I had just clapped myself, another three quarters of a mile to go and I would have my first 5miles of the year in the bag. I run for me, it provides a sense of achievement, clears my head and I enjoy it. Yet I have hardly run this year, I feel the reason of studying alongside working is a plausible one, but by not nourishing myself I lose a part of me and it is much easier for my self critic to floor me. As I watched the start of the woman’s marathon this morning, I noticed the time they were completing miles in and then felt a black pit developing in my stomach. I had woken up in a good mood, we were off to the lakes, but now I felt flat, empty and fearful. I unpicked these sensations and came across an old foe, my self critic and the pouring of pressure on myself, destroying activities I enjoy to gain external appreciation. My own internal appreciation and enjoyment vanishes as I lose sight of why I do what excites me, replacing my excitement with pressure, fearing how will I live up to my own imagined external expectations.
This battle is ongoing and one I am determined to win, I don’t want to lose my self critic, but I want it to be a friend, not a bully, a way of checking ideas and possibilities, not destroy them. I believe the main way to reduce my self critic’s voice and increase my self esteem, belief and enjoyment in myself, is to encourage myself and celebrate my achievements. After I had clapped myself and shouted come on, I pictured the crowds at the Great North Run, then the atmosphere at the Olympics and the golds Team GB have won so far and the sense of uplift this appears to be providing the country. I realised that this 5miles was my gold today, an achievement worth acknowledging and celebrating, to encourage and nurture my self.
As I pushed on with my run I started thinking I doubt I am alone with this way of attacking myself and missing those moments that nurture me and thought wouldn’t it be great if I could get #MyGoldToday trending on twitter. To celebrate moments that are important to us, that makes us smile, that takes strength, that is that glimpse of light, hope, when wrapped in shadows. When I feel strangled by fear I will explore those negative feelings and this helps. However when I feel positive about myself I let these moments go by without noticing. By doing that I don’t build on them, I don’t have that base when I am struggling. During my struggles the positives aren’t recalled, they are too fleeting and always not good enough. But they are good enough, they are great, and I want to reinforce this feeling. I want to feel good about myself, to love myself. I don’t want to keep battling, I want to enjoy. To do this requires encouragement and I will encourage myself via #MyGoldToday. I hope you will join me.