Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Battling my Insecurities

I think most people probably describe me as confident and sure of myself, and that may be true, certainly in some circumstances, but it doesn't always feel that way. I think that because I did so much acting when I was younger and learned to present so much in college, I look comfortable in front of a crowd, and I am. Yet we all have insecurities, and nobody likes their own. Who can explain their own insecurities anyway?

I'm writing this Monday night, and I didn't run today. You must understand, I take maybe 30 days off of running a year (when I am not on an 8000 meter expedition), and when I am in high volume training and uninjured, it's hardest to take a day off. It is a chasing numbers game, I am often chasing mileage goals. It's ridiculous. I mean it's not strictly productive the same way quality running is. It has gotten me injured in the past. Yet having 100 miles in a week or 400 miles in a month is a big mental reward.

Insecurities are a strange thing. We try to run every day because we are afraid that taking one day off, one needed day of recovery, will be a setback. We act smart because we are afraid that if people knew how little we know they would not respect us as much. We act fine being single because we don't want to be that desperate guy and because we are afraid we will be alone our whole life. Insecurities are based on our fears. Fears are an interesting topic.

Running is so convenient to talk about because it is so simple. I can easily say that I am afraid of growing old, I am afraid of not achieving the goals I have publicly announced, I am afraid that I have been given this aerobic gift and this body and I won't use it, when others do not even have the chance to do the physical things I do. So those are some fears. Admittedly, none of them are a really big deal. I mean, one day my running will no longer be like it is now, and the world won't end. Talking about relationships or engineering are much more difficult because the insecurities are even greater. I mean, when I was unemployed for the first three months of 2010, I gave myself back pain so bad two doctors thought I had kidney stones. How much do I care about engineering? I gave myself back pain when I wasn't offered an opportunity to practice it.

Maybe battling is a strong word. Yet there is a tension between what we do and what we fear, between running and taking a day off, between engineering and not engineering. I think, and I don't have the answer so feel free to argue, that while insecurities are not something we like, they keep us honest. We all have insecurities and those vulnerabilities are part of what helps us connect with others. If nothing else it is our weaknesses, of mind or body, and not our strengths where we open ourselves to connection.

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