Get yourself on a jogging track and start running at a leisurely pace. Don’t try to beat any deadlines, don’t attempt to set new records. Just run.
Your self-pity is lying in wait for you up ahead!
Five minutes pass, then ten. Your self-pity sends it’s first infiltrator. It tells you:
— Alright, let’s call it a day! You can continue the fight with self-pity tomorrow!
Keep running. As the first mild wave of tiredness permeates your body, your common sense resumes the dialogue:
— You did it, buddy! Three kilometers at first try! Not bad, considering you haven’t done any jogging for ten years. Great job, you can be proud of yourself!
Don’t stop. Keep running. The voice inside of you gets more insistent:
— Who are you trying to impress? No one even sees you right now. Don’t be an idiot! You’re pushing it too far, too soon!
Ignore the voice. Keep going. Now your body starts to feel tired.
— Dammit, I’m in pain! Enough already! I can’t keep going, I’m tired!
You feel short of breath. Your muscles ache. Don’t stop!
— Take a look at yourself! A tub of lard with the running style of a limp rhinoceros! You’ve sure got everyone’s attention now. People are pointing at you and laughing!
— I need a shower! I need a rest! Let’s just stand still and have a smoke. And then let’s go treat ourselves to something yummy. Enough jogging, why don’t we go to the movies! Ok, stop — I feel bad!
Don’t give in. Your body begins to shut down, but you must keep running forward.
— Please! Have mercy! I feel bad, I’m dying! I FEEL SO SORRY FOR MYSELF!!!
Keep on running. Keep running for running’s sake. If you can’t help crying — go ahead. If you must scream, scream. Whatever it takes, keep going. And then, suddenly:
The running gets easy…
You get a second wind. Your willpower returns. And so does your self-pity:
— Well done! You’ve beaten me! Now, let’s go to the movies!
Keep running. Your self-pity will keep coming back, again and again. It will try every trick in the book. It will attempt to misguide you, make you feel depressed, and make you doubt yourself. It will present you with all kinds of temptations. Whatever happens, keep on running. Your body is stronger than your self-pity. A time will come when the voice inside of you will fall silent. You’ll realize that you’re simply running — nothing more, nothing less. Without feeling sorry for yourself.
This not only pertains to jogging. Every time you feel you’re not up to a task, every time you feel you’re being undervalued by those around you, keep on moving forward until you leave your self-pity behind. Train yourself. In relationships, meditations, at work…
To change yourself for the better, you’ve got to learn to be merciless. Merciless towards yourself!
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