I have a picture in my office that says “Do What Makes Your Heart Smile.” This is a very special message because it reminds me to check in with myself and get clear about what I am doing and who I am doing it for. Each choice we make sends a small message to ourselves….I am doing this to please others or I am doing this to please myself. I believe this is the essence of self-validation. Validating your wants, needs, and preferences is a key practice to “doing what makes your heart smile” and therefore strengthen the belief that you are worth it, important, and great just the way you are. That you do not need to be any more or less than who you are. That you do not need to defer to others to be okay with yourself. That you do not need to compromise your needs for fear that someone else won’t be able to meet them or will leave if you express them. That you do not need anyone other than yourself to reassure your self-worth. That you do not need to do anything to be more important that who are already are. That to me, is a bit of joy.
As athletes this principle can go a long way. We can remind ourselves that our value and joy is not determined by a number, placing, how many people we beat,what kind of bike or running shoes we have, or who our sponsors are. But rather, that we are CHOOSING to engage in sport, when we want to do it, and how we go about it. While training and racing tell yourself “I’m choosing to do this because I want to”, and if not….then don’t do it. It’s just that easy.
No matter what….Do What Makes Your Heart Smile