I was recently given a shirt bearing the slogan ‘Your workout is my warm up!’ I wear it for running. Size-wise, the shirt always fits – but the slogan doesn`t always correspond with my inner state. Sometimes it feels like a mismatch.
Match (1): I enjoy my running and feel energetic and powerful. I know I am not the fastest or fittest person on the planet, or even in my neighbourhood. But this doesn`t matter to me: I still like what I do – and the shirt.
Mismatch (1): Some days ago, I could do no more than shuffle along my route at snail’s pace and in the end felt exhausted and worn out. I’d have been better off wearing a plain shirt …
Match (2): My running style is not very professional. My steps are rather on the short side, my breathing is rhythmic but rather noisy, and to an onlooker, even some distance away, I am not exactly the picture of a long-distance runner. But this is me; I can’t do it any other way. “Here I stand (run!), I can do no other.” And what I do I do with confidence – in keeping with the slogan’s confident vibe.
Mismatch (2): I know someone whose running style puts one in mind of a gazelle. There is a lightness to his long steps, all his limbs move swiftly and easily and his breathing remains relaxed, unaffected by speed or distance. If I watch him AND think about the difference in our outward appearance, I feel like a goat beside a race horse and perceive myself as slow and clumsy. My workout seems to be inferior to anybody else’s warm up.
As long as I remain true to myself, I can wear the shirt in question with ease and a smile. I feel in harmony with the message printed on it. Only when I start to compare myself – either to how I feel when I am bringing my physical ‘A game’, or to someone else – does it get frustrating, the result being a visible mismatch between me and the message.