A couple weeks ago, a friend of a friend hooked me up with a sports psychologist-in-training. She’s working on getting her clinical hours completed, so she’s started counseling. Because I
have awesome connections was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, I’ve started meeting with her for an hour, once a week. It’s been eye-opening. I mean, I knew I had some baggage when it came to running in general, and setting and achieving goals in particular. She was able to identify this about me within the first ten or so minutes of our speaking.
During our second session, we talked about the runner I see myself as being versus the runner I really am. In what may come as a shock (or not, if you’re really paying attention), when I envision myself as a runner, I am much more committed, consistent, and capable than I really am. The thing is that it’s not a question of confidence, it’s more a question of denial. I set my goals and establish my expectations based on what the ideal runner should be doing (according to me, anyway) instead of what’s going to help me to progress and move forward at the right pace. The result is that I end up stuck in a pattern of setting high expectations and then feeling discouraged when I can’t meet them. The trick is that in order to break that pattern, I have to be honest with myself and accept the runner I am right now.
After that major revelation, I started to wonder if I could apply the same principle to other parts of my life. Was I trying to lie to myself about other things, or was running the exception? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am a complete and total liar! Okay, maybe not liar, since that implies intentional and even malicious deception–let’s say I am truth-averse. I am completely and totally truth-averse! Examples of my truth-aversion:
- I am not hungry right now [said over my growling stomach], I just ate [lunch, three hours ago].*
- Why do I always feel so thirsty? I drink plenty of water!
- Yeah, I eat really well most of the time [which means I am heavily reliant on bread and dairy, with vegetables and fruit being mostly secondary and sometimes completely omitted]
- I am not tired [even though I don't have the energy to do anything]!
- I do yoga regularly [I can't remember the last time I did yoga more than once a week, and I certainly can't remember the last time I did it even once a week for several weeks in a row]
Erm. It’s a little bit embarrassing to admit all that, which is probably why this is the first time I’ve really let myself do it. But I’m pretty sure that if I keep on living the life of someone I’m not, I’m going to remain pretty unhappy. I think it’s time to start being honest, and accepting that it’s okay to make decisions based on what’s actually true instead of what I wish were true. It’s a pretty radical idea, I know, but I’m going to try it. Don’t even try to stop me.
*I should note that I’m sitting here writing this thirsty and hungry.