I am constantly amazed as to the power of the mind in convincing ourselves what we are and are not capable of. I witnessed it many times as my children grew and they would rail against my encouragement to try what I knew they were able to do, only to have them filled with amazement when they eventually tried and succeeded. I am very good at identifying what people have the capacity to achieve, but not so good when it comes to my own attempts in life.
I missed out on my regular Parkrun activity last Saturday as I was on a cruise with my sisters, which is a topic in itself for another day. I found myself not looking forward to heading out this past Saturday as I had not had the opportunity to be ‘active’ for almost 2 weeks. I knew it would be a difficult 5km. I found myself saying that I was going to be walking a fair chunk of the track because I didn’t feel like running more than 48 hours before the event.
It came to the morning of Parkrun and I decided to see what would happen if instead of saying that I couldn’t run the whole 5km that I started telling myself that I could. The countdown happened, we set off and I started to run. At the usual points along the way where I found myself saying “I can’t do this” I countered that with “but, I am going to run the whole 5km. You can do it.” I wanted to give up and walk a while at the 1km mark, the 1.5km mark, 2km, the turnaround point … the defeatist attitude kept bubbling to the surface and each time I argued back that I had decided to run and so I would keep going.
Well, before I knew it I was at the 4km point and the self talk changed from “I can’t do this” to “You are almost there, not long now”. While that last kilometre can feel like it lasts forever I know that no matter how tired I am I can always run that last stretch.
As I crossed the finish line and realised my time wasn’t too terrible I have realised that the mind is a very powerful thing, and I do not use it to it’s best advantage. I know that I find it so much easier to believe that I am unable to achieve rather than put in the effort to try. Is this laziness? Is this fear? Potentially yes, and yes, depending on the situation. Fear of failure is a large motivator, but as I tell people over and over, it is far better to try and fail than not to try.
I have been challenged to more critically assess the self talk that tries to convince me that I am not capable, not worthy, not strong. I have proven that I can do it when I put my mind to it, so I am going to strive to become more of the person that God wants me to be. May you do so too.