A Musical Distraction from Self Condemnation

adam phillips

Insights and self knowledge can come at peculiar times.

When I first started listening to music during my runs I told myself I was distracting myself from my running.  This makes perfect sense and is believable to most people.  This was not the fundamental truth.

The jogging and running is what I was doing.  I was the instrument from which the running occurred.

I was distracting myself from myself.  I was distracting myself from that inner part of me that was scared and afraid.  I was distracting myself from the parts of me that doubted my ability to succeed.  I was distracting myself from the parts of me that would appear less than noble, less than confident, less than praiseworthy.  I was distracting myself from parts of me that I would publically want no one to ever see.

With human nature, it’s usually easier to see fault and folly in others than it is in ourselves and, as such, I was easily able to parlay my initial thinking regarding myself to mankind in general and even more specifically to myself.

Essentially, I was distracting myself from my ability to handle a certain aspect of life for which I was ill equipped.  

Isn’t this a basis for a myriad of distractions we may imbue ourselves with?  Sex, smoking, shopping, eating, drinking, drugs, music as well as many other clever distractions and the items listed may or may not be inherently bad in and of themselves until we can honestly answer the question of why and to what extent we saturate ourselves with the distraction.

I think the clever part is when we can pass off destructive behavior under the guise of something normal and well accepted.  We could simply say we “like to party” then surround ourselves with people of similar ilk to further fortify and maintain our behavior.

There are a lot of subtle nuances here and many variables especially with regards to the types of distractions as well as the various aspects of life for which we may be ill equipped to effectively handle.

I also think, just as it may be easier to see faults in others rather than ourselves it may also be the case that this self reflection into myself may have been most easily realized due to the fact that it was seen in a rather benign and self imposed activity such as running.  It may have been harder to see more fundamental and base aspects of life for which I was ill equipped to effectively deal with.

Life, jobs, relationships, marriage, kids, parents, our health, maintaining a household and finances could be among the things for which we are ill equipped to handle

but …what if the distraction and the aspect of life for which we are ill equipped to handle are the same thing?

We may drink to distract ourselves but then the drinking may be a thing for which we are ill equipped to handle.  We may smoke to distract and put things off but the smoking itself may be itself an aspect we are ill equipped to handle.

I may write a blog, such as this, to put off getting to the park and getting my run in which… is exactly what’s going on right now – tbt.

When thinking through all this stuff a quote my Marianne Williamson came to mind

“The only way to end the torture of self condemnation is to live a life that earns your self respect.”

Upon first thinking, I wasn’t exactly sure how that phrase by Marianne fit into the previous thinking but, now it seems a bit clearer.

The distractions and aspects of life we struggle to deal with can be those things which detract from earning self respect.

I think I will make a meme with Marianne’s quote, then get my ass to the park and knock out my 3 mile run (that should have been done yesterday).