Things were slow when I was at work at the running store a few weeks ago, so I decided to have the guys take a video of me running barefoot on the treadmill. It had been about a year and a half since I last saw my feet running and I was just curious to see what I looked like running.
I was shocked when I saw flex in both ankles. I knew I had a slight tendency to overpronate in my right foot, but my colleagues agreed that I needed to switch to a light stability shoe. I’ve identified myself as a neutral runner for years, ever since I had my first formal running shoe fitting in January of 2011. The thought of having to give up my beloved Glycerins threw me through a loop for a day or two.
I got to thinking about why switching from being a neutral runner to needing a stability shoe even made me bat an eye. Since being a runner is such a big part of how I identify myself, somehow being a neutral runner had also become part of my identity. It’s funny how something that isn’t good or bad, like pronation, can come to feel like a part of who you are.
When someone asks who you are, you might be tempted to answer “a mother” or “a runner” or your occupation, but we are so much more than those labels. I am more than the sum of the adjectives that describe me: I am all of them, but at the same time, I am none of them.
I’m trying to move away from the labels, especially the ones that tell me who I think I should be instead of who I am. Yoga and meditation help: the mindfulness that comes from focusing on breath and physical sensation instead of thoughts running through my head. Freeing myself from the pressure of labels is helping me find who I really am and what really makes me happy.
When was the last time you had a major paradigm shift?
What labels do you hang on to?
Have you ever redefined who you are?