How running teaches self acceptance

In Running

According to Shepard (1979), selfacceptance is an individual’s satisfaction or happiness with oneself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Selfacceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Running teaches you to relate to life, your body and to your environment. Running, on your own, dealing with yourself and your limits show’s you who you are, and not how others view you. Confronted with yourself and your limits, running strips away limitations imposed on us by our egos and by our environment. During the run, the runner is only dealing with himself, the perfect center of the universe.

Don’t show up as the person you think you are.

Fundamental to “centering” is self-acceptance, by accepting your limits. You are who you are, with your limits and with your stronger parts. There is nothing you can fake here, if you push it you feel, but you can’t fake, your limits. At that point there is no reason to relate yourself to others, or to envy one for what he or she is. You will become frustrated if you leave your center to relate your self to others since you can only push yourself to attain your own highest potential. By acknowledging this, your self-acceptance will grow and will become stronger step by step as you try to live up to your limits and if you are willing to leave your comfort zone.

Self-acceptance and dealing with your own limits leads to modesty and kindness. Kindness to others and toward yourself. You’ll never overcome your failings by hating your shortcomings, or by being angry with your self. We can’t exceed our limits by using anger but only with true kindness to ourself. You should work hard and reward yourself, and not punish, yourself to strengthen yourself in virtue. We should always try to work hard to reach our highest potential. Sometimes this means being hard, stern and disciplined with ourself (hey nobody said it is an easy job) but we should not be judgmental and punishing ourself. Kindness is necessary for understanding our self, our motivations and to understand the world around us.

In Buddhism

Modesty in Buddhism is the quality of being unpretentious about one’s virtues or achievements. Modesty is to know your true worth without being proud or self-satisfied. Modesty helps us to see who we really are, and it helps us to be proud on our achievements without becoming vain or self-promoting. On the other side modesty teaches us also to deal with setbacks without shame or self-loathing.

For me running is like meditation, it can be a process for finding our own center, but success depends on holding the right attitude. When we learn to relate to our self, our live and to our environment, we will become more harmonious and we will develop a responsive relationship with ourself and with our surroundings. Running, like meditation, can help in learning to relate from your center to the center in everything. When we learn to relate from our center it takes away the limitations imposed on us by our egos and by our environment, and that makes live even more beautiful.