Anxiety and Depression: Run Your Own Race

The problem, well one of the many problems, with my anxiety and depression is comparing. I compare myself to others constantly. I always feel the unnecessary need to be the best. Or I have to be better than someone or people will leave me. It’s something I have been striving to let go of. Trying to live my life and no one else’s. Trying to go at my own pace instead of living up to society’s expectations. Stop making myself do things, I don’t necessarily want to do because that is what others are doing. It’s not healthy, and it is not making me any happier.

Today was a challenge with that, quite literally. I competed in 6K trail race. I used to run cross country in high school, but that is the last time I ran competitively. I have been nervous for this race for a while. All I could think about this morning was running my own race. I wasn’t trying to win. I had no expectation of that. I started the race semi-near the front. I may not have wanted to win, but I wanted to the do the best I could.

When the start gun fired, everyone flew. I tried going at everyone else’s pace, but I found out quickly that I only struggled. After that moment I kept repeating to myself “Sylvia, run your race and not theirs.” When I was first thinking of this race, my goal was to complete it and do the best I could. All of the sudden I started pushing myself more than I could take just for the sake of keeping up with others. I began torturing myself, instead of enjoying my own way of running. When I began to notice this, I stopped sacrificing my breath and pain for others. I stopped wondering if others would judge me for going slow. I just ran.

Yes, when there were others around me, them being there pushed me a little harder. And that’s okay. I see that as encouragement to be my best self.

I ran my race. I did the best that I could do. I was happy with my race and proud. I came in second for my gender age group and eighth female. For me, that’s incredible! I was happy and felt good. I wasn’t jealous of people who came before me. I wasn’t judgemental to the people who came after me. I just did me. I succeeded in accomplishing what I wanted to achieve and nobody else.

This is life. I get so caught up in what others are doing. How far behind am I compared to my peers? How far ahead am I than others? Am I doing this right? Should I be concentrating on something else? Am I missing something? All these questions hounded me every day. Analyzing all the pieces of my life and wondering if someone else is further along or better people will leave me for them. Even today, I struggled with this belief. Something I am going to try is repeat to myself when I’m struggling, “run at your own pace, Sylvia.” It’s going to continue to be a struggle, but I am going to do my best to keep doing me.

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