The alarm goes off, we rush to make coffee, get kids’ lunches prepared, brush teeth, get dressed, check email, Instagram, Facebook. Oh no! We’re late! Get kids dressed and cleaned, feed the animals, check off the “to-do” list, rush, rush, rush! And all of this continues through the day and into the night.
Doesn’t it seem like life is busier than ever?
There are more problems, more “things,” more everything to suck the hours out of our day and keep us completely frenzied. We are so distracted by modern life that sometimes it feels impossible to pause, relax, take a deep breath, and LISTEN. But, it is the one thing we need now more than ever.
Lately, when I am out on a nice, easy run, this phrase keeps popping into my head: “Are you listening?” I am not talking about being a good listener when people are talking to you – although this is extremely important as well – no, I am talking about something even more difficult to hear. The very subtle and soft voice, that if you are too busy completing “to-do” lists and filling the space with unnecessary chatter and busy work, will go unnoticed and shoved aside. I am talking about YOU. Are you listening to yourself, your inner voice? Are you trusting your feelings?
We are taught from a very early age to ignore our feelings. Our well intentioned parents (I’ve done this many times with my own children) often say things like, “You’ll be OK”, “Stop crying”, “It’s not that bad”, “Just try to make it work”, or “Get over it.” After years of this approach, the process of trusting ourselves dissolves. We lose our ability to know if something truly hurts, so we start to blame ourselves. “I guess I’m just too sensitive.”
Have you ever had a friend who continually makes you feel bad, and when you broach the subject with her, she turns it around on you? Making you feel like there is something wrong with you, or that you’re too sensitive, or you must be crazy. The other day on my friend Holly’s Facebook page, I saw these wise words: “If something doesn’t seem right, it isn’t.” Simple, yet wise words. When someone or something consistently gives you that “this doesn’t feel right” feeling, then TRUST, and quietly remove yourself from the person or situation. You are not too sensitive. You are who you are. Everyone is unique, and you should never apologize for being yourself.
What about the time your knee had a little nuggle of pain and you tried to ignore it? If you had kept running, it would have turned into a full blown injury. The same is true with people. If someone makes you feel that “twinge of yuck” over and over again, the relationship could possibly be toxic. I am not saying that with every difficult situation you walk away. What I am saying, is not to doubt yourself so often. Just like in running, you must ask yourself “Is this true pain or just discomfort?” We must do the same in our relationships.
The same could be true for any area of your life. Your job, how does it make you feel? Your relationships? Your eating habits? Are you truly hungry, or are you bored or upset about something? Are you starving yourself because you “feel” out of control and that’s the one thing you CAN control? Your running or fitness? How do these things make you feel?
Sometimes you need to create some distance between you, and whatever is bringing you down. Do the things that lift you up. Be with people who encourage you, make you feel included and cared for, and in return you do the same for them. Perhaps you need “time off” from a relationship, just as we take time off from running. A true friend will be there waiting for your return.
We can’t listen and trust ourselves if we never turn off the internal and external noise. Taking time every day to trail run, walk, or meditate is essential to our overall well-being. Here I am sounding like a preacher, when in fact I struggle with these issues myself. I see how much happier, well balanced, and joyful I feel when I stop, listen, and TRUST myself.
If it hurts when you’re running– stop and walk. If you are about to binge eat– stop and ask yourself why you feel hungry. If you’re overwhelmed with kids– meditate in the bathroom for 5 minutes. If a individual is making you feel bad, create some distance between you and that person. This applies to most feelings– the best approach is to stop, quiet your mind (focus on your breathing), and listen to your true self. “If something doesn’t feel right… it’s not!” Thank you Holly!
How about you?
Have you had to distance yourself from a toxic person?
What do you do to help you here your true voice?