Everyone I’ve ever talked to has had pre-race butterflies at one time or another in their life. Whether it was for an athletic event, a job interview or a school exam, it seems as though we’ve all had them at one time or another. As I was gearing up for the Sunshine Coaster race a couple of weekends ago, I got them again as I was driving to the start line and I asked myself, for the first time ever, “Why am I feeling like this?”
Why do I get the pre-race butterflies?
When I asked myself the question, the immediate thought that came in to my head was perceived expectations from others and expectation on myself for “results”. I had a similar experience about a month ago at Suburban Rush. In both cases I felt a level of expectation from others. Whether, these expectations were real or not is irrelevant because inside that was how I felt. The real question is why? I’m pretty sure the answer to that question is that I’m searching for the feeling of being loved.
In addition, I had placed high expectations on myself for reasons I’m still not sure of. Was I trying to impress others? Was I trying to validate myself as an athlete? Was I trying to feel worthy? Again the answer to these questions is that I’m searching for the feeling of being loved.
Where to find love?
I’ve written about this before, and the answer is quite simple. In order to feel love from others, it’s important to love yourself first. It’s important to be able to look in the mirror and smile back at what you see. It’s important to be able to do something for the love of doing it, instead of trying to impress others. It’s important to smile. It’s important to express and receive gratitude. Love is everywhere, but you must find it within first.
Back to racing
In addition to noticing the butterflies at Suburban Rush and the Sunshine Coaster I’ve also noticed that I have absolutely no butterflies during the local toonie races in Squamish. However, if you look at the field of riders, the field is probably bigger and better in Squamish than at many races. But I have no butterflies for these races. Rather, I go to the events, give my 2 bucks, and race for fun with absolutely no care in the world how I finish. Sure, I want to push myself hard and do as well as I can, but I just love the race I have within the race. I love the camaraderie during the race and the smiles and beer after the race.
And most importantly, I love myself before, during and after the race. So I wonder out loud for everyone else out there, when you get the pre-race butterflies have you looked deep inside yourself to see what they’re actually saying to you and about you?