Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’ve always been running in Central Park for just a few years. I’ve always been a power walker but stepped it up a notch when my metabolism began to slow down. I enjoy it a lot. When I began, it was just running a few yards to add some juice to my walks. That was all I could do. A whole minute running was a success 4 years ago. I challenged myself to run a little further each time and my legs got stronger. I admit that I get jazzed knowing I run most of the time now.

While exercise is important, it’s just as important to respect and care for your body.

Many people injure their knees from running and I’ve been warned about it. So when I run, I try to be careful. My tendons behind the knee get tight. Stopping to stretch a few times helps that. I take glucosamine and chondroitin to keep them lubricated and to maintain the cartilage. I’m also conscious of my technique as I run. I began watching the other runners and noticed that most took long strides. I tried that too, since otherwise they all ran past me. But I noticed my knee tendons got tighter as I did.

I decided that my body health was more important than what others thought!

Then I read an article about ChiRunning , a technique that allows you to run in a way that eases the impact on the body. Instead of taking long strides, I take shorter steps and keep my feet just above the ground, kind of rolling from foot to foot. So I go slower and other runners whiz by me. In my insecure days, that would have bothered me. I always worried about what people thought. Now my well-being comes first!

Most strangers don’t give a hoot about what you’re doing, as long as it doesn’t affect them.

The insecure Daylle would have pushed herself to speed up to maintain an image. But this secure one knows that what’s best for my body is the significant issue. I don’t have to make a good impression on people in the park I don’t know. What’s most important is that I am running! People have told me they failed to do something innocuous because they were in public and didn’t want to do it in front of others, like reading a trashy novel, eating something fattening on the train, even smiling! So they deprive themselves to avoid possible scorn by strangers who don’t care.

Even if people notice something you’re doing, you’ll be history in their memory seconds after you’re not around.

As I run, EVERYONE passes me now. There’s rarely someone I can keep up with in terms of going fast. But, I realized that I take a lot more steps than most people and am sort of going faster on some levels. I’m just taking shorter steps, so I don’t seem to go as fast. Others extend their legs, or are much taller than me so they make more progress because each step they take is longer. It feels great to be secure enough to not care that I’m probably the slowest runner in Central Park. Their knees will probably give out faster than mine!

Insecure people always worry that someone will notice them. Secure people don’t care!

Next time you’re worrying about being judged by someone in the line at a store, when you’re at the gym, or anywhere else that makes you self-conscious, remember that the most important thing is to be true to your own needs and what’s best for you. I could run faster but instead put my well-being first and focus on the joy of knowing that I am running. Period. DoorMats try to mimic what they think is the “right way.” Or they give up on an activity that they don’t do as well as others. Years ago, I’d have been too self-conscious to run since I couldn’t have handled being slower. Now I run with pride that I’m doing it.

Making what you do more important than what a stranger might think of you gives you more freedom to be YOU. That’s a priceless gift to self!

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