Janet showed up again. Had my toes to the line at a 50K today and she just couldn’t keep it to herself… I heard her but didn’t give her any credit.
“Oh, Janet.” Eye roll. Breathe.
I have a voice in my head who shoots me down, tries to talk me into believing I’m inadequate. Gives me a ton of details as to why I should doubt myself, give up before I’ve even started, compare the shite right outta myself. This voice is unkind towards me.
“The run today is gonna suck. It’s hot. You’re undertrained. Let’s be honest. You’re too old to be running these distances anymore anyway. Give up.”
I’ve given this voice a name: Janet.
I don’t know why this name. It’s the first one that came to mind. I know of no Janets in my life, so the name itself has no energetic connotations. Which is perfect.
I find that hearing that inner critic and going right to calling Janet out on her shenanigans keeps me from owning the voice and feeding it my attention and faith.
Whenever Janet shows up, I figure I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. For me, that inner critic tries to keep me small, dull, afraid, doubting.
When this voice starts its banter – as it inevitably does at the beginning of a race – I just breathe in-out and acknowledge, “well, who showed up to the party but Janet.” Eye roll. Shrug. Move on.
Ya see, I’ve come to understand that, while Janet’s voice may sound like mine, she’s not my Truth. She is fearful, controlling, and anxious. She can be a bully. A critic. Nasty. Discouraging.
And who the hell needs that? I tell you, toes to the line in a race is hard enough without Janet pushing her way to the front and center of my mind. No, thank you. Not interested in your POV, J.
Shut the front door on your way out, Jan.
How about you? Do you have an inner critic, a “ya-shoulda” whispering, shouting, discouraging you into guilt, shame, fear? (I think we all do.)
The maturing soul is becoming aware of this voice while recognizing their own voice — and discerns the difference between them. I call our own voice the Voice of God.
Voice of God: kind, encouraging, honest, gentle, grateful, joyful, peaceful, patient, good
Voice of Janet: shaming, shoulding, guilting, nasty, comparing, hopeless, controlling, anxious
I used to waste precious time and energy getting mad at Janet’s outbursts. I would try to prove her wrong. “I’m awesome,” I’d scream back. And list all the ways. For me, this was not at all helpful. Or I’d try to ignore her. Fingers in my ears, “na-na-na-na-I-can’t-hear-you.” Not only did this not help, but I couldn’t hear the Voice of God over my own voice howling back at Janet. Uhm, plan B.
“Ah, there she is.” I’ve allowed her to be there. No arguing with her. No giving her my focus and attention either. I hear her, beating me up and trying to pull me down, but just the simple act of saying, “oh, Janet” helps me to allow but not own.
And now, years later, she comes around infrequently. When she does, it’s rather limpish. I have come to know the Voice of God in my head that reassures me, “you’re amazing; you’re on a journey; enjoy the adventure; love yourself; love others; be patient with yourself and everyone; breathe, relax, find the humor.”
And – maybe even – “you’re so pretty!”
True story, at today’s race, while Janet took a very far backseat, a woman ran past me during loop 3. Glancing back, she gushed, “wow, you look so pretty when you run!”
God speaks through others’ mouths.
I stopped after seven loops. Five was my goal. Ten would have been the whole deal. As I dropped into my body and asked it what it wanted to do today, seven felt right. Seven. Ended with a total of just over 22 miles. Not bad for 56 years old, in 80-degree weather.
Ima proud. Pleased.
As I clicked my watch to end my timer, Janet started to opine. Seems seven wasn’t good enough for her. Which means I am not good enough.
Well, I know this is caca trash talk.
Here’s the truth: I didn’t chew up all ten loops. Which only means I didn’t chew up all ten loops. Period. I busted out seven loops and had a fantastic time among a joyful, kick-butt group of friends. It was a really good day!
No, Janet. I didn’t run the whole 50K. This is correct.
But I’M STILL A MIRACLE.
You deserve a hug. You are worthy of Love and every goodness. Truth. There’s nothing to earn… you wanna push yourself to go git a medal at the end of the race, shweet. But that medal does not add one bit of GLORY to you. You are already as glorious as you can be. That medal adds some pretty big experiences and maybe you get to meet some fabulous people – enjoy them! But remember, you are miraculous and holy sans medal.
……… Who knows, maybe someday there will be no Janet. Today is not that day. As I continue to trek my journey, grow in Love for myself and others, I trust God to let the story unpack.
In the meantime, I remain darn jazzed that Ima pretty while I run. 🙂
I love you,