I have been thinking about how blogging and having your story and your journey "out there" makes you vulnerable in some ways.
Sharing your journey publicly leaves you open. It leaves you open to help, support, encouragement, and opportunities. Sharing your journey publicly also leaves you open to criticism, judgment, and ugliness.
I discovered this years ago, when I wrote a family blog about our adoptions, advocating for kids with special needs, etc. I connected with many wonderful people. I found a lot of support and I gave a lot of support. But mixed in all of the good, there was some negative. Every so often I would get nasty comments, criticism, mean emails, etc. People can be very quick to judge others, and I believe they often say things "anonymously" or even just online that they would never say to a person's face.
I started this blog over two years ago as I wanted a place to write about my running. I have always been a writer at heart. I often struggle to say the words in my head, but have no trouble putting them to paper (or keyboard). I did not expect that many people would be interested or would read along here, and I was pleasantly surprised when that turned out not to be the case.
By writing this blog and reading blogs of other runners I learned a great deal about everything from training to shoes to races to gear to nutrition... I have gotten lots of support and have made many friends. I "found" my best friend!! I have gotten many wonderful opportunities. I have been SO inspired. I have become a part of a community that understands and shares my love of running. I have been able to share my successes and failures. Since I don't have a running community here where I live and since I train on my own, this is very, very valuable and important to me.
Of course there is also some negative. There are people who are rooting against me. There are people who think I am crazy and will never make my goals. There are people who hope I don't. There are people who feel the need to be competitive with me (which is silly, since the only person I am competing against is myself).
There are countless runners out there that run and blog and participate in social media, and then there are countless runners out there who run and go about it privately. I can see how it would be nice sometimes to be one of the runners who just goes about running and racing with no one paying any attention but family and close friends.
But those thoughts never last long. Yes, by sharing my goals and dreams, and sharing my story and journey, I have made myself vulnerable in some ways. Luckily over the years my skin has gotten thicker, and as in all things in life, I strive to focus on the good. And the good far outweighs the small amount of negative. I am so grateful for all the very real support, inspiration, and encouragement that I receive and for the friends I have made through this blog. And every single email, tweet, and comment I get from someone thanking me for sharing my story and telling me that I inspired them in some small way truly means 100 times more to me than all the negative comments put together.
I decided that being vulnerable is not necessarily a bad thing. I am an open person and I really enjoy connecting with others. So win or lose, good and bad, I will continue to honestly share my journey here. I will continue to share my thoughts, dreams, goals, and experiences. I choose to put myself out there and share my journey because I am grateful for all that I receive by doing so, because I love to share my passion and inspire others to find that joy within themselves, and most importantly, because I believe that life is meant to be shared.
“If you have a candle, the light won't glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine.”
- Steven Tyler
"You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.”- Albert Camus
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. ”- Erma Bombeck
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”- Charlotte Bronte
“Everyone that you meet knows something you don't. Learn from them. Share your experiences.”- Justin Cortillard