Do you struggle with Triathlon Guilt?
What in the world do I mean by this? Well, having been in the sport for as long as I have, this is a phenomenon I see all around me. I remember myself, struggling with this as an athlete.
Triathlon guilt is when we feel selfish in our pursuit of becoming the best that we can be in this sport. Because triathlon is an individual sport and takes a lot of time, and commitment, we feel selfish doing it. As much as we love it, and as much as we can’t stop doing it, we struggle with feelings that we are doing something that is hurting others – hurting others by taking time away from them, putting that time into our own, selfish pursuit.
Perhaps we are changing how we eat. What time we go to bed at night. How active we are with the family after training, as opposed to the energy we used to have before we started the sport.
Perhaps others are telling us it’s not fair, letting us know that this fascination we have with the sport is making them feel less important.
Now, listen here. For any relationship to work, each person must feel that they are the most important thing in their partner’s life. If they believe that something or someone else is more important to you then them, this will eventually lead to problems.
To me, triathlon was a vehicle through which I found myself. I went from being a very insecure, fearful girl to a woman who knew herself, and appreciated herself, once I retired from the sport.So, step #1: No matter how involved and committed you are to the sport, always find a way to let your spouse or partner know that they are what is most important to you. Small gestures of your love and appreciation go a very long way. Keep this in mind always, and you will stay on the right track.
All of us are drawn to this sport because it provides us with an opportunity to find out more about ourselves – what we are made of, how strong we are, what matters most to us. It provides us with real life experience dealing with loss, disappointment, victory and growth. We are constantly growing throughout the process of becoming better athletes.
The key for me was this – I had no love for myself before I started the sport. I was uncomfortable in my own skin and didn’t really feel safe in my own body. If you don’t love yourself, it is impossible to truly love someone else in all the best ways – in ways that will make a relationship strong and lasting.
Through the sport, I developed confidence. I was made aware of the truth that I was strong and could handle adversity with grace. I learnt that I could commit wholeheartedly to something I believed in. I learnt that with laser focus and a developing belief in myself that I could create the life I dreamed of. Most importantly, that meant creating an inner world that I felt at peace with – an inner world that I felt safe, and comfortable in, an inner world that brought out the best in me, not the worst in me.
Through all this growth, I became a better person for everyone around me.
I could love more deeply, give more freely, and step up in my relationships as a woman who knew she had something to offer. I could inspire others to not be afraid to chase their dreams, to not be afraid of failure. When we fail, it is not failing. We learn! We learn, and this causes us to grow. Growth leads to progress, and progress always leads to happiness.
This amazing sport and my commitment to it allowed me to create the best possible version of myself. Had I not thrown myself in 100 percent, I would have never discovered who I am, on my own, or what I am capable of.
In discovering all of this, through my pursuit, I became the best possible version of myself and thus became less afraid to share all of me with my loved ones. I became unafraid of taking on challenges or facing uncomfortable situations. I became a rock for those around me. I became a source of strength for all those around me. I became an inspiration, a role model and an example. All these things became gifts that I could share with all those around me. Gifts that I would never even know I had, had I not thrown myself entirely into my pursuit of triathlon.
So, never feel guilty about your passion for the sport. Yes, it may seem selfish, if you choose to look at it that way. But, stop yourself. Appreciate instead what you are learning about YOU. What parts of you are you strengthening, expanding and growing? The parts of you that you can now share with all those you love. When sharing these things, you also provide them with their own desire to grow, expand – discover and become more.
The key is to always appreciate the deeper things you are discovering through your time in the sport – your inner strength, your resilience, your belief in yourself. Your appreciation for life, and gratitude for all the incredible experiences you can have. Appreciate you, and then commit to sharing all these strengths with your loved ones.
Make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their support, their love, their understanding. Always try to include them in any ways you can. Let them be a part of your journey; help them to grow at the same time. Showing your gratitude is the gift you must never forget to share. Always.
Include them in your journey. Let them know that you couldn’t do this without their love and support. Let them know that in your pursuit, you are figuring out all the ways that you will become a better daughter, son, husband, wife, partner, friend, teacher or mentor. You will have more to give, more to share, more to bring out the best in all those around you.
Self-discovery is such an incredible gift, especially when it is achieved through pushing yourself to the limits physically, and mentally. The more you find out about you, the more you can tap into your greatest potential. The more you can share with others!
From this place, we can truly shine.
Life is a gift. It offers us the opportunity, the privilege, and the responsibility to give back by becoming more. – Tony Robbins