April 6, 2016

Modesty

Today's post has been on my mind for a very long time. In the running and blogging world, you read about a lot of people's goals, dreams, races, accomplishments, and the like. Generally speaking, I love reading about friends and fellow runners accomplishing their goals. Several years ago, I wrote about the core values of the running community. At the time, I listed health, fun, achievement, humility, and encouragement. Today, I would like to add another trait - modesty.


Earlier this week, I was reading fellow running bloggers weekly workout recaps, running updates, and such. And I found myself aghast at the amount of self congratulation. I've noticed it week after week. And sometimes it's warranted, i.e., when you run a new PR at a race, smash through a mileage boundary, or nail blistering mile repeat paces. But most of the time I find my jaw on the floor when I read about runners who are consistently bragging about successfully completing their workouts. The way I see it, when you have a training plan, you're just supposed to do it. I understand that life happens and sometimes it's harder to complete a workout for various reasons. What I don't understand is how simply completing workouts is noteworthy. Hundreds, okay make that thousands, of people do it every single week. Yes, it takes discipline but I don't believe it requires the level of back-patting that I often read.


Merriam Webster defines modesty as "the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities"

Let that sink in for a minute. What does it really mean to you?

I can tell you what it means to me....it means running (and blogging) within myself, both mentally and physically, and knowing my boundaries. I enjoy participating in the running and blogging communities to support and encourage others but I don't seek to use it as a way to promote myself or my own running. Because let's face it, Nike or New Balance aren't about to call with an endorsement offer to pay my bills. Running has and will always be a hobby. Add blogging to that hobby list too.


I enjoy participating in the running and blogging community in a way that supports others without overly focusing on myself. Sometimes I succeed at this and sometimes I fail miserably. Recently I have found myself shying away from blogs I used to really enjoy simply because I can't palate another week of reading self congratulation overload. And in reality, that's totally ok. People change...people evolve, as runners and bloggers. Sometimes I wish that we could all simply take a step back and consider that maybe, just maybe it's not that serious. It's just running after all. And appreciating it and valuing it doesn't have to mean gloating about it.

Modesty...in the world of social media, a self-interested society, and instant gratification as the norm...I think we could all use a reminder to embrace it.

{Christine}

33 comments:

  1. To be honest I think this is why I can't see myself as someone who would be a blogger (though like you said, people change so who knows). I just feel like I'm doing my thing and I can't imagine it being interesting enough for someone to want to read about it. Lol

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    1. Haha I used to think that too! I enjoy blogging more for being able to connect with others and less about what I write...although I truly love to write and enjoy that medium for expressing myself.

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  2. Amen sister. I notice this too and honestly I find it tiring. I don't mind at all that people share their workouts but I don't need the dissertation that often goes along with it.

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    1. Same here. I think my frustration got the best of me so I finally put my thoughts out there. Glad I'm not the only one.

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  3. What a great perspective to have on all of this. Its so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to brag and show off every single accomplishment, but its also important to find a balance in how much self promotion we do vs. supporting others. Blogging (both the formal side as well as the informal aspect of sharing on social media) is definitely a delicate balance of finding what is too much vs. too little to share.

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    1. I think sharing is part of it but I don't think modesty is about sharing. I see it more as an intrinsic trait and one that is exhibited through what we do whether that be work, running, swimming, cycling, etc.

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  4. I haven't really seen this in the blogging world so much, but there's a big difference in being proud of yourself and your accomplishments and not being modest. By nature, blogging sometimes attracts narcissists, though.

    I agree that training is one of those things you just do, and running is a sport where you get back what you put in. In a race, it's you and the clock- there are no refs to make calls that might be bad or good for someone like in other sports.

    I feel like the way people treat others shows a blogger (or runner's) true colors. Be proud of yourself, but be proud of others and celebrate their accomplishments too. I often congratulate people on their workouts because just getting out there is an accomplishment. You just never know what someone's going through that isn't on their blog, and maybe the posts are their way for trying to make up for something that isn't going right in the rest of real life.

