If you’re constantly looking at yourself in the mirror, expecting some change in appearance to produce a change in confidence, then you’re indirectly associating appearance with excellence. Excellence — whether it’s physical, conversational, sexual, or otherwise — is not correlated to appearance. This is my conflict, because I’ve always been self-conscious of my appearance (I struggle with weight), yet at the same time hold it in such low rank among what I consider to be indicative of awesomeness.
Beyond the cliché undertone of such a claim, I’ve proved this to myself time and time again, yet the conflict remains. It remains because I have yet to internalize the effects of such a claim, with respect to myself. I can intuitively understand that appearance is not what makes other people awesome or lame, but I have trouble accepting the fact that I have to be included in this rule; if the rule is going to be any good, it has to be generic and applicable to all.
If awesome people can and do come in all forms, then I can be excellent or lack excellence regardless of what form I am in. The people who I have considered to be high quality in the past are the ones who have motivated themselves to do the scariest shit, or explore the deepest part of their minds, or ask the hard questions, or try the kinkiest thing in bed (or elsewhere…). The people I’ve felt lacked quality are the ones who don’t try for excellence, who sit discontent with their choices, and who make excuses for their laziness without making an effort to combat it. If these observations are what I believe (and they are), then I can only conclude that excellence is a product of doing the right things, and should focus on doing those things myself rather than worry over or feel proud about how I look at any given moment.
This is the fastest way to relate to the people I want to be connected with.
And it’s also sustainable.
When you start correlating things with appearance, it’s easy to let excellence be a cyclically fleeting characteristic. You get fit, you stop exercising because your appearance is (naively) indicative of quality, you get fat, you lose quality, you repeat.
Appearance isn’t why running is important.
Running is not about doing something that’s going to make you look better, it’s about doing something that’s hard and requires internal drive. Keep running, and you demonstrate motivation, which is to say you demonstrate excellence; any change in appearance is a byproduct.