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Peer Pressure

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Picking up speed, finish line in sight, bursting through my personal barrier of “I can’t run”, on my Race for the Cure 5k this weekend I congratulated myself for finally filling my life with positive peer pressure.

Now, how do I translate the infinite value of surrounding one’s self with positive people going in the right direction to my daughter?
I wasted a huge portion of my life surrounding myself with negative people going nowhere. Druggies and addicts, bad boys, snarky mean girls, people whose ambition is to lay on the couch and complain for the rest of their lives, people who just don’t appreciate me.
Peer pressure is inevitable. You can’t avoid peer pressure.
The key is, I finally realize, to choose your peers carefully.
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Find some people who are not perfect – never the perfect ones who make you feel fake, less-than, inauthentic and never good enough, the “perfect pretenders” are as toxic to one’s soul as drug addicts, never them – but people who are impeccably flawed and willing to try their best anyway.

I congratulate myself these days on attracting people who make me question my limiting beliefs about myself like, “I hate running, I can’t run a 5k.”

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Having friends who say, “Let’s run a Race for the Cure 5k, it will be fun” makes me think, “well, what if I can?”

I can. I did.

While running, I was thinking of my three friends running with me, not racing each other, but racing themselves to do their own personal best, and I thought, “That Jennifer is running the whole thing! I want to run the whole thing!”

The other day, I told my husband, “I can’t run a 5k but I know I can walk-run-walk-run it because I do that all the time.”

He said to me, “You can run it, you just believe you can’t.”

“Is that true?” I thought.

“I want to run the whole thing.” I thought during corpse pose in the yoga class we had taken the day before. “What if I can do that? That’s a huge personal barrier – a ginormous limiting belief that ‘I can’t run.’ A limiting belief built up since ,what? high school P.E. and Fitness for Life in college? A limiting belief that isn’t serving me. I can run it. I don’t have to do it fast. If I do it all all, take all day, as long as I’m running and not walking. I can do that.” I visualized it.

“What if I let all my limiting beliefs go today?” I thought as a jogged and concentrated on my breathing. “What if I can run a 5k? What if I can write and publish an amazing book? What if I can learn to promote my book? What if I really can do anything I decide to do?”

I visualized myself crashing through all my stupid limiting beliefs about what “I can’t do” as I neared that finish line. There was my friend Jennifer cheering “GO TRACEE!!!!”  and waiting to slap my hand the nano-second before I crossed that personal barrier.

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I let out a belly laugh after I crossed. I turned to cheer on my friend Crystal who was about 10 seconds behind me and we hugged and couldn’t believe what kind of adrenaline rush we were having, it was her first 5k race. We asked someone to take our picture. Then we cheered and hugged our dear friend Alexis as she crossed the finish line.

We spent two hours standing at the finish line of Race for the Cure cheering and congratulating strangers and family members and survivors of breast cancer and family of breast cancer victims. I imagined everyone had some kind of demon, belief or out-of-reach goal they were confronting in that final moment.

Rather melodramatically a single tear fell down my cheek as I congratulated myself for being so profoundly blessed to be surrounded by good people who love me for myself, want me to be my best authentic self, will cheer me on as I do my best to scale, dig tunnels, go around, detour, chip away at and blow up any brick walls I happen to put in my own way, perfection not required.
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