More than Strength – Building Confidence

Leap of Faith by Hamner_Fotos

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: I feel far more confident today than I did 8 months ago. I am more willing to take risks, try new things and speak my mind. The interesting thing is that it has almost nothing to do with losing weight or my body at all, but it has everything to do with working out. I started to notice the change a couple of months ago. Julian commented on it as well. I originally assumed that it came from losing weight. I looked better, so I felt better, so I seemed more confident. But you know what? That isn’t it. I’ve spent some time really looking inside myself and I’ve come up with a completely different answer.

Taking risks enables me to take other risks.

When I started running, I had no idea what I was doing. (Truthfully, I still don’t.) So, quite literally every step of my way I’ve been pushing my own boundaries. Having hated the idea of athletics for most of my life just getting out and exerting myself in public was a huge risk. Taking a Run Clinic was a big deal for me. It was a great class and I loved it, (and will probably go back for a refresher sometime soon,) but I had to run in front of other people – something I hadn’t done in years. It is good that my fear of injuries is greater than my shyness! Each time I run, I am taking risks – whether they are external (new locations, other people, weather conditions, etc.) or facing my own internal fears and self imposed limits.

And it isn’t just running, buying a kayak and going out on the water solo for my first time was a new experience. Lifting weights has been a building challenge. (Each time I feel confident in a weight, I go out and get the next one!) Julian asked me if I’d ever consider taking a martial arts class, and I have looked at gyms and other fitness centers in my area. I even went some while out of town – a complete first for me.

I haven’t achieved everything I have set out to do. Sometimes despite my best efforts, my plans go awry, things happen I don’t expect. But here is the important part – working out (running, kayaking, etc.) is getting me to continually try new things, and every time, I feel great for getting out there and giving it my best shot. That’s lead to me feeling more confident in myself overall. I am speaking my mind more and tearing down a number of long held beliefs about myself.

Interestingly, that was what this blog was supposed to be about – seeking new paths, learning more about myself, trying new things, and figuring out what matters. I just didn’t expect to find it this way. I’ve been thinking that weight loss and working out and all that were one path on my journey, but now I see that it actually is the path. It’s leading me, emotionally and mentally, towards being able to take leaps of faith in other parts of my life.

Who would have thought?

Photo credit: Hamner_Fotos on flickr

Note: after writing this, I realized it also belonged on my About Me page, so I have added it to both. It seems to really encompass a lot about me right now.

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