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    1. I agree Amy. There definitely is a difference between saying, check out this bomb PR I got and hey look, I ran 3 miles today, I'm a successful runner. Good points on perspective of the various aspects of life. Thanks for weighing in!

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  5. I do think of myself as a modest person & I'm hoping I don't make the narcissistic list! I'm often really floored when people like a post that I don't think is all that exciting (or good).

    I actually do hope to make my blog more than a hobby at some point, but if that never happens, I'd still continue to blog because there's just something in me that really likes blogging. Maybe because I spend a lot of time alone and I enjoy the virtual community -- and sometimes get to meet some really lovely in RL that way, too.

    OTOH, I've found that I don't post my runs to IG anywhere near as often as I used to. I think I used to post every one, and sometimes that was merely to encourage slower runners like me that it's ok -- we're moving forward, we're running, and us turtles are out there & doing it too. But I'm as vain as the next person, too, and who doesn't like likes?

    A very interesting, thought provoking blog. And it's why I enjoy reading blogs -- I love thinking about topics I never would have thought about on my own!

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    1. I agree with your last comment, Judy! :) I think there is a huge difference between encouragement and support and simply bragging. I feel like self promotion has become so rampant in the blogging community that it can feel frustrating and stifling. I truly enjoy the supportive and encouraging environment and have decided to ignore the rest. :)

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  6. Interesting post. I think about this--both when reading others' posts and when writing my own. I enjoy reading about other runners' training and haven't noticed as much self congratulation. Maybe because I'm doing some of that? I've been sharing a lot of my training because partly I want to inspire others to push outside the boundaries of running but also as a pep talk to myself that I have enough in the tank for my marathon. I love the encouragement I get from my readers. I agree with you that there is a balance between sharing and oversharing. But we are all in this together.

    And can I just say that I don't need to see every meal that a person has eaten?

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    1. I feel the same way about seeing every run on IG. :) I think there's a real balance and one that I see shifting into a mode of self congratulation just for doing something. It doesn't mean that getting out and running isn't a good thing, I just don't see why every run deserves applause. It seems like there is a chance for us all to reflect and consider that maybe not everything is noteworthy in life. Average events are ok too!

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  7. This is one of the reasons I've been marinating on leaving the blogging world. There is only so much one can say anymore! I just wanna run! I think I've moved beyond PR city so really it's about good health, maintenance and feeling good. And of course traveling the states!

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    1. That is very true. I have moved to a place where I enjoy blogging for connecting with people and using writing as a medium for self-expression. I'm way way less focused on hits, who comments, etc. #DontCare

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  8. I get a kick out of those people who need to post a selfie (with their stats no less) every time they complete a run or a workout. It's like if they didn't post it on social media it didn't really happen..lol. As you know, we don't post every detail of our training (but maybe once in a while we will post about a memorable training run), but perhaps the people who are posting really need the encouragement from other folks online because they don't get it in real life? Who knows, i'm just guessing at that one. Good perspective though. -m

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    1. ME TOO! I think that philosophy is so silly. I rarely post any workouts anymore unless it's something extraordinary. But I find that it seems to be the norm these days. I like reading training logs because I enjoy seeing what plans others use, race paces vs. training paces, etc. But...I get tired of seeing "look at me, I ran 3 miles today" posts when 3 miles isn't necessarily a mileage breakthrough or the pace wasn't noteworthy for that person. Off my soapbox! :)

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  9. I really hope I don't come across as a bragging type of person in my blog and posts. Because that is so not who I am as a person. But I DO post all of my runs on social media. But it's for me...I don't care who looks at it or comments although I love responding back. I use my pictures, Instagram, and blog as my daily journal. I love being able to go back and look at all my run stats. Plus with me doing a run streak I like having a picture and record of each run.

