Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The "E" Word

Entitlement.  A belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. (a Merriam-Webster definition)

This word, this feeling, as an amateur athlete, is getting me into an awful lot of trouble lately; and if I don't reign it in now, it will cause me nothing but problems in two months time.

A handful of peanut butter cups here, some wine or few pints of beer there....skip a short run or a weight session....have a 2nd huge helping of pasta followed by cookie time + a Skinny Cow ice cream...a wedge of brie here....  But I deserve it, right?  Because I (in no particular order)
  1. finished my homework 
  2. ran a long distance 
  3. had a bad day
  4. have been working hard
  5. didn't kick someone in the shin
  6. got out of bed
  7. etc....
Now look.  I am all for celebrating the little victories, but can you see this slippery slope I'm on?  I need to keep my victories into perspective and find a different way to celebrate them....and be very careful with the phrase "because I deserve it."  Why?  The bare bones truth is this.

I set a goal for myself and I am working toward that goal.  Should I celebrate the milestones that I reach?  Yes!  But am I entitled?  Maybe in some cases, but it is a hazy line.  Do I really deserve to eat a 1 pound bag of chocolate covered pretzels (I'm not saying I did or didn't in one sitting while watching The Hunger Games)???  No.  Am I entitled to skip a weight session because I've been good about other training sessions?  No.  How long can I really use the "I deserve it because it's my birthday" get-out-of-jail-free card?

I think that many times, the feeling of entitlement can lead us down rocky paths that circle us right back to where we started from, instead of further down the road to our destination.  Though your destination might be different from mine, that feeling of entitlement can trap us both.

No regret, no shame-on-me, no being hard on myself.  I goofed and I'm learning from it.  I lost my focus and lost my way, but I'm finding it again; rekindling the spark that lit the fire.  From here on in, I am determined to refocus my attention on my destination.  I will celebrate my journey, but in more positive ways that will take me across the finish line instead of keeping me from it.

And after I complete that 26.2, that is when I will have reached my destination.  That is the moment when all the little victories will culminate.  Then and only then I will I say "because I deserve it."

Journey on my friends, but beware of rocks and trees and obstacles along the way.
Keep your eyes on your destination.

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