Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Running lessons: Dial down the drama

Last weekend's weather wasn't at all spring-like. In fact, Friday evening brought wet snow and rain that froze over night, before being covered by a soft layer of white Saturday morning. It was pretty to look at (see above) but downright dangerous to run on - though, fortunately, the trails in Shubie Park (where I completed 11 of 20 kms) provided mostly good footing.

Given the icy conditions and the fact I was so tired from another busy week of work and marathon training, it was tempting to see the situation in a more dramatic light than conditions warranted - to tell myself that I was too tired, that the roads and sidewalks were dangerously slippery, that I shouldn't be running the trail by myself, etc. Fortunately, one of the things I've learned over the years is that dialing up the drama rarely helps. When things start to feel tough, the better option is usually to dial down the drama, stay positive, keep things in perspective, and treat others and myself with as much kindness and respect as I can muster.

The same is true in the rest of life too, of course. Which is why I don't understand people who seem to go out of their way to create more drama in difficult circumstances. You know the ones I mean - people who relentlessly characterize others' motives in the worst possible light, tell stories that seem designed only to upset, constantly paint themselves and/or others as victims, and take an unhealthy interest in the misfortunes of others. I've never understood it. In my experience, life is dramatic enough as it is, thank you very much.

A case in point:  My only brother was diagnosed with oral cancer six years ago and had to undergo major surgery to have a good chunk of his tongue removed and rebuilt. When our family learned the news, we immediately switched to crisis management mode. There were no histrionics, no endless talk about the things could go wrong, no using the situation as an excuse for emotional diarrhea. Instead, everyone just stepped up - calmly and quietly - to help in any way they could, putting their own needs and feelings on hold until the crisis had passed.

So what is it that compels some people to do things to dial up the drama in such challenging situations - even one in which they're not directly involved?  Does it feed their egos somehow? Is it an attempt to avoid dealing with challenges in their own lives? Or are they simply bored, selfish and in need of entertainment? Whatever the motivation, their behaviour seems remarkably insensitive and unhelpful to me. After all, when people are hurting, the last thing they need is to have salt rubbed in their wounds.

In closing, a few quotes that seem appropriate:

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
- Dolly Parton

To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. - Confucius

Taking on too much of other people's drama is just a poor excuse for not taking ownership and control over your own life. - José N. Harris

Some people create their own storms and get mad when it rains. - Unknown

And a  brief update on last week's training:

Total # of runs: 4
Total distance: 41 kms
Longest run: 20 kms
Hill training: 1 x 5 hills
Tempo runs: 1 x 8 kms
Other training: yoga (1.5 hours)

Happy running and writing!

1 comment:

  1. Great quotes!! I believe I may fall into the category of creating drama from nothing - I'm working on it ;)