Last weekend I had the opportunity to cheer on a few of my friends as they completed a full marathon in Charlottetown, PEI. All summer long I was able to follow along as they poured their heart and soul into preparing for the race of their lives. Diligently practicing and maintaining themselves to train whenever possible and sacrificing various personal engagements so that they could catch their dream. It was an honor to cheer them on as they crossed the finish line after running 42.5 kilometers on a bright and crisp October morning. I now appreciate the effort and sacrifice that goes into an achievement like that, you don’t just wake up one day and run a marathon.
As I waited for their arrival to the finish line I got to witness many other personal feats and bests that came whizzing by to their final destination. As each participant passed with sweat pouring from their faces and a look of shear determination to complete, I was astonished by the stories that were unfolding. I saw many older (than me) people finish half and full marathons, I saw mothers and daughters hold hands crossing the finish line, I saw parents running with their young kids down that last stretch and I saw a man slow down so that his friend could catch up as they embraced arm over shoulder to cross the finish line together. As each amazing person passed by I became ever more increasingly inspired. It easily was the most inspirational day I have experienced in a very long time!
But there was a time when I wasn’t always so receptive to being inspired.
I am not proud of this, but I am human. I live, I learn and I share. Sometimes, I share things that are messy. But this is life. Life isn’t always pretty like Facebook makes it out to be! There was once a time when I would have not been inspired by all of these amazing people. In fact, I would have felt resentful, maybe even jealous of what these great athletes had accomplished. I wouldn’t have been grateful for their perseverance and preparation and I would be of the mindset that they are only doing this to show off. “They are just trying to better me!” would be something I would have thought… yes I was once that person.
It wasn’t until I dug deep into my thinking and realized that all forms of jealousy and resentment are really instances of incorrectly identified inspiration. In the past when I felt resentful of someone else’s accomplishment, all along I was really being inspired! The missing piece to being inspired was gratitude. Without gratitude, I wasn’t able to grasp what inspiration truly was and my outlook on life was miserable.
Gratitude and inspiration go hand in hand, if you are missing either of them, then you are only left with one part of the equation to happiness. The next time you are sad, depressed or genuinely unhappy with the state of your life, check your gratitude and inspiration levels. I am quite certain that you will find you are low in one or both. Get inspired and be grateful for the moment that you have been offered!
Congratulations Sabrina, Billy, Sean and Barbara Ann!