Why Are We So Mean to Ourselves, But So Loving to Others?

I am in my reflection phase right now.

After a season of training, during my time off, I always think back over how things have gone. The mistakes I have made, and what I can do better as we move forward.

I am excited to move into marathon training for California International on December 4th, and I actually did enjoy the speed workouts in this past season, but as I reflect, one thing just sticks in my mind.

I did not perform in my races.

I have only really raced to my potential in one race this year; The London Marathon.

Some of my other races I had decent performances, like the world half marathon championships, I did the best I could, considering I was called up three days before the race, and was in the middle of marathon training.

But that being said, I had quite a few bad ones, which is disheartening, as one thing I always prided myself on, was being able to perform on race day.

Considering how well training has gone this year, I am surprised that I do not have better results next to my name.

Why could this be?

Surely when you string a good amount of training together, and you are put into great races with competition to push you, that is the perfect time to go out there and smash it.

You would think, right?

I definitely would.

My confidence in my ability and what I can achieve has been higher this year than it has ever been, yet I have raced at the kind of level I was training at 2-3 years ago.

So if training has been going right, what is causing this?

Mental.

As much as I hate to admit it.

As much as I pride myself on being tough and able to push myself to a level beyond most. My mind has been my weakness these past few months, and I know it.

Some of that is within my control, some of it not.

Like I said on Monday, this has been an incredibly emotional year for me. I have been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I have had, but at the end of the day, that all is a bit of a rollercoaster, and will make some kind of difference.

But that is not the main problem, cracking under pressure is the reason.

You might be thinking:

You are working with a sports psychologist! What about Evie?

I am wondering the same thing.

At the London marathon, my mind was in such a good place.

I felt so confident, I could handle the negative thoughts, I could face them head on, be kind to myself, and keep moving forward.

Yet the second half of this year, when the going got tough in a race, I broke down.

I did actually have a chance to talk to Evie for over an hour last week, and we now have meetings set up for every week again, which will make a huge difference, but she had some theories on why I struggled these past few months…..of course not taking any credit for how strong I was working with her, and how weak I had become these past few months without her.

But we all know that she was a huge part of why I was so on top of my mental game.

Evie thought that being so strong for everyone else in my life, and trying to use my former strategy of just plowing on with life, not allowing myself  any slack, meant that when I was left to my own thoughts, like in a race, when those voices of doubt are strong, I cracked under the pressure.

Although unlike me, Evie thought that was understandable.

I on the other hand, am still struggling with that part.

I know I am only human. I know that we all only have so much mental strength, and I have used all mine up.

But bad racing was not the only problem.

I found that I was snapping at my family and Steve, I was struggling to sleep at night, and just feeling completely out of control of my own life.

After a weekend at home, a few days into this week off running, and some social catch ups with friends, I am already starting to feel better.

What Evie said however, has been in my mind.

What worked so well before, was being kind to myself, not calling myself an embarrassment like I did in the Falmouth race, or thinking of myself as a failure for not being as strong as I usually am.

If you think about how you would treat a daughter, a friend, your sister, you would NEVER tell them that they were embarrassing themselves with a poor performance, or how dare they not hold it together?!

You would be supportive, and loving, and tell them that everything is going to be okay.

Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves, especially during moments of stress and overwhelm?

Surely, that is the time above all else we should give ourselves slack, reassure ourselves that we are doing the best we can, just like we would a daughter, a friend, a sister?

But we don’t.

I am trying to be better at this, trying to take my own advice that I tell everyone else, just do the best you can, that is all you can ask for, and if you are guilty of punishing yourself for not being strong enough, maybe you need this reminder too.

We are only human, and it is okay to not be strong all the time.

After all, those moments of weakness show us just how strong we really are. We take them on, we move on, and we are a stronger (and hopefully, smarter) person on the other side.

I will give myself some slack if you will too.

Why are we so kind to others, but so mean to ourselves? Click To Tweet

Are you guilty of being mean to yourself, but loving to others?