I was a bit surprised in the gym the other morning when my other gym regular, a man in his 50s told me that he ‘runs in the dark evenings out of vanity’. He’s a healthy weight, fit, opinionated, confident and works hard in the gym and in life in general.
RUNNING IN THE DARK OUT OF VANITY
He has kids and grandkids, but he runs in the out of vanity. I wondered what he meant, then he explained it. He runs at night in the dark, because at night no one can see how fast or slow he goes. There’s no external (or internal) pressure on him to run a 6, 7 or 8 minute mile… he can just run as he feels.
I found this a bit strange as there’s no way I would let anyone else’s opinion of me change my behaviour (unless their opinion was out of concern or for the better for me). Who cares how fast or slow you go? As long as you go. People driving past don’t know your pace (your usual pace, your fast pace, or your slow pace) and they’re in cars not running anyway, so what does it matter.
WHY WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK?
And this concern over what people think of you can extend to all parts of life. It can be natural for others to constantly think and worry about what others might think about them.
Internal thoughts go around saying:
‘People will think….’…
‘I’m too skinny’,
‘I look funny,’
‘I run funny,’
‘my skin is too white’,
‘ I’m slow’,
‘my hair is a mess’.
Why care what other people think? If you’re out there and you’re running, think about who you’re doing it for and just try to enjoy yourself. Or if you are fat and you’re happy being fat, or you’re fat and you’ve chosen to do something about it, then don’t let anyone make you feel bad. Be yourself and be who you want to be.
A good friend once said to me:
‘Do you really think that people judge you just because of …. ?
Do you think they look at you and think something about you?
Everyone is too busy wrapped up in themselves, wondering if their bum looks big in this, or if they’re being seen the way they want to be seen.
And even if they are judging you, who cares? I don’t, and you shouldn’t.
Stop worrying about nothing, and get on with just being you.’
RUN AS SLOW OR AS FAST AS YOU WANT
Run as slow or as fast as you want, and if you need to walk…then walk. As long as you get what you want from it, that’s all that matters. If you feel like you need to run indoors to hide from the outside world, or at night time so that no one sees you, then do. But don’t be ashamed of yourself.
Be proud of yourself for getting up off that couch and making an effort. Run outside if you want to and run at whatever time suits you. Don’t let what other people ‘might’ think about you… put you off.
At a recent 10k event, I think I was more impressed by the people who were running at the back of the pack, working hard with grit and determination to finish a 10k in over an hour, than the fast and highly trained club runners who finished in just over half an hour. We all have our own pace and we all have the ability to try hard…. It’s just that some people run faster or slower than others. We all usually get there in the end. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?
THE REASONS I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK
I’m one of those people who don’t really care much about what people think of me or what I look like. I’m not sure where it came from, probably my upbringing where I was praised and encouraged by my parents and ridiculed and bullied (and loved) by my four older siblings.
As a kid I had the longest nickname in the world, as names kept on getting added and added until it was eventually shortened to something which was more easy to say. All of the ribbing I got from my siblings has probably helped shape me into the strong, jovial and confident person I am today (although it wasn’t very fun at the time).
I even wrote a letter to the tooth ‘ferrys’ once asking if they could ‘fix it so that my brothers would stop calling me names’. Lol. Even now, the two main perpetrators are hundreds and thousands of miles away and they still make fun and stir things up over Facebook and text message… lucky I’ve grown up not to care… and even luckier they didn’t go and ‘boil their heads’ when I asked them to. 😉
My Dad didn’t seem to care much what people thought of him, and I guess I’ve maybe learned that from him. He worked hard and did a good job and was well liked and respected where we lived. When my brothers would call me names, my Dad’s advice would be to tell them to go ‘boil their heads’… which I did, but it never really worked too well. So I just learned to toughen up and not really care what others said or thought about me.
When I grew up, I blossomed into really not caring what people thought about me… fancy dress… and not fancy dress wearing a Stetson in the middle Winter in Aberdeen. I’ve got squinty teeth, and a broken nose after a pretty bad car crash I had in ’99, but I’m still alive after it. My injuries were slight (although they seemed massive to me at the time)… and I’ve earned a broken squinty nose and less than perfect teeth… but I don’t even care.
I’ve shaved my head for charity, dressed up stupid, and I regularly wear bright clothes and clothes for function rather than style. Big running socks, bright fluorescent colours so I can be seen… I couldn’t care less what people think… and perhaps I might even bring a smile to someone’s face. I rarely wear black, and generally think that colours are brilliant. In fact I might even go as far as to say that when I die I want everyone to wear the most wacky and bright colours they can find to my funeral. 😉
I guess not everyone’s like me… but I hate to see people changing or compromising because they’re worried what other people might think of them. I just think there’s no need – it’s much better to just be you and if people don’t like it…. tough (as long as you aren’t harming anyone else).
WHO CARES HOW SILLY YOU LOOK OR HOW SLOW YOU GO, AS LONG AS YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, MAKING AN EFFORT AND YOU’RE ENJOYING YOURSELF?
The way I think about it is that there are much more important things to be worrying about than what you look like, or what other people think about you. Things as simple as good health is much more important than what we look like or what other’s think of us.
Life is good, so stop being concerned about what others think. Stop worrying and start doing what you want to do, and have fun. If life isn’t good, then find out what you can do to change to make it good, and DO IT.
You can do whatever you set your mind to do.
Why not bring a little fun and colour into your life and enjoy it? 🙂