Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am worthy

I woke up this morning with a hangover. No, not the booze induced kind. The emotional kind. The I let myself get flipped, turn upside down, which was is up kind. The feeling of going from confident and empowered to weak, confused, self-doubting and self-deprecating. This morning on my run, I had to dig deep to work my way out of the tailspin and get back on firm ground.

I am someone who is a lifelong believer in self-work. I search myself for the root of things, look in the mirror face on and continually try to be the best person I can be. I want to be the best me I can be, the most genuine, the most real. For myself and for others.

In my life, one of the things that I have had to work hardest at is not externalizing my self-worth, not depending on others to validate me or tell me I am good enough. I have learn the lesson the hard way, hurtful ways, time and time again. But as a person dedicated to self work, I have gradually learned the lesson. I have learned that the price you pay for that external validation is often too high.

Two weekends ago at the Trials, when the gun went off, I was not brimming with confidence. I didn't necessarily feel like I belonged. For the first two miles of the race, I focused on a single mantra, repeating it over and over again to chase away the self-doubt. "I am strong. I am fast. I am important." By the time we reached the 2 mile marker, the self-doubt had melted away and I was ready to just run my butt off. I knew I belonged. I believed that I was worthy. I found the validation within myself.

Since the Trials, I had not relinquished that self-empowerment. I felt excited, empowered and enthusiastic about the possibilities moving forward this year. Over the past year, I feel like I truly came into my own as a runner and with that, my understanding of myself as a runner. I was feeling self-directed and that I was training and racing the way that brought pure joy and happiness to my life. I felt free of expectations and the need for external validation. It is such an amazing feeling to wake up passionate every day about the life you are living.

But self-work is constant work and old habits can die hard. When you think you are safe, it is often the time to be most vigilant. And yesterday, I relinquished my feelings of self-worth and let others dictate how I felt about myself. By the end of yesterday, I was no longer riding the high brought on by my empowering run at the Trials, I was, instead, my own worst enemy. By externalizing my feelings of self-worth and validation, I simply moved farther and farther away from actually feeling that way. Every attempt to regain it externally pushed me farther down the rabbit hole. I could not talk myself out of it.

So when I woke up this morning, the feeling of being emotional steamrolled lingered. As Nathan and I took off on a run, I immediately started negative self-talk and self-depreciation. I beat myself up.

But as we ran, I pulled myself up short. I stopped punishing myself and being my own worst enemy. I forgave myself for relinquishing my power and my self-worth externally. I simply stopped. I realized that, despite a perception of the world being turned upside down, the world was still exactly where I left it. Nothing had actually changed except my perception of it and my perception of myself in it. Just because I was now telling myself I was unworthy, the world was no different than when I believed I was. It may seem like a very simple thing, but the way we talk to ourselves has infinite power to shape our perception of the world.

People say self-deprecating things about themselves to me all the time. They tell me they are not as good a runner, they can't go that fast, they can't do xyz and it always bothers me. I always tell people that what they are doing is amazing and it is not a matter of comparison. If 3 miles is your 50 miles, then you should feel amazingly empowered by that. To say to yourself, "I am worthy" creates an energy and power inside yourself that makes you feel like you could take on the world. Yesterday, I was reminded that whatever it takes, I need to keep the mantra replaying over in my head. We all do. Our worth is our own. And we should protect it vigilantly.

I am strong. I am important. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am worthy. 


  1. Fantastic post, Devon!!! I really loved what you said about perception! It's so true... Nobody else hears the demons in your head and most don't care about them either! Why give them a voice?

    All Day!

  2. Dear Devon, I began reading your post from last weekend's NVM and continued on to this point. I am speechless at your running accomplishments and journey. I was the 2nd person to the last who finished NVM. My record couldn't even be listed as I entered at 7:03 - way beyond the cut-off time. But I finished! I endured the journey with all the pains, rejected 20 vehicles offering rides back. Looking back I realized that voices of people telling "I can do this", "There's a door behind the wall", and other encouraging words/wisdom truly carried me through the moments that I felt like giving up.
    Your post here encouraged me even more. I will not tell myself 'down' anymore. I know no matter what distance I run, I will always be confident because I am.
    Thank you. - Wina

  3. As a coaching client of your friend Krissy, I can relate to this perspective as she has communicated this attitude through her coaching and support. As I prepare to toe the line at Chuckanut, my third 50K, this weekend, I can be excited to be in the company of so many great athletes (all 700 or so of us!) and to know that my mid-pack finish can be as exciting and rewarding to me as the elites' top finishes are to them. Harking back to your entry "Long term relationship", I see the big picture of my relationship with ultrarunning more clearly and I am glad for Krissy's enthusiasm to coach me to my first 50 miler. After a heart attack 4 ½ years ago at the age of 44, I'm grateful for the good health and ability to run trails with the simple goals of long term personal development, pleasure and pride in my running accomplishments. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Guy Marx
    Saskatoon, SK


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