Where have I been?
It’s been mighty quiet round these parts lately. So has my running. What’s been going on? Well, I’ve had a mighty difficult time lately. Life’s burden’s became too much. In this post, I’m going to talk about what happened and how I’ve learned not to feel guilty about not running.
Life’s balancing act & the Demon of Doubt
Like the myth of Atlas , anyone can feel weighed down by life. Each one of us carries our own loads – family, work, bills; even our hobbies and interests can help weigh us down. Why does this happen? Speaking for myself, it’s because of the wee Demon of Doubt. He’s the evil looking red chap sitting on the Anvil of Bills.
Lately, I’ve once again been struggling with some emotional issues. The long and short of it is I’ve gotten myself into a tricky situation. I made some decisions that haven’t worked out. I tried and failed. And that’s OK – I don’t mind if I fail as long as I learn a lesson!
What’s been difficult has been coming to terms with my mistake. In fact, the big problem was my confidence had been knocked, badly, and doubt crept in.
The Demon of Doubt attacked me as I struggled with these issues. It meant my emotions were sucking up all of my spare energy, leaving me unmotivated to do anything outside bare-minimum-keeping-my-act-together. As my drawing shows, I let the exercise package fall from my balancing act – while I tried to fight my doubts.
Emotional Burdens & Energy
I think that, given what we have to do in our daily lives, we only have so much energy to go round. Some of this energy we have to spend at work, devoted to our families and generally keeping our acts together. Other energy is discretional – that is we can choose to spend it how we wish. In my case, it’s hobbies like running and blogging about my running. Sometimes though our overall energy budget gets blown by our emotions – especially fear caused by doubts. This means there isn’t enough left in the kitty to do other stuff – like running.
These last six months have been some of the most difficult of my life. My spare energy was devoted to the emotional burden of coming to terms with my mistakes. Until two-weeks, I was still struggling to come to terms with the enormity of this mistake. However, a good friend came to visit and gave some advice. It stung like hell at the time but only because the truth hurt. So, having had new perspective on things, I’ve come to terms with things and finished processing my emotional burden. This means I’ve found energy to return to my hobbies.
Importance of dealing with emotional burdens
Looking back, a big hinderance to my life has been self-doubt and fear. This leads me to procrastination and that means I never move forward as I should. The problems of the last few months have led me to understand this and to also stop feeling guilty when my life doesn’t pan out as I feel it should. I’ve touched on my control freak tendencies before . I feel now they are partly generated from a place of fear and doubt.
In the past, when I’ve let my running slide, I’ve felt very guilty about it. Often, the running goes when I’m processing high emotional burdens or simply too busy. As I’m not running, I get more and more guilty and then, as the emotional burden increases, I get more and more guilty about not running and feeling guilty. And then the training regime collapses.
This time was different.
The last month, I decided to face down my emotional difficulties. With my friend’s help, I came to a decision about my life. With the help of my therapist, I’ve come to understand myself a bit better and what my triggers are. I still have a long road to go to full recovery. At least I now have a map.
Dealing with this emotional burden of my problems meant I didn’t run as much as I would like. But I don’t feel guilty anymore. My energy had to be taken up by dealing with my stuff and, short term, that meant choosing not to run as I needed the time to get my head right.
Slaying the demon of doubt
I have been really doubting myself these last few months. Partly, it’s because of the stuff in my head, partly because of the situation I am in and partly from the feeling of being trapped. New Zealand is a long way from the UK. This meant my doubts made my fear making a decision – from a fear of making things worse; of having to face up to my mistake and the embarrassment of having to admit I was conned.
How did I kill my doubts? Well, professional therapy helped. It gave me a safe-space to talk about what was on my mind. This meant I could process my thoughts and feelings without having to worry about someone’s reaction. Secondly, I slowly came to see that, while I am not blameless for my choice, I can’t control all the consequences. I can’t control the bullys at work, the lies and the wider situation making it a horrible place to work. While my doubts made me fear changing this situation, eventually my friend was able to give me the needed nudge to make a change.
I overcame my doubts about the situation, fought my way through my depressed state and have finally found the courage to move on. And I did it with some good help and determination to keep on going. It takes time and a lot of energy and pain, which is why I had to let somethings slide.
Not feeling guilt from not running is liberating
Although I haven’t completely abandoned my running, I’ve not kept to anything like a training schedule. I’ve maybe managed 12 runs in 30 days. Enough to keep some basic fitness but probably not to get to my goal of a BMQ. And that’s OK. I’ve had other priorities – getting my head straight – and have come to understand myself better. I haven’t got unlimited energy and that’s OK. I’m me and accepting I’m not perfect has meant I don’t feel guilt about not running.
What that means is when I have run, I’ve just run for the sake of it. Not to try and make up for lost training. That’s a wonderful feeling – running for it’s own sake and that’s helped me feel better.
So, not running is OK. Life’s burdensome and sometimes we have to prioritise our energy expenditure. As long as we are a bit gentle with ourselves – compassionate but dedicated to getting back into running, then there’s no reason to feel guilty about not running.
Because we all just have to Keep on Going.