Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Self-esteem is a concept most of us are familiar with, but defining it is still difficult. It's basically how we value ourselves. It is something that we hold internally, but it's built when we're children by our own actions and those of our parents. Unfortunately, many of us didn't build enough or a healthy self-esteem as children. It's really easy to blame this on our parents, but that doesn't fix the problem. Even if your mother never encouraged you and criticized everything you did, you're an adult now and need to build your own self-esteem.

It's easier to build a healthy self-esteem when you're a baby and have a blank slate to work with. It's harder when you're an adult and your brain has a lifetime of negativity to fall back on when you face a small set-back.   It may be easier to give up on a dream or goal and rely on those voices of negativity to tell you you didn't have a shot anyway. Just because it's harder to build self-esteem as an adult, doesn't mean it's impossible.

This is why I love running. Running has allowed me, as an adult to repair the self-esteem that my mother failed at building when I was a child. (Yes, it's easy to blame her, but I'm not resting on that blame. That's key.) Every  time I set out on a run is thirty minutes of building up my self-value. I don't look at it that way, but I know that's what's happening. I set many tiny goals and several larger goals during each run. When I'm getting really winded and want to walk, I try to run a bit more and set a landmark. Every time I can reach that landmark and/or exceed it, I have improved my view of myself. Reaching my overall distance and time goals does the same thing.

I've been running for a few years, and I know that I feel better about myself than I did when I began. I weigh about the same as I did a few years back, but I feel more confident in my skin. I am comfortable with how I look and with what my body can do. I'm even more comfortable when I don't reach a goal. I don't view it as insurmountable and quit. The set-back ins't the end, but quitting is. Failure to reach a goal on the first try isn't the end of everything. Failure is a set-back that can allow you to try again with a better plan of attack.

I am not promising you that running will make you feel better about yourself overnight. It may even reinforce some of those negative voices at first. If you stick with it and get better, you'll see that it's easier to believe you can stick with it and get better. It's a circle that may be hard to get started, but it keeps feeding itself. It's not just running that will do this, but any exercise program where you can set, meet and exceed goals. Do yourself a favor and get active.

No comments:

Post a Comment