Why is breaking yourself almost to the point of death considered more heroic than caring and healing yourself in our current world?
Take a look at the extreme limits people are pushing themselves to these days regarding their physical health and well-being all for the kudos of being seen. If it wasn’t for modern medicine putting them back together or technology saving their asses would they be dying right, left, and centre as a result of the extremes they are striving for? In times got by survival was more important…
Is the warrior in us confused about where to channel our energy and skills?
We have people going beyond all reasonable balance in terms of sport, business, and life all around us and social media is a feeding frenzy as a result of it. It appears that pushing your mind beyond balance, your body beyond health and function, and your nutrition into unsustainable imbalance is what gains us attention and kudos thumbs ups. What purpose is this serving for people?
Well they get seen; and it seems that stupidity gains more attention than sense. Because being sensible and smart is often invisible; it doesn’t always get you the same likes and attention.
Are you comfortable in seeing yourself for who you are? Can you strive to grow and challenge yourself and face fears and go to bed at the end of the day recognising what you did and not needing others to? Can you quietly feel good about who you are as you continue to do your best?
Why is it that we applaud the extremes; the broken athlete, the crushed entrepreneur, the person going one step beyond because it grabs sensationalist headlines?
Why do we need to be seen so much these days? The validation from social media requires that we do things that are not truly in agreement with our inner selves.
Why don’t we applaud self-love, the nurturing of the quiet path to balance, and the consistent sustainable approach? There seems to be no attention grabbed from a place of balance and yet that is where health, longevity, and productivity, is achieved (and survival some may say!).
Our society is sick and we rely on crutches to keep us alive – drugs, alcohol, medicine, extremes, how long can this be the solution when we fail to take responsibility for ourselves? And what message are we giving our kids??????????????? Do they need to do more?
Why are we here? Why does the person doing extremes gain such cred? Why do we get so intoxicated by watching people almost killing themselves and why do we get so bored with normal life stories?
We are giving the wrong message…..
Tell a story of self-love while also achieving great things. Show a message of appreciation for yourself in your quiet moments as well as in your doing, reveal a script of balance and the nurturing of appropriate boundaries while quietly getting things done. There is no need for dramatic attention; people will still follow. There is great power in the energy of good intentions and actions that make a difference.
Can you silently be successful, can you achieve all your goals and dreams without the circus of attention? Trust me you will still be inspiring people on a daily basis and furthermore empowering them even more that you can imagine.
I pray that people start to see that doing the right thing for themselves, for their families, for their communities, and for our planet sends a stronger message for how we heal than the story of extremes. I pray that we can just quietly get on with it; that we can heal within to send the message of how to heal around us.
Speak with actions in alignment with what we strive to achieve….
I have been watching the journey of Ashley Horner lately who has moved from aiming to do 50 Ironman-distance triathlons in 50 days in 48 states plus Haiti to completing 52 Ironmans in 52 days around the U.S and Haiti. She is doing this with the aim of raising $100,000 for the Maison Fortuné Orphanage, which focuses on education for orphans and underprivileged children throughout Haiti. With the funding, MFO will be able to hire more teachers, provide more books and courses, and offer more programming for the almost 400 children it serves in the village of Hinche.
Now before I say anything negative; her goals and intentions are truly honorable and far beyond what most of us here sitting on our asses reading my blog are doing (that’s ok; we all give in our own ways and we should be inspired by her more than we choose to knock her). And I have to hold myself from saying too many negative things because my heart wishes her goals are achieved. Her mission is commendable; a motivating purpose.
That said, she is not trained specifically for the tasks she wishes to achieve, her body is not accustomed to this type of training, never mind the experience required to race back to back ironman for 50/ 52 days. She has not practiced fuelling or hydration strategies and this is becoming apparent as very early in she is having troubles with gastrointestinal health and hyponatraemia (both which if not remedied over the course of time can lead to SERIOUS health consequences). To continue on with the head strong mission to complete no matter what is somewhere along the spectrum of silly to downright dangerous (and I can not rule out possible. We all must wish her the best in her mission; this is only fair and good).
She is, no matter what way you look at it, not respecting the long process that ironman distance triathletes commit to. The years of consistent training that they put their bodies through to endure these events and stay healthy in order to race multiple events a season. I work with ironman athletes and I live with one. It takes years of training and an in-depth understanding of your unique hydration and fuelling needs to race consistently and successfully (and safely). Fuelling and hydration strategies are practiced in training and then honed for race day. A hyponatraemic athlete is not the sign of victory but of poor training and poor planning. So, that is my rant over; in a nutshell be humble about what ironman athletes do and even more so respect your body.
