The past few weeks have been a test of my emotional and mental toughness and I must say that I failed.
When the going got tough, I went for quick wins. I felt sad or tired in the afternoon, so I grabbed a soda and the bubbles filled with the sweet taste of sugar instantly made me feel better.
I felt angry, so I shredded some of my favorite cheddar cheese, spread it on a tortilla and heated it up until melted just perfectly (this was a favorite snack in middle school, too).
I didn’t feel motivated, so I canceled my fitness classes. I set my alarm later and later, skipping run after run.
I wasn’t mad at myself, I felt like I was giving myself exactly what I needed. But in reality, was I?
No, no I wasn’t.
The instant feelings of happiness went away, the happiness that I felt from the quick pleasure of downing some unhealthy food; and yet, the old feelings persevered. They never quite went away, but were simply masked by quick relief.
And now I’m left with the aftermath.
Granted, it’s not that terrible. My pants still fit; I can still run a few miles without feeling like death. But, I can tell that there is a little something that I gained in the past few weeks as I forgot to do what’s supposed to be number one on our lists.
It’s such an easy, and yet such a difficult thing to do. Easy, because we are with ourselves for 24 hours a day. We know ourselves the best and only have insight into that window in our brain for our true emotions, dreams and everything in between.
But so hard, because there’s guilt. Oh, the guilt. Because if you choose yourself, you’re selfish. But if you don’t choose yourself enough, you’re co-dependent.
No matter how you flip the coin, it’s hard.
But I’ve realized, the one way that you can choose you is by taking care of you.
For me, that means getting back on a running schedule. Choosing water over soda. Grabbing an apple instead of making that greasy cheese-covered deliciousness.
But that’s the beauty of failure. For so long, we have told ourselves that failing is the worst thing that you can do. That if you failed, you haven’t succeeded, so what do you have to celebrate?
Oh, so much. Failing means that you tried. Failing means that you challenged yourself to be better. And even if you don’t cross that goal line with exactly what you set out to do, even if you took one little baby step, it’s progress. It’s a step forward to choosing you and the life you want, whether it’s to get in shape, try a new career or moving to a new city.
Because you know what? Nobody else is going to do it. And you can’t be great unless YOU feel great.
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