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Things I Believed in 2019

P.S. - I still do.

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Stop comparing yourself to others

I consistently catch myself comparing myself to my competition. I know we’re all different. We’re built differently. We have unique backgrounds and varying things going on in our lives.

We’re all gifted with distinct talents and plagued by a variety of weaknesses. Our training, diets, jobs, sleep schedules, body types, bikes, thoughts, and support systems are all exclusive to us.

Nothing I have in my life is the exact same as anyone who toes the line with me.

The only person to compare yourself to is a previous version of you. Strive to be better, faster, kinder, stronger than you were yesterday. Then you’ll always be successful.

Goals are like a mountain

1. There isn’t a direct path to conquer them.

2. Often the route you choose isn’t the easiest. You have to be willing to take a few steps back in order to continue forward.

3. You’ll see how much farther you have to go and want to give up.

4. Having friends or family by your side makes it more enjoyable.

5. When you reach the top, you’ll see all the other possibilities across the horizon.

Life is made up of small moments

When I’m feeling down, I focus on the little things that bring me a modicum of joy.

Things like:

•The first sip of coffee

•The silence between cars passing by

•Reading & walking through the cemetery

•The smell of incense wafting through the house

•Stretching my arms above my head & feeling my sides elongate

•An encouraging word

Start taking note of the times that bring about a smile, a feeling of peace, and hope. They’re there & sometimes they’re difficult to find in the darkness.

Sometimes we expect that joy can only come from the grandiose, the big wins, the ultimates, but that isn’t life. Our lives are built from small moments that add up over time.

Don’t go through life alone

One morning I spent 2 1/2 hours answering my teammate’s question, “So, how are you personally?” She invited me to breakfast over the weekend after acknowledging that I seemed down lately. She wanted to help me with my writing goals. I suck at asking for help. I don’t want to burden people. I don’t want to be a nuisance. I want to come across as having it together.

I didn’t think I had so much pent up emotion, but at one point, with a bite-sized piece of sourdough bread pinched between my fingers, I couldn’t hold back tears anymore.

Sometimes I hide my hurt really well and sometimes, it leaks out over my vegetable hash.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like they need to be strong and independent and believe that asking for help is a sign of “weakness.”

There are people who randomly appear in your life who want to see you succeed and that it’s okay to be vulnerable with these folks. It’s okay to take their advice and listen to them and cry.

The next time you’re faced with an unknown, give yourself permission to feel your emotions fully and to accept other people’s help. We don’t have to go through life alone.

You don’t have to earn your food

The other night I felt like I had to earn my food.

My legs were sore and my knees were bothering me. I didn’t want to do leg day, even if it was just bodyweight.

But I had an overwhelming feeling of guilt that if I didn’t do it, I couldn’t eat dinner that night.

I went back and forth the whole drive home whether or not to workout. When I realized it was because I had this mentality that in order to eat I had to burn calories first, I decided I was eating dinner and giving my legs a break instead.

I’ve been working on my diet and finding foods that make me feel good and that give me energy instead of considering them “good” or “bad.” Because really, society has come up with “good” and “bad” labels when food doesn’t really have a moral compass.

We need food to sustain our lives. There are choices that support our health and there are some that don’t. But nowhere is there a law that says, “In order to eat, you must force yourself through a workout.” We train in order to get stronger, not so we can munch on a donut without feeling “guilty.” We eat foods that make us feel good and energized and strong, not the opposite.

Failure is a learning opportunity

I’m a Type A perfectionist. If I don’t do something to my unruly standards, I usually think I’m shit. I’m a failure. It’s something I struggle with every day.

Perfectionism is not healthy nor is it conducive to becoming better at anything. I’ve been working on focusing on progress over perfection.

How do I compare to an earlier version on myself?

How am I improving as a human?

How can I take this perceived failure and turn it into a learning opportunity?

Easier said than done, I know. I start little.

I hate being fearful. I don’t want fear to control me. I want to constantly challenge my comfort zone.

Next time you’re faced with something uncomfortable, you’ll meet it head-on. You can step out of your comfort zone, even for something minor, because that too, will help it grow.

Remember that we’re all suffering

Everyone in this world suffers. From a multitude of things: depression, anxiety, illness, stress, personal and professional relationships, athletics, school, what have you.

The cyclist who beat you is suffering.

The jerk boss is suffering.

The person who cut you off on the highway is suffering.

The jerk who continually nitpicks you is suffering.

Your family members are suffering.

Your friends are suffering.

We sometimes believe we’re suffering alone and it is easy to feel like that when being real can be too much for some people. And those that can’t handle you bearing yourself to them aren’t your people.

If you do anything today, make it this: remember that everyone’s fighting some internal battle.

Before you throw judgment or act like an ugly human being, think about what it’s like in their shoes. Imagine what they may be going through in their life.

Be kind.

Be understanding.

And don’t be a jerk.

Nothing in life is guaranteed

We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow or even the next minute. We aren’t guaranteed our jobs because those ends, businesses close, people are jerks. Even if you perform well, you could still get told to kick rocks. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed in life, except for death and taxes.

If you always play it safe, what kind of life is that? At the end of the day and at the end of our lives, how are we truly living? Are we just surviving? Are we thriving? Are we doing what we most desperately want to do?


Don’t take it personally

Why is it so hard to not take things personally? Most of us aren’t narcissists (we think) but when someone does or says something to us, we feel personally attacked. 

Don Miguel Ruiz says, “You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said.”

When we take something personally, we get trapped in a kind of hell, what Ruiz calls “personal importance.” Personal importance is the utmost expression of selfishness because it means we think the world revolves around us.

He tells us that nothing other people do has anything to do with you. They’re living in their own experience, seeing the world in a different lense from you. If someone tries to insult/disrespect/hurt (even compliment) you, you can’t take it personally. It’s their “emotional garbage” they’re trying to spread to you. If you take it personally, you become infected with their “garbage,” or “poison.”

It works the same way with ourselves. We treat people and act in a certain way based on our agreements with reality. It really isn’t about that person, it’s everything about us. The way we talk to and about others; the way we treat others. Ruiz even says we can’t take what we say to ourselves personally.

Ruiz says, “Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.” We aren’t responsible for others’ actions. We’re only responsible for ourselves. We can choose to ingest others’ poison, creating our own hell, or we can choose to reject it.

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