I know I’m not alone when I admit that I am My Own Worst Critic. I’ve heard before that to keep your inner voice positive you should pretend you’re talking to a child (presuming you wouldn’t say to a child the nasty things you say to yourself). I don’t even need to go that far. If I used the words I would use with a friend, or even a stranger, I’d be able to silence MOWC.
I was thinking about this a lot as the Get Lucky 7k approached and MOWC kept pointing out that 6 months ago I was running 4 miles several times a week as my base, and now I can’t run 4 miles without walking. Then last week I literally painted a picture that illustrated my point.
And here’s the deal: some friends and I went to our second Wine and Canvas event. In Wine and Canvas, you don’t have to be an artist, they have instructors who walk you through the painting step by step and voila! You have a painting of your very own! If there’s a Wine and Canvas in your area, I highly recommend it! (Pictures of us all in action if you need a better idea of what it entails)
Anyway, this painting was a lot more challenging than the first time we went. Of course we all suspected this going in, it’s not hard to look at the painting and now there are going to be a lot of details, but it was MUCH harder than our last one. Part of the way through we took a break and walked around, looking at the other paintings. I genuinely had a compliment for each and every one of them. I mean, I know how hard it is to paint based solely on the instructions of someone standing in the front of the room! So as we walked, I said, Oh, I like those colors. Great sunset! I love how you did the buildings. That fence looks really good.
But I didn’t have nice things like that to say to myself. No, as I painted, MOWC said things like Shit I messed up! This isn’t straight. Ugh, that line is too thick. I can’t get that shape right. I hate these colors! Shit I messed up! You know, pretty standard stuff from MOWC. It wasn’t until afterwards when the instructor asked me if I had taken a step back and looked at my painting from a few feet away. I told her no and she said, “You should. It’s really good.” So I did. And you know what? It is good. And if someone else had painted it, I’d immediately have said things like, Your people look great! Nice blending on the reflections. or even just a plain old Really nice job!
But MOWC doesn’t do that. And MOWC is harshest when it comes to eating and exercise. So I spent the week looking at my painting, and thinking about MOWC, and thinking about the 7k. And I set a new goal. It had nothing to do with a time or even running at all. My goal was to stay positive, to talk to myself as if I were a child, a friend, or even a stranger.
I’ll admit I had a rocky start on Saturday morning. I ended up without my phone or any other way to play music, which stressed me out a little more than usual. And I was with a couple of other friends who run more often so I made sure to point out more often than necessary how slowly I would be running and that I would be walking some part of it. Luckily, my friends are awesome so they reminded me that the fact that I was even out there on a cold, March morning was an accomplishment of which I should be proud. They were right. And it reminded me of my promise to myself.
So I started off on a 7 kilometer run, just me and the voice inside my head. And we actually did pretty well. MOWC showed up for a minute when I started walking at the 3k mark, but I quickly crowded it out with positive thoughts. You got this! It’s ok to walk for a minute – look at all these other people walking, you’re all doing a great job! You can do it!
When all was said and done, I figured I ran 93% of the course, and silenced MOWC for even more than that. Mission accomplished!