Three Reasons To NOT Run
I know, I know… almost every one of you are just shocked that I am not a runner. Ha Ha. Okay, maybe not. But do you know why I am no longer a runner? Perhaps the answers will surprise you, but not in the way you would think. Let me give you a little back story first.
You see, there was a time I ran. In fact I was good at running, so good that I had shoes and an outfit to match every occasion! Running from friends once the relationship got a little bit messy, running from employment opportunities that weren’t exactly perfect, running from love relationships once “real love” started to happen, running from confrontation, because well, who is a fan of confrontation, running from any good, bad, messy and yes even sometimes fun situations because once they didn’t fit into my neat little Container Store boxes I have readily available in my pantry, I didn’t know what to do with them. Oh yes, I became very good at running.
I thought that each time I did this I was successfully fleeing the scene of what was soon to be an accident, that I was somehow outrunning a tragedy awaiting to happen. I actually believed I was staying safe in this comforting blanket of avoidance, a bubble of safety if you will. What I failed to recognize was all of the opportunities I was missing out on.
I’ll never forget a time, after my first “stay at the spa”, when I was telling my therapist about a small fender bender with my Mercedes. “Are you driving the vehicle?”, he asked. What an odd question, I thought to myself. “No,” I quickly replied without thinking. He smiled. He then went on to say, “Of course you aren’t. You are going to wait until it is fixed, right?” I smiled, he was correct. But what was so wrong with this? Looking back, I see how silly I was being, and how driving a car with a small dent that was hardly noticeable shouldn’t have stopped me from driving my car. My once favorite, dream car. But it did. It was no longer perfect in my eyes. In fact, it wasn’t long after that I got a new vehicle. This was not the only time he brought up my a-typical behavior in regards to the need for things to be perfect, including myself.
Flash forward to now. Another “stay at this time not a spa” and I really feel proud of the progress I have made. In fact, very proud. Until I am on the phone with my best friend and we are going over this very blog. “Jen, please don’t let this be one of your things that you start and then don’t finish…” Ouch. I know I have made progress because the old Jen would have disappeared off the radar right away. However, this is different, not only do I care about this friendship, but I knew she was right. I followed my therapy steps and began to make a list of things that I have “dropped” recently and asked myself why? Had things become “not perfect” and did I want out because of a healthy reason, or because of my old ways of wanting to run? As I went through the list, I found a few items I needed to pick back up. What is really neat is that my Pastor talked about this in Church on the following Sunday and of course I brought this up with my Therapist on our next visit. Here are some interesting things I needed reminding of, and I thought I would share with you…
Three Reasons To NOT Run:
1. We believe that we can experience peace and happiness if we live in a bubble, or surround ourselves in a safety blanket shutting off those around us, however that is not true. By avoiding people and situations, we might be avoiding the bad things, yes, but we are also keeping ourselves away from all of the wonderful, joyous things that life has to offer as well. We need to experience some of the downs in life so that we may make better decisions in the future and grow and advance while continuing to enjoy all of the wonderful things life has to offer. We need to learn to trust ourselves more, and we can only do this by going through life’s journeys.
2. So often we spend so much time focusing on what we think something SHOULD BE, that we miss out on the joys of what something ACTUALLY IS. We need to enjoy people for who they are, we need to enjoy situations for what they are and take things as they are. If something isn’t what you want or enjoy, you may walk away from it, but you will not know unless you TRY it. If you keep assuming you will not like something unless it is exactly how you think it should be, you will never allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy new things and boy, will you be missing out! It is okay to give up control and go with the flow. Trust me on this one, and trust me when I say I know this is harder than it sounds. But it is so worth it!
3. Please do not think that liking things are bad, or that wanting things to go a certain way is bad. It is also okay to STOP SOMETHING if it is making you feel uncomfortable, causing you too much stress or taking time away from you that is affecting your health. Once an importance is placed on something that affects you, your family or overall health, that is when the red flags need to go up. This is why I find it important to keep lists, go over it every now and then and always check in with a friend, and or a therapist if needed.
As is the case with “running”, there is no one size fits all approach to joining life. You really need to do what feels right for you. Some people like to go all out and do the actual marathon, and they succeed well at it! Others, like me, prefer to slap on some heels and watch the marathon and cheer from the sidelines, observing before I ever dip my toe in the nikes. Both approaches are great, and over time, lots of time for me, can get you to the same goal. Both approaches will also bring you joy. As long as you are off the couch and out of your home, you are succeeding. As long as I don’t have to run.
Having seen the dark side of mental health illness, Jennifer refuses to hide in shame, but rather hopes to connect with people who feel isolated because of their own struggles.
She is excited about the launch of her new site in March and hopes you all will visit it often to see what her next adventures are. For now, we are excited to share her journey on All Things Treasure Coast.