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    1. Never! You are one of the kindest, most humble people I know. ;) Have you ever thought of making a flip book w/ all of your daily runs? I bet that would be amazing to see your progress!

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    2. Aww thanks so much Christine!!! And no I've never thought about a flip book! That's a great idea!!!!

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  10. Praise God, someone said it! Thank you!

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  11. Interesting perspective. I don't really feel this way but that's probably because I don't read a TON of blogs and so the ones I do read don't come off braggy at all. I do post just about all of my runs on IG and it's fine it that's not your cup of tea, but I think that's the great thing about life - not everything is meant for everyone. My general philosophy is "do you." There are definitely things that bloggers do that bug me and I sometimes write about them as well - so I loved seeing this post and getting a bit of a kick out of it :)

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    1. "Good for her, not for me"...one of my favorite quotes from Amy Poehler. Good life lesson like you mentioned.

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  12. Blogging is interesting. Social media as a whole is still a new concept. Part of me feels like people are still trying to find a voice and a tone that doesn't get misinterpreted. Another part of me feels like social media is a gift to people who are braggy anyway because it just gives them an outlet. Many of the blogs I used to read have drifted away over the last year or two. I haven't posted much because of some stressful things that are a huge part of my life right now, and if I blogged about them, it would come across as complaining, so I avoid it. I do agree with you -- there are several blogs I've stopped reading because I just don't like the way the blogger presents him/herself. Modesty and humility are good traits.

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    1. Wow Jennifer, that is a brilliant comment about not being misinterpreted. That makes a lot of sense...I think there definitely is a balance with so much.

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  13. Preach Preach Preach. I think there is nothing wrong with a pat on the back, but no need to throw a huge party. I have had events in my life that I have been extremely proud of, and I will talk about them, but I always try to remain humble. You keep me in line if I don't!

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    1. You keep me in line too! :) Staying humble is important because there is always someone better or faster or whatever.

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  14. I think that there are those who need that constant attention and pat on the back that social media gives them. I tend not to really follow or interact with those bloggers/posters too much. I enjoy the social media side of running and fitness and love to find a connection with like minded people. I never post times etc bc that is just not me. Interesting perspective

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    1. Same - the connections are important to me. I've made several very close friends through running and blogging so I'm definitely grateful for that.

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  16. I've been thinking a lot about this post the last few days. I post my workouts once a week, for accountability, and I IG them every day for the same reason. I don't look at it as bragging (no one would brag about my pace anyway lol) but more as accountability to myself. You can't poat it if you didn't do it. I also have a few friends who feel inspired when they see my chubby self getting out there and doing my thing.

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  17. Interesting post! Blogging itself is bizarre and sometimes feels ridiculous. I cringe when I see excessive self congratulation (vs. confidence and pride in a PR). I started doing weekly wrap ups to be held accountable, keep it real, and read about others who inspire me. I used to follow a lot of style blogs and found they went through a similar arc: real and relatable at first, then all of the sudden if became a way of life– a way to be "famous" and important – and those blogs lost their charm.

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  18. I think there is a huge difference between taking honest pride in your accomplishments (and I believe in celebrating even the little wins!) and being an ego-driven bragging-type. I'm proud of every race I finish, even if they all are not great--but I don't run to be fast or win races, I run to have fun, enjoy myself, and take part in a physical activity. While I admire the people who are Type-A DRIVEN to get faster and faster, I'm going to stick to stopping to take pictures and pet the cute puppies. My major accomplishment with running is that I have NOT allowed myself to get all Type-A on it, I've persisted in keeping it purely recreational and light.

    Nothing I do makes me better than anyone else, and that's because I'm not in competition with you or anyone else. My blog says that my purpose is to help you live your best life now, and part of that is recognizing that your best life isn't the same as anyone else's vision of their best life.

    Maybe I'm just not a fan of the term "modesty" and would prefer "honesty plus humility" :)

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