The Process of Building Resilience
In regards to going barefoot, many people ask me, "How long did it take you to toughen your feet?" This is a difficult question to answer, as I still see how much more growth and resilience is needed to run on any surface for the kind of mileage I desire to hit. All the same, there is wisdom latent in this question, because it is implied there is a process in building resilience.
When I first started barefoot running, I couldn't run the mile loop of my neighborhood without stopping. Even walking the distance was a challenge. My feet were sensitive and not strong. Walking around various neighborhoods in Seattle would even slow me down. While it's nice to move faster and cover more ground, I still feel like I have a long way to go. I'm still in the process. This is true for the rest of our lives as well.
I would love to say that I have mastered emotional resilience. I would love to say I never take anything personally. I would love to say that my ability to receive criticism and negative feedback means I am not phased by the resistance of others. I would love to say that in my running and in my relationships I have built the ultimate quantity of resilience... This just isn't true. I'm still in process!
Like building tough feet that are both sensitive and strong, building personal resilience requires we stay in the game, in the practice. What we are cultivating is made known in our day-to-day choices. When I choose to stop being barefoot because I feel overwhelmed by the challenge, my capacity will not grow, but shrink. When I choose to check out of challenging conversations or moments of discomfort, I resolidify old programming rather than rewiring my brain with a new perspective. Building resilience is a process. You can do it! Don't give up! Stay in the game.