I haven’t been able to run much lately. First we had a blizzard that made Central Park a slippery place to exercise. At first just walking through the streets meant wearing boots or heavy shoes, not sneakers. Just as the snow melted enough for me to get to the park, we had an intense cold spell, with gusty winds and temps in the teens and twenties. I’ve learned the hard way that if it goes much below 40, running is out. My lungs can’t handle all that deep breathing when it’s so cold.

Over the last few weeks I’ve done more power walking, despite the weather. But I missed my running, so I was delighted when I finally returned to the park recently when the temps went into the 40’s. I almost didn’t go as it had been a long day and I was tired. But, I knew it would rain the next day and then the weather would get much colder. As I entered the park I felt my legs protesting, since I hadn’t run in weeks. I began rationalizing that it would be okay to stop sooner but I kept going.

I also noticed I was going slower than usual as I got my running legs back, since I time myself and know where I am normally at different landmarks. As I said in my post, Everyone Passes Me When I Run, I go slower because I take smaller steps in ways that aren’t as hard on my knees. But on this run, I was even slower since I was out of practice. It made me a bit frustrated at first. But then I reminded myself that I just began running 4 years ago, when going 30 seconds without stopping was an accomplishment. Now I ran long stretches.

As I finished, slower than usual and slower than the other runners, I glowed with pride! I mean glowed!

I know that other people in my sneakers would be beating themselves up for not going faster. But I’m evolved enough to know that pride means feeling good about myself. And I did. My pride has NOTHING to do with anyone else’s accomplishments. It’s common to compare yourself to others and judge yourself by the light of what they do or have. That’s a good way to keep your self-esteem lower than necessary. Even though I was probably the slowest runner in Central Park that night, in my own mind I was awesome!

Pride at each baby step you take builds your confidence and stokes you to do more things to be proud of.

I could have lamented about how slow I was going as I ran and not seen the accomplishment of pushing myself to just finish. My brain argued with itself. With each hill I rationalized that it was okay if I wanted to cut the run short since it was my first time in a while. I was tired faster. And hungry. But I kept going, albeit slowly, with pride in persevering. It didn’t matter if I went slower than usual, I went!

Accomplishments are individual to you. What someone else does should not dampen pride in what you do.

I hear people downplaying things they did since someone they know did it better or more. Your promotion is something to be proud of, even if your sister got a bigger one! Your 5 pounds lost is a great accomplishment, even if your friend lost 10, or you want to lose 15 more. What matters is what YOU do now and the pride you feel about it. Not you being better than someone else! YOUR pride.

Pride is a wonderful motivator!

Thursday night it was 39 degrees when I finally came up for air from my computer at 5:30 and remembered I hoped to run. I listened to the weather forecast, which warned the temps would be dropping quickly as the wind picked up. That didn’t help motivate me to go to Central Park. I had a good excuse to skip the run, but, the weather forecast also said it would only be in the mid twenties for the next days and then only in the low to mid thirties. So if I didn’t go, it would be over a week till I could go again.

Remembering the pride I’d felt a few days earlier motivated me to go, despite the cold.

And I did! It was cold at first since I only wear a cotton tee and a fleece to run. It pushed me to go faster and I quickly warmed up. I gave myself permission to do a shorter run. But remembering this was the last time for a while AND the pride of finishing, pushed me to do a full one. As I ran the last leg out of Central Park, I had a huge smile from the pride I felt. This time I didn’t notice people passing me as I ran slower. There were very few runners braving the cold so that in itself made me proud. Thinking about it still makes me feel good!

Own whatever small accomplishment you have with pride—not because you surpassed someone else—just for having done something.

If you deny yourself pride, you also deny your self-esteem. As a DoorMat, I downplayed everything I did. Now I look for things to appreciate about me. Pride is definitely an important component for improving your self-esteem. That doesn’t mean bragging. Just own your good stuff! Create a pride list. Look for things you can feel proud of. Write them down and read them regularly to remind yourself of how wonderful you are.

DoorMats don’t allow themselves to appreciate their good qualities and accomplishments. But YOU can. Then you’ll reap the rewards of feeling good about you. Living outside of Doormatville is a wonderful place to be! Pride can help you get there.

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