Rule Number 1; respect your body
Ashley also has a second passionate mission: “I really want to empower women”; she says “I hear all the time [from] girls and women who want to run a 10K or a marathon, or they say, ‘My whole life I’ve wanted to do that.’ Well why haven’t you f—ing done it? Just do it! Just sign up for one. Don’t let things scare you away.”
This very same passion is at the core of what I seek to achieve in my work; to empower women and our next generation of women (and men too!). How does the message of breaking your body down beyond health send a message of empowerment to women? How does striving to be head-strong beyond sense and safety send the correct message out there? Her message rings of women needing to be stronger than men to be empowered; to go beyond. In truth I cannot know her limits; where her body goes past that line of strong into broken but if I could whisper in her ear I would say:
“who you are and what you represent, and the passion with which you strive to do so IS what defines you. Be kind to your body and know that your message does not require you to prove anything other than to be who you are and to do this while in balance in body, heart and soul.
We need you strong, fit and healthy to continue with your mission and not to break yourself down.
Be kind…. self kindness is not weakness. Slowing down now and again is not the opposite of strength. To listen to the body and work with her is what defines strength.
Ashley would appear to be an exceptional athlete with a massive heart and holds a position of power regarding how people look up to her and with this comes great responsibility. When we are in a position to influence people we must think long and hard about the message that we give. We must ensure that there is consideration for those blindly following us. Is breaking ourselves always a good message? Is it about pushing through perceived barriers more than smashing ourselves? I am sure this is the messages that she means to give…yet I see someone smashing herself.
There is something very conflicted about the message that she wishes to send current and future generations of women. Yes we women can achieve many things; truth be said most women are hiding their astonishing gifts, strengths and powers behind the veil of so many fears. What will people think, how will being who I truly am change the way I am seen? What about the backlash if I start to show people the inner me? How will speaking out and standing for my truth change the status quo? Women live in shame and fear and I 100% agree that change is not only due but necessary.
Imagine if women could just be themselves…..
Women are truly amazing. So if we wish to send a message of empowerment to other women and young girls should this not come from a space of love and balance, boundaries, truth and honesty (with ourselves)? Is there a message of strength, healing and empowerment in the actions of someone tearing their bodies down and NOT listening to what their body is saying. Hyponatraemia, fatigue to the point of quote “falling asleep on a bicycle” (it hasn’t happened yet; and was joked about) and gastrointestinal stress are the body’s way of saying hey, hang on a minute; all is not well. Listen, stop, do something to rest me so that I can heal.
In sports science rest is the precursor to strength; a woman’s body is the ultimate mirror of this in that we have cycles…. Her goal to achieve 52 IM in 52 days doesn’t even acknowledge that the female body may have several days within this when the body needs more rest and is less receptive to a beating…. It is still possible; but is perhaps not the optimal way to work with the natural cycle of things regarding a woman’s hormones. Could there not be a bigger message in all this for women? Why aren’t we talking about this? We can be strong in the face of challenge AND do so from a place of self-respect
What do you think?
Please know that end of the day it is each to their own; and Ashley may well be on top of all of this. I am not judging. This blog is to prompt you to start thinking. So think! I am simply prompting more expansive awareness and debate.
Think about what matters to you; what is the message that you seek to send. How comfortable are you doing great things with less acknowledgement versus seeking validation and attention through the social media nonsense that is toxic in our current world. Why do you need validation; what is brewing deep down. How can you get the message out? What are your individual tools? Physical strength beyond what most of us can achieve may well be Ashley’s unique tool; and she may have the performance to back up the claims. I will watch and wish her well and hope that she comes home strong and even more so; fulfilled.
I often wonder what Jesus, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Florence Nightingale and many more great people of change would have done given access to Instagram, Facebook, twitter and more. Would they still just have got on with it……..or would they be off getting a face-lift, running an extreme marathon (ok maybe walking on water did the trick), tweeting selfies, and so on to gain attention. Attention that isn’t actually the real work at all…
Think…. set change in motion………
PS Hibiscus is the national flower of Haiti; I hope that Ashley achieves her goals and achieves peace within also.