I have never considered myself one to be pressured by the actions and habits of others. From a young age, I have always been encouraged to stick to my agenda and be myself. However, this summer I was struck with a great sense of self-doubt. I wanted to ignore all the things I loved and made me truly happy; running, my love of fitness and all the crazy adventures in-between.
So, why? Why did I want to stop doing what I loved and what made me unbelievably happy? Looking back, it was only a falter in my self-confidence. Maybe one too many people had given me a questionable look when I explained my upcoming triple Spartan Race weekend or laughed when I mentioned I was looking forward to a morning run. It could have been a bad race photo or even an urge to do what I loved for all the wrong reasons: to be faster, fitter, thinner rather than for the sense of enjoyment and a big dose of endorphins. None of these reasons now constitute reasonable for a summer hiatus, but the month I spent mulling around was necessary for my new self-perception.
In October I spent a weekend adventure racing across Dartmoor, an event most people cannot comprehend. I headed home from that weekend knowing others do have a passion similar to my own, knowing I had bettered myself as a person and with a newly lit fire in my soul for what makes me feel alive. I quickly realised that it doesn’t matter what others think or how anyone else lives their life. This summer I stepped away from all the things that give me my daily dose of happiness and within the month, without running, races and the talk of burpees I was left day-to-day feeling unsatisfied. After the event, I felt as if I had fought off my little self-doubt devils and lifted myself, finding the confidence to continue doing what I know makes me happy rather than fitting myself into line with what I feel others expect to be normal. I even find myself unapologetically telling people I meet more and more of the things I enjoy because it assures me of the confidence I have in myself and might even encourage others to express the enjoyment they find in whatever activity it may be.
A portion of my faltering self-confidence was due to the perception of my lifestyle by others. I now see how extremely important it is to encourage each other to do things we love rather than be full of question and doubt. Let’s be enthusiastic for our friends, family and strangers alike who have discovered something they love because whatever it is, doesn’t matter. What is important is that we live in a world where we can be true to ourselves, without the questioning eyes of others. Find your inner strength, believe in yourself and find the things you love to do. I’m now looking forward to starting 2019 with new concrete confidence in myself and a passion to encourage others, all while filling my calendar with plenty adventure antics surrounded by those who share similar ambitions to my own.