring you to your knees and force you to question everything you ever liked about your self. It can force you to take a second look at your life and rethink every aspect of it. The amount of mental strain and emotional toll can easily affect every nook and cranny of your day and force you to spread yourself so thin that it makes giving anything 100 percent damn near impossible.
So what is one to do? How do you face all this crap and find the strength to put a smile on your face in front of your kids? Especially when your insides are churning with anxiety and you’re filled with self doubt about your ability to even pick out the correct flavor of water pouches at Kroger?
Well, I’m going to actually suggest you add to your day. I’ve spoken before about the fact that I try to run on a regular basis. Rain, snow, sleet, sun, doesn’t matter. It’s therapy for me. And this month I believe I learned the true value of my little slice of “me” time. For me it became a way of creating a positive result. A way for me to set an achievable goal when so many aspects of my life were forcing me to question my ability to achieve anything at all. For me running provided me with a way to set myself up for success so long as I was willing to follow through and force myself to give it proper attention and make it a priority.
The month of April was a tough one for me on many fronts. Thank God for friends and the positive influences that the universe has helped surround me with these past several months. But along with words of encouragement, I needed to have a tangible action that I could control. Something I could do where I could set a goal and remind myself that I’m capable of pushing myself to achieve those goals. I needed to feel like I accomplished something.
Along with being a tough month, April is my birth month. And so I turned to running as a means of setting a goal while at the same time creating a means of gauging my progress in life.
A little heavy I know, but bare with me. As running has been a constant in my life since I was about five, I saw an opportunity to make a statement. Since I began logging my milage a few years ago, I had run 100 miles in a month’s time only once. And to my recollection, I don’t ever remember being that constant enough with my running that I would have ever achieved that level. In my head I felt that if I could match my best month, then that would prove I stl had it in me to get better and that life couldn’t hold me back.
In March I managed to reach 70 and that was pushing it. And so … I set the goal of breaking my own personal monthly record of 100.3 miles.
Ironically, it turns out the negativity in my life was what made achieving my goal possible. Every time I had the rug pulled out from under me, I would lace em’ up and hit the pavement. I knew from past experience that I’d feel better, even if I could just get in a couple of miles.
Along with life’s hurdles, I also had the kids a lot those first couple of weeks of April, so I forced myself to make time after they got on the school bus to kick myself out the door. Eventually I started to find myself more mentally prepared for the day after working out some of the stress. Each run, in and of itself, was a victory; a goal reached; an accomplishment and I was soon addicted to that feeling as I wasn’t feeling it in many other areas of my life.
I grew to find value in each mile. Each run gave me a sense of self worth and accomplishment that countered my feelings of failure in other areas of my life.
And then one afternoon something incredible happened. I felt like I could go forever. I just kept going and going and it felt amazing. Before I knew it I’d logged 9 miles in one stretch. It felt incredible. Not only was I accomplishing goals, I was growing, progressing and getting stronger. I believe at one point I actually grunted like a cave man as I began to feel like I could transfer this positive feeling about myself to help attack some of the other negatives in my life. My energy increased. My belief in myself increased. And I started tackling negatives in other areas of my life out of shear will. The sense of positive was starting to take root. And the added bonus was the endorphins. I found myself being happy despite some incredibly stressful moments.
Even my reactions to the kids were changing. Reminding them to pick up their shoes for the 20th time didn’t seem to push my buttons quite as much. This in turn created a-NOTHER positive as my relationship with my kids improved. Then THEY got along better. It just reverberated.
I’m happy to announce that today I reached my goal of 100.3 miles. I’m actually at 101.3 and I still have two more days left. But as great as the big goal feels it’s the little ones I’ve grown to count on. If I can just get one mile in, it’s a positive accomplishment. It’s progress. It’s moving forward. And some days it’s all I’ve got. And for that I’m grateful because it reminds me that I CAN regain control and I CAN conquer a task. It simply reminds me that I have the ability to make something good happen. Something that I control. And that to me is empowering in a world that can tend to suck the life out of a person.
So what is something YOU can do to create a positive result in your life. What is something YOU can control to start building a foundation of good energy? I would encourage you to find something you enjoy doing that can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. Something you have to force yourself to do for YOU. Maybe it’s reading a chapter of a book a day. Or using your YMCA membership more routinely. Maybe it’s organizing a closet. Or painting a wall. Who cares what it is. If it reminds you that you’re capable, that you’re worthy, that you have a skill or a talent or half a brain … that’s really all that matters.
I hope somewhere in these 1200 or so words you can find something that triggers a thought in your head. A germ of an idea of how you can begin to rebuild your own self worth. Especially if somewhere inside you’re questioning your ability to be everything you once thought you could be. What are your goals? What are some first steps you can take to combat the negativity. I hope you’ll share what you decide to do to create a positive result in your own life. I’d love to hear about it!