Tuesday, February 13, 2007

American Inferiority Complex

I have figured it out: Americans all have inferiority complexes. This explains why we are so competitive. These complexes are hidden in our system of capitalism, which trickles down to everything, particularly our athletics. Still, even when I wasn’t training for a sport, I was competing against someone—someone was in my mind who I had to be more in shape than, stronger than, faster than, who I had to look better than, have a sleeker body than—and this is why I always needed to get better when I exercised. I wanted to run farther every day, lift more weight ever session, swim faster every set.

Here, though, now that there is no team to train with and no facilities to train at, and particularly now that I’m trying to recover from the flu, I don’t have anyone to compete against. And the important thing is, I’m less inclined to compete against myself. I just want to stay healthy. I want to exercise to feel good and to stay in shape. It’s just such a different outlook than I am used to having or being around. You can say it or even want to believe it, but if your internal motivation isn’t that simple, every action has more pressure behind it. That’s why so many people give up exercise regimes, I feel: it’s not that they’re too hard, it’s that the people are competing against some internal image, and it takes too much mental strength to keep failing. I am very afraid to come back to the States and be unable to keep failing again.

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