Tell me about struggle, and I will tell that at every moment, of every day, the Olympic torch flickers somewhere. It has been witnessed by millions over the years; it has been held, passed, and celebrated.
The Olympics bring out our human desire for excellence, for reaching one’s potential, and for the willingness to take risks in pursuit of something great. I was an Olympic athlete, but I did not win an Olympic medal. I stood on the sidelines as an alternate at the Olympic games. I cheered others on. I was left to wonder what I could have achieved, if I hadn’t fought with my own body for so many years in a constant struggle with an eating disorder. Something told me that those years of training were just preparation for a different challenge that would come later in life.
I used to chase victory. I chased it as I raced for the finish line of competitions. I chased it for accolades in education. I chased it through the right job, the right body, the right outfit, the right car, and the right relationship - the right you name it. But a true sense of victory never came that way. I have only found what I was looking for by setting my sights on quieter and more personal aspects of my life. When I let myself value what I needed most in my life – recovery - and when I then let myself direct my strength and resources to know recovery, I began to know a fuller victory. I began to feel a triumphant spirit, a powerful alternative to the shame and dismay that was with me when I fought against myself day after day.
I am still in training, but I am no longer on the sidelines. I train to be part of life, to have compassion for myself, and to be fully engaged. The self-respect, the peace, the connections, that have come from focusing on the invisible victories of life, has offered me far greater happiness than chasing the big to-do’s. Victory can be a daily endeavor as struggle is certainly a part of life, but to have the opportunity to struggle within one’s life vs. always struggling with one’s self, is a privilege
There is an Olympic torch out there flickering. It is waiting for athletes across the globe to seek its glory. But there is a torch of victory out there for you. Maybe it is there to warm your dreams, spark your hope, and cheer you on towards recovery. Maybe that is your triumph. And maybe it will take an Olympic effort, an Olympic risk, an Olympic sacrifice, and Olympic support. Maybe you are on the path to a beautiful victory of your own.