This morning, I watched some TED videos, surfed Facebook and spent some quality time with my husband. I was explaining to him, with tear filled eyes, how touched I was by a few people who have recently told me I matter to them. They call me “inspiring” for being me. For doing what I love. For trying to eat more healthy than unhealthy, aiming to be kind and taking care of myself the best I can each day. He told me I should write about it so here I am…
Last Sunday, I heard a speaker John Cacioppo share the results of his research on loneliness. He shared that it isn’t a ‘disease’ or a ‘condition’, it’s a survival mechanism for social species. The same way hunger motivates us to eat and thirst motivates us to drink, loneliness is natural response to motivate us to do something different to meet our social needs. His speech spoke to me. Most of my life I have been extremely lonely, no matter how many people were around. The majority of my time has been spent in “survival mode”, watching for the next thing that is going to ‘get me’ and feeling like if I did not watch out for myself, no one else would. It was comforting to learn that was not a defect in me but a instinctual response as a social creature in a particular environment. I am human.
It is only recently, the last few years, that I have begun to feel part of society. This year, I attempted to mentor others in running and it wasn’t as much about my race, my time, my fitness as it was their’s. By doing so, I am feeling like I belong. They are motivating me and encouraging me in ways beyond words. I am extremely grateful for the experience.
I default to thinking about all the things that I don’t do well, all my shortcomings. I project a positive outlook because every day is battle against negativity. I am practicing acknowledging the heartbreaks, disappointments, anger, I feel without letting any of that own me. It’s not easy. Simple, but not easy…
I have not maintained my diet or exercise perfectly. My body composition is not exactly where I want it to be at the moment. However, I am healthy. I was able to go 18 miles last Saturday, injury free. People are different. My body has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to me. My husband has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to him. Everyone has a place. Everyone deserves to belong.
The scripture about not comparing yourself to others means more and more to me all the time (Galatains 6:3-5… “If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. Do your own work well and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself to others. We each much carry our own load.”).
I am on my own journey but I am not alone.
John’s Cacioppo’s TEDx talk can be found here. I highly recommend watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0&feature=youtu.be