I LOVE endurance sports because of the freedom found on the open road. Endless miles of country road or trails are the opportunity to get lost in nature, leave worry and anxiety behind and LIVE and be FREE. In nature, we embrace uniqueness: deformed trees, decrepit barns, leaves of all shapes and colors...yet so often we hold ourselves to a different standard. We strive to streamline or 'perfect' ourselves with others so as to not stand out, with fear of showing our flaws, fear of failure, fear of not being accepted.
I've come to learn that truly living involves putting ourselves out there and risking failure...rolling with the obstacles and changes that life presents: our faults, our stumbles and our imperfections included.
Embracing imperfection means continuing to strive for excellence, while emphasizing grace. Living life passionately. Laughing at mistakes. Rolling with the plot changes as they come. Like when I enthusiastically added new clips to my cycling shoes, drove out to the valley to ride my bike only to realize said clips don't even match my pedals. Womp. Or all the times I've shown up to the pool with no swimsuit, no workout in hand and 30 minutes late ...
I am a list maker and I am constantly writing things down. I am also constantly losing those lists. Which must be in part why I started to blog: so I could have an organized place to write down experiences and thoughts that would not mysteriously disappear. Anyway, last week I decided to make a list of some imperfections that I've learned to just laugh at and accept. Shall I share a few? Why not?
I could go on! The point is, we all have flaws and no one is good at everything. Chrissie Wellington sums it up perfectly when she said "pick your battles." What really matters versus what is laughable?
Currently I am at the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (VAND) Annual Meeting. Conveniently enough, this morning's stellar session on "Coaching Skills to Facilitate Lifestyle Change" discussed the all important concept of "self-compassion." Self-compassion means showing yourself the same kindness you show others. It's empowering and frees us to tackle challenges with a "win or learn" type attitude rather than taking a "win or lose" stance. I couldn't agree more. Setting the need to maintain an image of perfection aside has been a breath of fresh air, has opened doors for me to pursue that which I am truly passionate about, has allowed me to learn and grow from mistakes rather than dwell and become paralyzed by them.
I am imperfect, but I am happy. I am willing to take chances, to fail, to learn and grow.
@chrissiesmiles: "There's no pressure, no expectation other than to do the very best with the body & mind you have on the day. That's success & perfection"
Hope you have a happy, successful yet imperfect week!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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Proud Athlete Of
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