The harsh winters of Central Pennsylvania can often put one’s spirit to the test and leave one disheartened. I would oftentimes pride myself on keeping my running consistent through these winters and enjoyed the challenge. There is one winter that I will always remember in painstaking detail. It was during my senior year at Penn State and it tested me in ways I never imagined possible. I was exposed to the wide range of human emotion during that winter and was forced to learn things I sometimes wish I hadn’t. I saw a side of myself I hope to never see again.
At the age of 23, soon to be 24, I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing up to do. I would like to think I have made progress since high school and that I learned a lot about myself during college. The learning process is forever ongoing as is the act of learning how to love. My inspiration for writing on this topic comes from the one event in my life that has done more to shape who I am more than any other. It happened two years ago when I was a senior at Penn State University. I still do not go in to specifics of the incident, but I can say that there has never been a time in my life where I was more filled with hatred, anger, confusion, and sadness.
The happening left me in a shattered state where I had no idea where to turn or where to go, so I ran. Running everyday was my saving grace during those dark days. I didn’t know how to handle what had happened or how to purge the hatred that I had built up. I took it to the trails of State College, Pennsylvania and punished them. I was running faster than I ever had in my life. Images of the event and those involved would flash through my mind, inspiring rage, which I turned into mile splits I had no idea I was capable of. It became an addiction. I began to thrive off of it and pushed others away. In hindsight, I also pushed away some of those who had done nothing wrong.
While I do not encourage it, I do believe that having hatred as a motivation can be a healthy way to deal with the emotions when compared to other possibilities. However, to have hatred at all is never healthy. I liken the effects of running with hatred to the effects of what I have been told chemotherapy is like. It is true that both provide some type benefit. Running with hatred can provide better times and chemotherapy helps to eliminate cancerous cells. However, both also leave one feeling weak and are a poison to the body and mind. My challenge to you this week is to eliminate and release any hatred that you may have. It is freeing to do so and puts one in a far better state of mind. My world changed in wondrous ways once I released my hatred and turned to forgiveness.
Always in Stride,
Next week in part two of our series we will look at the evolution from the motivation of hate to the motivation of bettering oneself.
Quote of the Week - “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Song of the Week - Breakeven (Falling to Pieces) – The Script
Video of the Week – Lance Armstrong LiveStrong Commercial