Mental Health

The Best Kind of Argument

The Best Kind of Argument
Published: 2022-02-22
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It’s human nature to feel a lack of confidence or to experience self-doubt. These can come and go through life depending on a number of factors as the ego does its best to protect us. “Don’t try that! You might fail and failing sucks!" it warns.

Or “Hey, what are you doing?? Remember the last time you tried that? You know, when you messed up so bad, some people even laughed? Are you nuts??”

Yeah. That’s ego. That’s the ever-so-human part of you that wants to keep you from feeling bad. It wants to keep you safe. That’s why it’s so good at denial and other defense mechanisms. It doesn’t always let you see the parts of yourself that could do with a bit of an overhaul because—well, it hurts.

And it sure as heck doesn’t want you to dive headlong into something that it considers is too risky. The definition for that will vary from ego to ego—uh, I mean, from person to person; everyone has had different experiences but in general, avoidance is a famous ego move.

If it was up to your ego, you’d be permanently wrapped up in a big blankie with your Ted on a sofa where no one could ever say a mean thing to you, and you’d never have to do another thing for yourself. Ever.

Just in case you failed. Just in case it went wrong. Just in case you got hurt or looked like a weenie in front of everyone else.

I’m sure it’s safe to say that as an athlete, you’ve had more than your fair share of those moments when ego was yelling at you to quit. It can be such a pinhead.

And as for the parents of athletes, there might have been times you’d have been happier with them choosing the blankie and Ted scenario. You might have even been tempted to choose it for them. And if you didn’t, good for you!

Coaches are supposed to be (not always comfortably) in the middle. They understand the lack of confidence. They “get” the self-doubt. They know why you want to quit when it’s gone wrong, or your life is out of sorts, or you’ve just had an exceptionally bad day.

They also know the value in accepting your feelings or your challenges and facing them. They understand the value in changing your thoughts and developing a more helpful mindset.

Everyone has self-doubt now and then. Even when we’ve got great lives and things seem to be going well, something can happen to knock us off balance.

If that’s happened to you, it doesn’t mean you’re back at Square One.

Think of it as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. Those figurative “punch you in the face” moments can often be the Universe getting your attention, pointing out an area that could use a little tweaking to help you grow, expand, and move forward again.

When you have those moments of thinking you can’t do something, here’s a little argument I recommend having with yourself:

I can't. I really can't.

Stop that. Yes, I can. I really can.

No, I can't. It's too much. I can't.

(Sigh…) Yes. Yes, I can. It's not too much. Just look at that little piece right there and do that. Never mind the whole thing.

Okay, maybe.... No, it's still too much, there's all the rest!

No, it's not too much. Yes, I can do it. I can.

But I don't want to do it.

That’s a different story. I don't have to want to do it, but I'm sure I can do it if I just try.

Oh, maybe not. I don't know...I don't think so.

Wait a minute. Maybe I can. Why don't I try? That's a good place to start. Yes, I can do that much. I can try.

Hey! Look! I'm doing it!

I knew I could...