It’s no secret that the reason I started running over two years ago was to gain approval from someone who had written me off. But the stages of this grieving process are something that I have never shared. After being ghosted at a wedding on New Years Eve 2014, I wrote a letter filled with so much emotion that at times, it was a bit much for me to handle. I filled it with my truth, expressing hurt and love all at the same time. As I put the letter into the blue postal box, I felt a sense of relief and peace, knowing I had shared everything I needed to share.
But as days went by, I realized that deep down I was hoping for a reaction. I wanted this person to reach out, to share what had happened that night, to seek forgiveness and move forward in what was our very strange relationship. This did not happen. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months and years. I began running more to show them how strong I was, that I was capable of changing my life and moving forward without them in it. Every post or update about running held a deep hope that they would reach out. They never did. The radio silence continued on.
I realized in July of 2015, seven months after this hurtful event and going through this process, that this is what I was doing. I had placed my value and worth on one persons reactions to what I was doing in my life. I was holding on to this skewed hope that they would reach out, reconcile the wrongs, and restore at least our friendship. Honestly, this realization hit me like a bag of rocks. Not only was I going through a running injury at this time, I now had to sort through what this meant and what I would do with it.
I had two options: accept that this was my reality and move forward, or seek forgiveness from this person and re-frame my process of thought for running and my life. Since I am someone who seeks honest feedback, you best believe I picked the second option. I did not want to call them, because that seemed like too much for my heart to handle. I sent a text, sharing about the hate I had built for them, placing my own value and worth on their approval when it should have never come from them. I asked them to forgive me and letting them know that I had finally forgiven them for what happened at the beginning of the year.
I know that you want to hear this story end with a tale of forgiveness on both sides, that this person responded back to me and we resolved everything. But of course, that is not my story. Again, days, weeks, months went by and I did not hear anything from them. Holidays and vacations would come and go, knowing that we were in the same city and could bump into one another at any time. But the radio silence continued.
As I re-entered into the running world full force last June, I knew that I needed to make this about myself and not this person. My worth and value is found in my savior, not another person. And as I focused on that, I started to find my voice and a new aspect of my own identity. As this new identity formed and confidence grew, I kept thinking about this person and how we could still seek out reconciliation for the things that happened in the past. Not to try and get anything out of it, but to help myself move on fully.
In this pursuit of being fearless this year, I found myself praying more and more for reconciliation with this person, in any regard. Asking God for a sign, a miracle, a glimmer of hope, only realizing that God was asking me how I would change my perspective in making this happen. Of course, reaching out to them would be the best option but the fear of continued silence kept me from contacting them. Why would I put myself through that again, giving my best self to seek out reconciliation when in return I would get nothing. After weeks of processing, I realized that I was letting my fear of this person get in the way of seeking reconciliation. so I gave up my fear, leaning into my fearlessness, and sent them a message.
Something short and simple, asking to meet when they were in town next, which happened to be this week. Of course, days went by. I could see when they read the message. More days passed and I realized it was happening again. But this time I was stronger, I could make it through the silence. A week went by and a message icon appeared. The feelings of dropping down a huge roller coaster or when the gun goes off at your biggest race hit my stomach. It’s been 2.5 years since I have heard a single word from this person. And now, I was seeing a response, one that was simple in its message, but a response none the less. With my luck, it was a decline to meeting while they were in town, but with a decision to try and meet the next time we are in the same city. Not exactly what I would have wanted, but the fact that I even got a response outlived any real expectation I had put on the situation. All because I believed in being fearless and seeking a way to find reconciliation.
Sometimes I forget that the world shares that the best way to respond to situations we are uncomfortable with is to avoid them. To project this radio silence to the person we want to not share our struggles or faults with. That it is easy to fully avoid instead of admitting our wrong and accepting fault. Honestly, I hate this so very much. I would rather put myself in the most uncomfortable situation, admitting my fault and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation then never speaking to someone again. But the way I live my life is not how others choose to live their lives. I can’t force someone to be fearless in the various things they do. But I can give someone the benefit of a doubt and accept the ways they respond. Granted, when someone responds with silence, it is a bit harder to accept.
I am sure we can all think of someone like this in our lives. The one we want to find out more answers from, re-establish mutual ground, create reconciliation, and find a way to move forward in our lives when the past is holding us back. Sometimes this will happen and I hope it can happen for you. But other times it will not happen at all. A part of our spirit will be crushed and we will be left to clean up the pieces. If this happens to you, remember that you have the power to do what you would like with these pieces. You can put them back together in a new way or try to put them together how they were before, even though they will be filled with holes. Your identity should never be wrapped up in another person, because fulfillment and true happiness cannot come from them. They are human, just like you, and they will let you down at some point.
You shouldn’t do something, like running, to seek attention from them. Even though this seems to be a common theme in the running community. Keep in mind that if they choose to not speak to you, that is their own choice and it has nothing to do with you. It will be hard to accept this because it is our own instinct to place this weight on ourselves. Just remember, that you are strong. You have the power to rewrite your story. Never lose sight of who you are and where you should find your own value and worth.
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly