I don't know why, but I grew up with very low self-esteem. As a young child, I was a leader and had no issues with confidence, but once I hit adolescence, my self-esteem went into the toilet. There is no single incident that comes to mind that triggered my loss of confidence. But it was like someone flipped a switch. Instead of being popular, I didn't fit in anymore. I was a late bloomer, awkward, and clueless about social skills. I wrote about this last year on the blog, so there's no need to recap it here. Just to show you how much better I feel about myself now, on that post, there's a picture of me at age 13 in all my awkward geekiness. You'll have to click on the link to see it, though. Posting it once was enough!
How does running help with self-confidence?
I can do hard things. Pushing out of your comfort zone does not feel good. But knowing that you can push yourself hard--maybe even run a marathon--makes you feel mentally tough. Raising teenagers, seeing 27 patients in a day--those activities for me can be as mentally challenging as running a marathon. My ability to push myself on the road through those tough miles makes me confident that I can handle anything life throws my way.
Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment--Thomas Carlyle. Every run you complete, every finish line you cross gives you a sense of accomplishment. You don't quit on your training or a race, and that helps you persevere through a tough day, a stressful job, a life challenge. Even though you might want to quit. There's no glory in a DNF or a DNS. That applies off the road as well. You know the old saying...winners never quit and quitters never win....
Average people have wishes and hopes. Confident people have goals and plans. I read once somewhere that runners make good employees. We set goals, we follow a plan, and we meet those goals. As a long distance runner, you are most likely goal oriented and have the confidence that you have the ability to follow through on a plan.
I can and I will. The sports medicine doctor that I work with says runners make the worst patients to treat because we are used to pushing through the pain, be it pathologic pain due to injury or the discomfort of running a tough race. While it's never wise to push through injury, that can-do attitude translates off the road to never taking no for an answer. Can't isn't a word in a runner's vocabulary. It's not in mine because my coach makes me do burpees when I use it.
Self-confidence is the best outfit. Rock it and own it. When you feel good about yourself, it shows. Confident people are attractive people. Would you rather talk to someone who holds their head high with their shoulders back or someone slumped over who won't make eye contact with you? I'm always amazed by the differences in the teenagers I see in the clinic. Some are quite charismatic. They look me in the eye when I talk to them and freely share their goals and dreams. Others won't look at me and mumble responses to my questions. These are the kids that break my heart. I want to take out them to the road and introduce them to the magic of running.
Yeah, running is hard. But can you think of any other activity that gives you so much more than physical benefits? I'm so grateful for what running has done for me. I'm a better person because I'm a runner.
On and off the road.
Has running helped your self-confidence? What intangible benefits have you gained from being a runner?
I'm linking up today with DebRuns. She hosts Wednesday Word and today's prompt was confident. Be sure to see what all the other bloggers have to say about this word.