When they found it, they knew what they had to do. For the Gallagher family, weeks after Cameron ran her last mile in life they were still searching for explanations on to why she did not come home and was not there in her room after finishing her race at the Shamrock Half Marathon on March 16th, 2014. Cameron was searching for answers and doing something about it as she fought depression as her opponent was herself; yet what stands out to me about her and the Mission at Mile 12 is how steadfast she was about honoring herself. As she fought the good fight, and worked quietly on her plans to SpeakUp, she chose to be honest with herself even if it hurt, and run to who she was rather than from it. And when it comes to ourselves, shouldn’t we all.
“Our own heart, and not other men’s opinions, forms our true honor” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
To honor yourself, why is it important?
What I have experienced is that when we give in to the tendency, personally or professionally, to try to gain others attention or respect we people please. The result? Rather than be the ‘real you’ you become the you that has accommodated to others wants and needs. It is evident that Cameron was not about to be someone she was not nor do things that did not honor herself. Knowing she was a teenager when confronting this makes me realize how hard this must have been for her, and the resilience and strength she had by being open about it and vulnerable.
As I seek to go about each day, I thought about what are some of the ways we all can honor ourselves. (Angela Shaefers, host of ‘Your Story Matters’ has some valuable insights):
– By valuing your time and that of others
– By your purpose, there are no ordinary lives and no matter how small or insignificant it might appear, it matters and you matter
– By recognizing and honoring your faith in God
– By being true to yourself and authentic
– By committing to always growing, learning, and challenging your comfort zones
– By pushing past your fears and taking action
– By asking for help and support when you need it and accepting it when offered
– By forgiving others for any pain they have caused; also forgive yourself for your role in bringing about that pain or allowing it
– By being comfortable in your own skin, flaws and all
– By being honest with yourself and about yourself, face the truth no matter how painful; know you have the chance to begin again
– By letting go of the past, and being ready and open for what is ahead
– By creating and maintaining boundaries in your life
– By practicing forgiveness, for your own sake and move forward
– By practicing gratitude each and every day
The fleet of passing time and opportunities, we all face them and ultimately can only answer for ourselves. Whether we are 25, 45, or 75, we all have to look at how we spend our lives. One of the ways I have come to appreciate and reflect on it is through a run, as life can be seen as a series of runs. I know there is a finish line, I just can’t see it until the end. The pain to get there may be greater on the inside then I am showing on the outside, and I can decide to quit or press on and finish the race. When I have Run As One with others in my life, I know I can face anything. In fact, seeing as my memory will fade, one of the way I honored myself through my seven year run of being a single parent was by writing a letter to myself in 10 years, as I know I will want to look back at that time in my life.
By saying and living out that it’s OK to not be OK, Cameron honored herself, and as I think about how she fought her depression to train for her last run, what does honoring yourself mean?
“It means seeing the truth of who you are and leading from that strength. It means that if you are in a jam you do not compromise on your values but you stand firm in your integrity. It means that if you are accountable, you take responsibility. When you honor yourself, when you give yourself the same love and respect you give to others, you can free yourself from comparison and self-doubt. By honoring ourselves you are making the statement that we have more to share, more to give, more to respect and more to bring value to.” (Lolly Daskal)
We only have so much time, and honoring ourselves is worth that time. The song by Five for Fighting tells a story, as songwriter John Ondrasik faces himself through the years. Life is a treasure, sink in every moment. I will be doing just that running for Cameron where she ran her last mile, with the sunrise along the Virginia coast.
“Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Gustav Jung
Until next time,