To keep motivated in these times, I have been mixing up where I run and the time of day to run. As an avid morning runner, I have found it a nice change to run in the afternoon as a way of ending my workday.
Earlier this week, I went for a mid-afternoon run, and I exchanged a friendly smile with another woman running in the opposite direction.
We were both on a circular running track, so we passed each other with every lap we finished.
Then on one lap, she had an added weight, her son!
He looked to be about ten years old and was hanging onto her arm. Although I was wearing headphones, it was apparent that he thought his mum should stop running now. So he was trying to get her to stop, physically trying to restrict her movement.
I could tell that she was communicating to him that she was not stopping until she had finished.
She kept running. He held on.
The next time I passed them, she was still running, and he was still holding on.
It made me laugh, and we exchanged a ‘kids!!’ look.
On my next lap, she was still running. He had let go.
I had to chat with her; she had just demonstrated what it can sometimes take to hold onto one’s boundaries.
“That was very impressive. Did you think about giving in to him?”
“No. If I do that, it means I’m giving in to myself, which I refuse to do anymore, and I don’t want to teach him to give up his needs.”
I nearly fell to my knees to praise her. I loved that she was willing to carry the ‘weight’ of him so she could keep going.
I shared with her the work I do and how I talk and write about the topic of boundaries for women. Then, I asked her if I could share what I had witnessed, and she said, of course.
“I have not always had strong boundaries, but life was not going well, and I had to change something. I was always giving myself away to other people, which meant I didn’t like them or myself. I’m a better mum and wife when I honour what I need.”
I swear that if we were not in lockdown, I would have invited this woman for a post-run beverage on the spot.
In case you need to hear this today, I’m going to repeat what she said in case you need to hear it twice.
“I was always giving myself away to other people, and it meant I didn’t like them or myself.”
You are worthy of your own time. No matter the weight of expectation you put on yourself or others put on you.
No one, especially you, benefits when you give yourself away at the expense of your wellbeing and mental health.
Wishing you a weekend of doing the things that support you to like yourself.