Friday morning is a peaceful time for those who are submerged in the daily routine of jobs, running businesses, or going to school.
You are lying on your bed, and thinking about what to do for the rest of the day, as free time nowadays is a rare find. You should plan with enough diligence, so that you can enjoy each and every moment of the weekend.
But suddenly, a thought that has been lingering in your mind for years or months, which you have avoided with foolproof excuses, suddenly resurfaces.
And you, with the mighty force of sheer will, leap off from the bed, change clothes, and go out. Yes, it is that easy.
You get yourself out in the breezy calm morning of a Friday, and start running at a leisurely pace. You feel the cold, fresh air, and warm sunlight on your face.
Keep on running. Don’t try to beat any deadline or attempt to set any new records, just run.
Five minutes pass, and a thought lurks around in your mind. It’s an old friend: The self-pity.
Your self-pity declares: “Hey man. It’s great that you have started running. Let’s call it a day! Let’s sit down somewhere and enjoy the breeze.”
As the first wave of tiredness grasps every muscle in your body, Mr Self-pity will come right back.
“You did it buddy. You are an awesome bloke. Look how far you have run. Not bad, considering you haven’t run for five years. Now let’s stop here!”
Do not stop even when the voice inside of you gets more persistent.
But please don’t stop, because you have only just crossed one level. There are many more levels to conquer, and remember that your self-pity will come back again and again
“Who are you trying to impress? No one is even looking at you. Don’t you think you are pushing too far, you plump fellow?”
Ignore the voice. Keep on going. Your body will start to feel gravely tired.
Even when you feel breathless and your muscles ache, don’t stop.
“Look at yourself, you fat lad. Lumping on the field like a limp kangaroo.
Look at the people around you. They are staring, and they are laughing at you.”
Keep on running.
“I need a shower. I need some rest. Let’s just sit there on that bench by that tree and have a smoke. Let’s go to a fast-food joint and have something delicious. Enough of this ridiculous jogging. Why don’t we go to the movies instead?”
Keep running. You will feel that your body is beginning to shut down, it can’t take any more, but still you must keep on running, against all that self-pity and negativity that your own mind subjects you to.
“Please, stop. Have some mercy. I feel so sorry for myself. I feel like I am dying now.”
And after a while, with a rush of blood through the head, you will feel you have overcome the daunting struggle of the I’m-about-to-die moments, and that your running has become easy.
But please don’t stop, because you have only just crossed one level. There are many more levels to conquer, and remember that your self-pity will come back again and again.
It will make you doubt yourself, try to make you feel depressed, and will try to exploit each and every trick in its book to slow you down.
But, you my friend, you keep on running. You are stronger than your self-pity. The day will come when this inner voice will be silent.
You will realise that you are just running, and nothing is speaking to you anymore, and then you will not feel sorry for yourself.
You will feel at peace.
You will sense pure joy and satisfaction.
And this goes not only for running.
It goes for your dreams, your aspirations, your goals, your everyday tasks that you need to complete.
Every time you feel undervalued, every time you feel you are not made for the task, every time you feel sorry for yourself, train yourself hard, and then even harder, and make yourself better.
Be absolutely merciless with yourself.
Touhid Kamal is a freelance contributor.