I can’t pinpoint an exact date. There was no epiphany that took place one day. But, over the past year, slowly but surely, I’ve started to enjoy living each day just a little bit more.
For 30 years, I wasted time and energy worrying about what others thought. Would they like the dress I was wearing? Would they think I was too slow? Would they notice those extra layer of softness on my arms? I spent countless hours comparing myself to everyone. This constant struggle caused self-doubt and affected every aspect of my life.
What took me so long to realize is that 99.5% of the other people are too busy and focused on their life that they don’t have time to think about that girl next to them. Whether it’s the girl running next them at the gym or the girl lying next to them at the pool.
In the past six months, I have felt more confident and happier than any other time in my life.
On Saturday, after ten years of running, I finally found the confidence to run in a sports bra. The slight breeze felt cool and refreshing against my skin, and I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t have a six-pack and don’t have a perfect body but I felt strong and I know how hard I’ve worked to feel that way. Even though the miles didn’t come easy, the feeling of freedom and confidence gave renewed meaning to the run.
After sharing the picture on Instagram and Facebook, I was amazed the number of women who commented. These are women who I’ve considered my inspirations whether for fitness or physique. Somehow, they were amazed that I ran without a shirt. Many of them said they wish they could reach that point.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill I can prescribe or a book I can recommend to each of you so that you can feel the joy that is, for lack of better words, “not giving a shit.”
The only thing I can do is to beg and plead that each of you find the courage to strip down, whatever that means in your life. Try just one thing that scares you or intimidates you. If you want to strip off the shirt and run in a sports bra, try running in a new area, where you won’t be recognized or run earlier in the day. If you want to practice hot yoga in one layer less, try it at home first, so you get comfortable in your skin. If you want to clip in, but are scared of falling, try riding with only one foot clipped in until you feel comfortable. Want to wear something that isn’t on the pages of this month’s fashion magazine? Own it and wear it with pride.
Don’t believe it’s that easy? Two of the women who inspire me daily stripped down for their workouts for the first time this week! Both Bonnie and Mindy shared that it felt liberating and helped them realize how far they’ve come in their journey. All it takes is a little bit of confidence and the freedom to not care what others think. I bet you’ll have a high from all that libration and far more time on your hands to focus on the important stuff.
Oh and don’t forget, it is a gradual evolution. As I said, it didn’t click overnight. Slowly but surely I worried less about other people and spent more time focusing on me. There are moments when I lack confidence or worry about what others think, but it’s far less often than before.