Thursday, April 11, 2013

Finding You

Wouldn't it be an amazing and refreshing world, if everyone was comfortable in their own skin?  But unfortunately it's human nature to look down at others, to make us feel better about ourselves.  We tend to spend our entire lives in a continuous state of "Yea for my side"!  My school, my church, my country, my state, my team, my child, heck we even get down to my stuff.  We feel that we have to have something or belong to a group that defines us.  I'm worthy because I'm a..... or I own.... or I'm a can fill in the blanks.  Or even worse I'm better because I'm not a.....and you are.  But does it have to be this way?

Most people can tell you what's wrong with somebody else, or what "they" need to change.  But when you ask that same person who they are then they will start telling you which groups they identify with.  I'm an American, I'm a Christian, I'm an accountant, I'm a Republican.  Now there is nothing wrong with being any of those things but those are groups to which we belong they are not who we are.  Most of us just have never put effort into self discovery.

All can never truly be right with our world until we do solve that riddle.  We have to strip off those layers to find the person inside.  This country used to have a military draft law.  When you reached the age of 18 you were subject to being called to serve in the army.  It didn't matter if you believed in the current war or not, if you were called then you were going to war unless you could prove a good reason why you shouldn't.  I'm not going to dwell on debating whether that was a good or a bad idea but it did change the people that were affected by it.

What if we had another type of draft, a requirement that you had to go somewhere and train to do a marathon.  Not just any marathon but one where people from all over the world would be serving their requirement as well.  A marathon where there were no awards but a finisher's medal that was your right of passage into adult hood.  You had to produce your medal to get a job, a marriage license or any of the other adult stuff.  During the training and then the marathon, you would learn a lot about who you are and about how much all of us on this planet are more alike than different.

Those that have done long distance events will tell you that there comes a point where you have to meet 'you' and find out what you are capable of.  You discover the courage that is in you, courage that you may not have known about.  You will find that you can put one foot in front of the other even after you think you have nothing left.  You will also see that everyone around you is locked in their own battle with the distance.

When you start your own journey, to better health, self discovery is a part of that path.  You will never know true health and fitness until you learn who you are and become at peace with who you are.  I applied for a position in the Air Force and one of the requirements was an evaluation by a psychologist.  One of the questions I was asked was how comfortable I was with being alone for long periods of time.  I explained that I was a long distance runner and an endurance athlete.  It seems that most people can't handle being cut off from their identity groups.  Being alone, for long periods of time, with just your own thoughts and company, is stressful for most people.

Becoming acquainted with yourself is one of the biggest steps you can take to better health.  Learn, your strengths and weaknesses.  Learn what your morals are, your limits, learn what is really important to you.  Only through self discovery can you come to know that you are more than the money you have in the bank, the size of your waist line or the groups you belong to.  Next time you go for your long slow distance training strip off the layers and see who you find, you might just come away with a whole new respect for the unique and amazing person you are.

Thanks for reading.


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