One of the most common things we hear while riding our tandem is “She’s not pedaling.” I realize it’s meant to be funny, but really? Can’t anyone think of a more original thing to say when passing a tandem? I will say we’ve also heard some good ones, like: “Look a double rainbow!” or “Go Tandem!” My favorite has to be one we heard as we were pushing up a huge mountain pass: “You two look equally yoked.”
A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other as they work to pull their load. An unequally yoked team has a stronger and a weaker ox. When oxen are unequally yoked together, they are ineffective and unable to perform their task. Instead of working together, they are at odds with each other.
On our tandem, we each have a different yet specific purpose or role. To a bystander, it may seem the stoker (the one in back) isn’t pulling their weight. The reality is, if someone isn’t doing their job, the other one knows about it. The team becomes ineffective in getting where they need to go.
She Isn’t Pedaling?
We recently rode in an organized bike ride traversing three mountain passes over 80 miles. Around 65 miles I was feeling the exhaustion set in. We were about halfway up our last pass with 3000 feet of elevation behind us when a single bike passed us.
In an almost smirking tone I heard him repeat the most common phrase we hear – “Did you know she isn’t pedaling?” Something inside me snapped, and I thought who does he think he is? Telling us I’m not doing my part when clearly we wouldn’t be here if we both weren’t doing our part! I felt enraged and had to quickly talk myself down so as not to waste valuable energy on a nonessential emotion.
The whole incident reminded me of an article I read months ago entitled: “5 Things You Should Never Say to a Stay at Home Mom.” At the time I had laughed at the truth behind the post, but that day while fighting to reserve my energy to ride instead of being enraged I thought of how similar being a stoker is to a stay at home mom.
I remember feeling the same kind of defensiveness when I was a stay at home mom. I dreaded the social events and dinner parties where comments were made without any thought about how they would make me feel. Instead of taking offense I had to focus on how I wanted to feel about my role and what I wanted to think about myself.
Maybe the misunderstood woes of the stay-at-home-mom (or a Stoker) brings your blood to a boil as well. What I’ve found is the defensiveness serves no purpose. It is a much more effective use of energy to focus on ways to find value in our uniquely important roles – Our purpose in life.
1 | Discover Your Personal Value
No matter our role — mother, father, spouse, daughter, son, home manager, employee, coach, or citizen — we are different. We view our responsibilities differently, and we find fulfillment in different ways. And just because we aren’t the same and do things in our unique way doesn’t mean we aren’t important or valuable.
Our personal value is based on who we are and from where we came. (I’m not talking about where you were born or raised, but your divine origin.) We are each a child of God with divine attributes as his offspring. When I feel lost, overwhelmed, or stressed it is not because God has turned his back on me; it is because I have moved away from Him. When I choose to wake up early, spend quiet time to read my scriptures, pray and journal; I feel reassured I am more than what my to-do list dictates.
You are valuable because you are a child of God. You are divine, and so is your role. Don’t listen to those voices in the world. Take some time to connect with your Father and see the difference you feel in your value.
To find yourself you need to understand who you are.
2 | Define and Protect Your Core Values
Different from our personal value, our core values are what make us tick. They are the motivating factor behind any task — the things we do because they are important to us. Over the span of our life, our values adjust to our situation and circumstances as they change. By defining and protecting your core values, you are not allowing what someone may say change your commitment to living in alignment with your values.
3 | Determine Your Strengths
The strengths, talents, and gifts God has blessed you with are to help you become who He intends for you to be. They play a big part in the way you think, communicate, work, problem solve, socialize, and relate. People who use their strengths on a daily basis are more likely to be happy with their quality of life and be more engaged in their roles. Use your gifts to help those around you. You are a talented individual who can make the world a better place by sharing your strengths.
4 | Be Confident
Inadequacy is the lie we are all vulnerable to, believing we aren’t good enough. If we think we don’t measure up to the world’s view of our role, we fall into the inadequacy trap.
Confidence is the second most valuable emotion – the first being love. Love feels amazing, but it also helps us show up as our best self. It serves us well and helps those around us.
Confidence does not come from how well we do things but is a love and recognition of our value and worth. It is impossible to get to the highest level of self-love if we don’t have confidence. Without confidence we feel threatened by other people, have a fear of rejection, and other people’s opinions become dangerous.
One of the purposes of life is to understand and embrace what we already are. If we believe lies over truths we are missing the mark. Being confident helps us be better at anything we do. Confidence does not come from having an easy life, but from how we respond to the challenges of life.
We can be intentional in the way we choose to think about our individual roles. To feel joy and purpose means being proactive in what we focus on. What do YOU think about YOU?
What others think doesn’t matter. Try focusing on thinking of yourself the way you want the world to see you. Your job is to practice a little self-love and show up, no matter your role, as the best version of YOU every day.