Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mythology Revisited

I've been thinkin'. (oh-oh, you say, here we go again!). I've been thinking about the lies I've been telling myself. And the lies you've been telling yourself. A few posts back I mused about "debunking the myths I made up about myself." I'm coming to believe more and more that this is the core purpose of training for me - and perhaps even for my being here on this planet.

One Big Lie: I'm slow. Now, I'm not talking about recognizing your limitations - that's a good thing, it guides you to the places you'd like to improve and helps motivate you to push forward - IF you believe you can overcome those limitations. I'm talking about the labels we give ourselves - the ones we tattoo on our brains until they become our inescapable truths. Well guess what, people, the "truths" we've been relying on to keep ourselves in our place are LIES. I'm not slow. This is a heart stopping shock to me - I've believed for years that Slow defined my athletic ability, that it was a "truth" I'd just have to accept and move on. Sure, I did speed work and hill work but I knew that the inescapable fact was that I Was Slow. Total, Absolute Lie.

I was comparing my 5k time (which I understand was not stellar, by any means - I still have a long way to go and I will probably never be "elite", there's my caveat) to other women my age in the St. Louis area. You know what, small race or not, I'm in the "above average" category. That's not slow. That's above average.

Now, I'm actually not going on and on about this to toot my own horn (which isn't really a bad thing in and of itself) or to boast or even to say "Yeah, me!" It just hit me that if I've been laboring under these delusions about myself, then a lot of other people probably are too. After all, humans are probably more alike than different when you get down to it. And I want us all to Stop It! Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it an excuse we give ourselves for not trying our best to fulfill our greatest potential? Is it because, deep down, we've been convinced that we shouldn't think too awfully much of ourselves? What?

Whatever the reason, we are robbing ourselves and the human race as a whole by denying our magnificence and lying our way into mediocrity. We owe the world our best. And all of us are, in our unique and varied ways, magnificent. Sure, we all have our talents and shortcomings, we all have warts and imperfections and things we're ashamed of. But, we come into this world with enough of those things - we don't need to invent more. So, I'm challenging all of you to just quit it. Start challenging the labels you've given yourself. Start asking yourself where they came from. Start letting go of that destructive mythology. Life is hard enough. Embrace your magnificence, people, and quit the bullshit!

Lecture over. Go out there and kick some ass.

7 comments:

Vickie said...

Wow! What a challenge! No more excuses of being slow! I do however have a comparison, from the days when I was fast. So right now, I am slow--compared to what I used to be or maybe compared to the pros, but then who isn't there? Slow for me doesn't mean not trying to get faster though. But slow can become a permanent state of mind for maybe not trying, or maybe comparing yourself to someone out of your league, or maybe as an excuse for not measuring up in your own eyes. What others think is probably quite different.

Curly Su said...

exactly! great post...

jeanne said...

great post! and i swear you and curly su are in cahoots on your posting! with her "I'm the best!" and your "I'm fast!" (I like that better than I'm not slow), I got me some thinkin' to do!

thanks!

Phoenix said...

Great minds . . .

Flo said...

Wow, good post and too true. The things we say to ourselves are incredibly powerful and become a fact before we know it.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

OK, this post actually scares me a little.

I'm still working on the why. Perhaps it is because I refuse to embrace my magnificence because I'm superstitious, or (most likely) because I'm afraid of looking stupid in the process.

either way, I'm processing.

21stCenturyMom said...

This is so true. Between and Curly Su I have to reformulate all of my mental messages about myself. Talk about a workout!