Responding to Life’s Challenges by Dr. Carlee Mark

Tuesday 9 November 2010

A couple of years ago, I participated in a half marathon (21.1km run) and experienced first hand some of the similarities between a running race and life itself. 

There was excitement, nerves, pain, self-pity, complaining, perseverance, courage and after crossing the finishing line, a deep sense of satisfaction. Of course, the experience of completing the race was wonderful but it was only by participating in the race, and enduring through the pain and fatigue that I was able to enjoy the achievement.

I don’t know about you, but I find that life throws a lot of different challenges our way, a series of races maybe, and our choices in those races can lead us to that place where we find great satisfaction.

It was about 15km into the run that my body really started to hurt and right away, I started to have negative thoughts. Do you recognize similar thoughts from challenging times in your life?

Comparison:  “I wish I was a better runner because I’d be finished by now”

Self-pity:         “I’m sure others aren’t hurting as much as I am”

Self-criticism: “It’s your own fault that you’re in this situation, how stupid”

Thankfully, that day when I was out running, I didn’t just allow my mind to be negative because I realized that my negativity was actually making the run harder.  Instead, I tried to turn my focus away from my sore legs and started to:

Encourage others around me (who were of course, in pain like I was)

Be thankful for what I do have (for my health, for my body, for my surroundings)

Be kind to myself (thinking about the achievement of setting a goal and following through)

As you can imagine, the last part of the run was much more enjoyable than it could have been had I remained so negative. I am constantly inspired by people who, despite facing a really difficult time themselves, still smile and laugh, encourage others and remain positive about the future.

And the great thing I’ve found is that all difficult times do pass and we all have the ability to continue to make good choices in those times, so that when we come out the other side, we’re better people for it.

Think about the challenges that you’ve faced and how you’ve responded. What did you do well? What could you improve for next time?

Dr. Carlee Mark is a medical practitioner who is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives as they pursue wholeness physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She is a dear friend of ours and it’s an honour to have her contribute to The Girls of Wisdom’s Blog!

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