Philosophize your way out of a guilt trip

running philosophy
Did you ever skip a run?

 And how did that make you feel?

 Most runners feel guilty about skipping a run.

 I'm one of them.

The reason we feel guilty about skipping a run 

According to Dutch filosopher Miriam van Reijen guilt is based on the thought that things could have been different. You cóuld have gone for a run.

But that thought is false, according to van Reijen!

Why do we get these faulty thoughts?

Van Reijen explains the fallacy of this way of thinking by using an example of Arthur Shopenhauer:

There's a puddle of water, lying quietly on the ground. Then the puddle starts talking! It says: 'I may be lying here on the floor, but I could be making waves, or boiling, or become ice. I could do all of those things.'

Indeed, these are things water can do. But only if the circumstances are right. For the water to boil it must be heated. For it to freeze temperatues must be below zero.

But without these circumstances water can nót do all these things.

Now let's apply this reasoning to running!

Why feeling guilty about skipping a run isn't necessary

We feel guilty about skipping a run. We base our feeling of guilt on the idea that we cóúld have gone for a a run. But according to van Reijen the question isn't if we could have gone for a run. We should ask ourself the ríght question which is: 'Could I have gone for a run thís weekend?'

And the answer to that question is no. The circumstances were not right.

If you say yes, you're making the same error as the puddle of water. Just like water can only freeze in the right circumstances, as a runner you can only run if the circumstances are right

Once you accept that, your feeling of guilt will disappear.

My thoughts on this

Hm, I like the reasoning. But I keep feeling I cóuld have gone for a run if only I hadn't been so weak! Obivously I'm as dumb as a puddle of water.

For me, the best way to avoid a guilt trip is just gó for my run!

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Unknown said...

Wow that's some pretty interesting logic. I'm kinda skeptical about it like you, but each to their own opinion :)

But yes! Since I've started running, the times I've skipped I've felt guilty and always try to compensate by doing extra the next day!

Marie Beausoleil said...

What an interesting site and interesting perspective. I must admit, as a mother of four little ones, my running is far less productive than yours! :D

However, as with everything, if you absolutely can NOT do something, it is rather silly to waste mental energy feeling guilty about it. I compare myself to my unmarried friends and think "Well, I COULD be doing this and that, and all that they are doing," and then I have to realize that the circumstances are very different. I will not feel guilty over something that is impossible for me to do.

Thanks for linking up at Turn It Up Tuesday!

Nicole Orriëns said...

That way the guilt leads to something good!

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