No wonder my heart has been so burdened. No wonder I've been fatigued, dreaded and heavy in my spirit. I wasn't being myself, but I have been relentlessly trying to be like others.
Around me, there are some seriously strong riders. They can do super hilly and long distance rides whenever they decide to, and even do so two days in a row, and suffer no consequences other than the expected soreness. I, know from experience, that I have to go by the gradual progression of adding mileage and hills in order to get to a certain point. If not, the consequences would be (and have been) dire.
When I was training for the Gran Fondo LA (6/26), I had that sudden right foot injury after my first 65 mile/hilly ride. Since then my foot (actually both feet at this point) have never been the same. Some of my friends were able to go on another long and even hillier ride the next day. And they boasted that the post-ride soreness was actually minimal. Wow - envy.
Last weekend while I was still trying to ramp back up from the injury, another friend of mine did 80 miles and thought even that wasn't enough for the Vineman Aquabike race (Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles) coming up, so wanted to 90 miles this morning. I couldn't even do 40 miles last week because of my foot. I knew I had no choice and I was ok with it, until I compared myself to my friends. Discouragement. Feeling kinda like a loser.
So, with my ego bruised, I told my friend that I'd do the 90 mile ride with her, as a pathetic attempt to redeem myself. And the ride is today. I have been up since 445am, getting geared up and ready. It's 607am right now. What am I doing writing this?
I crumbled. I had to admit, after all the pondering, wondering and getting frustrated - that my heart is not in the right place. That is the reason for all the internal fighting. Usually, rides like this excite me, and I'm all pumped up for it. Today, my heart is just NOT in it - not because I don't like riding anymore, not because I want to quit, but because for a while now I have been driven by my ego and envy, but not my heart. Where is my hope? Why am I doing this? Didn't I say I'd do 90 miles because I wanted to feel better about myself? Because I wanted to feel less like a loser compared to my friends who have been ramping up faster than I have?
Comparing myself to others... is a dangerous motivator. In fact, it is not a motivator - it is a source of discouragement and self degradation, ending up in both mental and physical fatigue. I'm not rationally thinking about my physical status and what I can do given the reality, which actually results in going beyond my perceived limits. Instead, I'm looking at others, wanting to be like others, then discovering how I am NOT like others, then just shutting myself away from achieving any untapped potential whatsoever - because then I am no longer driven by my heart, but my ego. Such a tremendous attempt at one's best can never come from ego or envy. It really is the heart that comes from the bigger purpose of the action itself, which, to me, is to share with YOU that we can do things, and that we are not victims. I didn't think of YOU, but I thought of ME, comparing myself with people who are not me, and definitely not like you and me.
As a result, I have fallen victim to my own ego that just kept feeling bad for not being like others. Is there a worse kind of failure than this?
Such is the fight against our pain. This fight, has to be a positive, heart-driven fight. In every step we make, we must rather feel the JOY of improvement and excitement for new experiences, not the feeling of not being good enough because some are doing better than others. I hope that I did not discourage some of you via my recent efforts. I only say this because I have been so focusing on my achievements, not the process. So if you're walking around the block and you read about me bragging about my 65 miles ride without the context behind it, then how would that make you feel? I apologize for that!
It's 630am. I am going to go on my own ride, at the pace I want and to the length of time I feel comfortable with. Then maybe I will go for a run - at my pace, up to my desired distance. And be grateful for what I can do, and who I am. By comparing myself to others over the past couple of months, I have rejected myself. No wonder I wasn't enjoying this process - I wasn't even enjoying my own body!
Let's just accept myself, and remember that only I can be me, and that I am unique, and I have everything I need to be who I am...and just keep improving from where I am. That is gratitude, and when you are at peace with that, God pours us with more blessings to our open and available hearts going forward.