I went for an outside run today, more like a jog/walk. It didn’t go as planned, the allergies attacked me like a parasitic alien taking control of my body. It was undelightful.
Although the middle to end of my jog/walk turned unpleasant for me physically, the beginning of my jog/walk went well. What stood out to me the most was my thought process.
When I started to jog, I began to focus on my stride and breath. I wasn’t breathing too hard, but I did notice the relative heaviness of my breath compared to the slow and comfortable pace I was running at.
My first thought was, I’m running slow. I’m running slow to pace myself, but I’m still running slow. The thought didn’t discourage me, like it had in the past, but it encouraged me. I lifted my body with more confidence and relaxed into my pace.
I started to think of all the times that I had stopped doing things because I felt discouraged by where I was at and where I wanted to be.
Many times through I have stopped running, and not even started to run again, because I was discouraged. I thought about what others would think. What do the people around me at the gym think of the slow pace I’m going at? That’s a ridiculous thought. They are probably in their own head. And pace is such a relative thing. As a runner, I know a lot about pace, speed and distance and what is “average” for runners and non-runners. My pace, although slower than when I was in my prime, is not slow. It’s not at all likely that others would be judging my pace, even if I were jogging 10 times slower than what I’m jogging right now. And if someone was, so what? How would I even know, unless someone spoke their judgements to me? It would be unlikely for a stranger to do that, and if they did, who cares? Why would their judgement hold so much weight and become a deciding factor of what I will or will not do with my life?
Having a conversation like the above with myself while jogging was interesting. Those thoughts about people judging my pace are silly. Why should my fears of others’ imagined thoughts impede me from doing something that I want to do? Why should that make me stop doing something I want to do? Why should that make me give up before I even start?
It shouldn’t, but I find it common that I and others often let our fears control us. We let the imagined thoughts of others have large influence over our lives. I think it’s a common human habit, birthed from insecurity and fear.
It’s also a silly habit. When you really think and speak your thoughts out loud. It can just sound so silly. It’s like when you hear your friends speaking their insecurities to you, and you know they are untrue, and you tell them so, or you ask them questions to help them get there, and sometimes they get there and sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, you wonder, Why Don’t You See That Your Thoughts and Your Actions Due to Your Thoughts are Absurd! Your Insecurities Are Unfounded! You’re Putting Imaginary Thoughts Into Others Heads. You’re Putting Your Insecurities Into the Mouths of Others. They Aren’t Telling You These Things. You Are Basically Creating and Making Up All of Your Fears and Insecurities.
That’s an important issue to realize, that all of my fears are self-created or self-cultivated. They could be based from some outside experience, but then I allowed myself to put all of my attention and thoughts into cultivating and growing those fears, into allowing those fears to stop me from doing what I want for a happier and healthier me.
On giving up, I let these thoughts and fears allow me to give up.
What do I want from life? What are my current goals? What are my fears and insecurities around those goals? What am I telling myself that’s stopping me from acting on what I want?
If I start becoming more aware of the negative thoughts I tell myself, I can analyze them. I can stop them. I can change them. I can replace them with positive thoughts. I can begin to constantly tell myself that I can do X, Y and Z, that I will. Soon, these positive and empowering thoughts can become unconscious thoughts, they’ll just happen.
When I write out my insecure thoughts, they look silly. When I consciously speak them to myself, they sound silly. When I speak them to others, they sound silly.
When a friend speaks their insecurities to us, we know they sound silly. A helpful technique could be imagining our friends speaking our own insecurities to us, as if they were theirs. What would we say to them? Would we believe them that they cannot do X, that they are not worthy of X? Would we judge them for the perceived judgements they are putting on themselves? Probably not. We’d most likely see our friends as the amazing person we know and see them to be. And we’d wonder, why don’t they see themselves as we see them?
Can we use these techniques on ourselves? What can we do to see the amazing person that we are? What can we do to become more aware of our negative thoughts, see them for what they really are, fear (false expectations appearing real), and then change them to positive thoughts that are reflective of our truth?
When I was running today, aware of my slow pace and comfortable with it, I got excited. I got excited that I didn’t discourage myself to stop, and I got excited about the progress that I’ll make. If I continue to run consistently, I will progress. I’ll notice myself running longer distances. I’ll notice my pace increase.
Aside from running, if I don’t allow my own insecure thoughts stop me from acting on what I want, what else can I do? If I allow myself to be okay with slow, step-by-step progress, how will that progress evolve if it continues over long periods of time?
Applying this to my focus, to the structured life I want to create for myself, for the LGBTQI magazine I want to create — If I just work on these things that I want, one day at a time, one step at a time, and don’t give up, then eventually I will reach my goals.
Giving up never has to be an option. We can choose to stop doing something. We can choose to phase things in and out of our lives. We can switch our priorities, but we never have to give up on something we really want. The concept of “giving up” is self-created. We give up, or fail, because we tell ourselves that we have, and we’ve failed something because we allowed ourselves to. We allowed our negative thoughts to stop us, but we don’t have to.
For tomorrow, for the rest of tonight, starting now, I will focus on becoming more aware of my negative thoughts that pop up, and I will challenge them.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Media Network. She’s working on launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.