We hear it so often, see it on social media, etc… that we should LOVE things. We should be PASSIONATE about them and just LOVE doing them, whatever it is. While I understand the sentiment, I think it’s important to realize that we truly don’t START at love, we grow into it, with rare exceptions such as having a child, etc.
I was thinking about this because I was examining the way I feel about running (or to be more accurate, jogging, in my case). I truly don’t LOVE jogging. In fact, quite the contrary, I have always loathed it. When I was in the military I did the bare minimum to get me through passing my bi-annual physical test, and no more. I used to joke that the only thing that would make me run was if someone was chasing me!
Now, as I am embarking on endurance distances/times that are FAR beyond that in my pursuit to complete a half marathon, I realize that it’s ok to grow into it. I recognize that I might not LOVE the act of running itself, or at least not yet, but I do love the CHALLENGE of it. I love the fact that it is difficult for me and that I am not good at it. Much like many things in life, some of the most rewarding things/moments come from being challenged. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I PR a run, or I go a new/greater distance than ever before. I love feeling my muscles adapting and getting stronger. I love the discipline and growth that my mind, body and spirit have gained through my pursuit of learning how to run. I love the community I have found through the coaches and other runners I have connected with, that I may never have otherwise.
Just like we don’t start romantic relationships in love (lust yes, adoration, perhaps, but not love), we can’t expect to jump into it in “love” and then wonder why it didn’t work out long term. We have to nurture the relationship, just like we have to nurture the things we do (like running), and spend time with them. Be attentive. Give it room to grow and a chance to learn the habits and routines. We have to give ourselves, our hearts, minds and bodies a chance to acclimate to what we want, and then grow into love.
Who knows…a year from now I might utter “I love running” … but even if it takes me longer to feel that way, I know that every time I put on my shoes and go, I am investing in my relationship with myself.