It’s really easy to feel miserable as an artist or a visionary. To work in a profession where you constantly have to face yourself, confront your fears and anxieties and deal with doubt. A whole lot of it too. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done what you’ve done, or how good you are at what you do, or how much praise you get, the minute you start a new project or a new adventure of sorts, you tend to feel incapable. If you could you would pluck petals daily on a constant search for reassurance: yes-I-can / no-I-can’t / yes-I-can… you know, the gloomier self-detrimental version of s/he loves me, s/he loves me not. Since we are in a vulnerable state when we start a project, or for some of us, all through it, if that last petal is a no-I-can’t our world will end as we painfully try to get through the day.
Boosting your self-confidence as one of these artists or visionaries is no easy task but we all need a boost once in awhile.
Yesterday, my sneaky sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to go running. She’s running a half-marathon in september and I signed up for an 8-Kilometer (5 miles) Run the same month. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go running. I hadn’t slept well the night before, I hadn’t eaten all my healthy daily intakes (it was Sunday after all), but mostly I’m not a runner and I know it, or I’ve always told myself. I’ve started running for health reasons. Back, foot, cardiovascular activity. The doctor told me last month that I needed to strengthen muscles and move as much as possible if I wanted to prevent unwanted health problems in the future. As a writer, my days are spent sitting down. So I started running. It’s inexpensive and you can do it anywhere. I finished my first 5K run and it felt nice, so I started running some more.
A hesitated a bit when she asked, but then thought, oh what the heck. Maybe it really does help to run with someone. I did warn her though: I can’t do more than 5 Kilometers (period) and especially not tonight. Yes, tonight. It was already 9pm. I never ran at night because I always thought (though I have no proof to back up my thought) but I always thought I would be too tired and never really make it, after all I made myself believe just that. So I always run in the morning.
There we were. 9pm on a Sunday night. We turned our apps on, to keep track of our progress, and as soon as we hit the Nymphenburg Canal, she challenged me to a 10K. What? Yes you read right. A 10K. Just like that, like it wasn’t a big deal. I tried to squirm out of it, I gave her many reasons why I couldn’t do it, including the fact that I’d never done it, not once my entire life. The problem is, she’s a very good motivator and she’s got a very reassuring tone in her voice. At first she said we could walk if I felt the need to, we could stop if I thought I had to, and so on and so forth, but then she kept the motivation up so that none of that would actually happen. Sneaky. We didn’t walk once and we didn’t quit until we reached the 10K mark.
I ran a freaking 10K.
I woke up happy today. I’m not tired, I’m not doubting, I’m tackling a rewrite of a screenplay with a smile on my face and I don’t even feel overwhelmed (!) all thanks to beating my own odds last night and running for the first time 10 Kilometers, something I was convinced I couldn’t do on a whim.
Thank You Maria for showing me that even under imperfect conditions, if you tell yourself you can do it, you will.
In the end you’ve got the power to switch your brain to think positive under any circumstance. That’s what I learned yesterday. If you only think negative you live in a perpetual state of longing. Longing for a future that never arrives or a past that will never be. It’s a trap. If you think positive you live in the present. Running has a beginning, a middle and a goal-oriented end. So you see and feel your progress and accomplishment immediately. Maybe that’s why it’s a good activity to learn what my husband has been telling me for quite some time now: think positive and the rest will follow.
So if you need a boost of self-confidence or learn how to think positive, pick an activity you are sure you can’t do, you vow you won’t make it to the finish line, you think you suck at, you’ll suffer if you try it, and do it.
You may just end up with a smile on your face and a good day ahead of you.