This thought process occurred on the flight home– between hour-late departures out of Houston and racing down the concourse to the connecting flight. The urge to write always seems to strike at the most inopportune moments. Like driving, or at work, or at 2am, or when the battery of my phone is close to dying on the tail-end of a flight. But when it kicks in, I give in. Keeping promises, remember?
Too often we are hard on ourselves. In fact, more often than not we judge ourselves, our performances, our abilities more harshly than anyone else. I used to joke (though maybe it had quite a bit of sad truth to it) that no one could be meaner to me than me– it was a safety mechanism my brain had wired in. If I judged myself harder than anyone else then no matter what they said or thought I would have already thought of it myself. Kind of twisted, right? Maybe it stemmed off from a childhood being picked on from everything to my name to my weight to my hair cuts–goodness, I was cute. Ten year old’s are just mean. Adults too.
The hard thing was finding a way to break this mentality. I had drilled it into my subconscious for so long that it was second nature. Whatever I did wasn’t good enough, it could be better: grades, jobs, relationships, finances– agility. Because my logic was how can you ever get better if all you think about is the positive? If I only focused my energy on what was good then I’d be ignoring what was going wrong and I wouldn’t be able to fix it, right?
I was wrong. What happened when I started focusing on the positives on my life was that things became easier to deal with (uh, a B+ isn’t the worst thing in the world. No you’re not supposed to be a best seller author yet. You’re not going to run a 5k in 25 minutes anytime soon, if ever. World team is still just out of reach– but damnit all of that is still okay!) It cannot be the end of the world, or the collapse of all the hard work when something doesn’t work out. What needs to be fixed isn’t brushed aside or ignored with a plastered on grin and steel-jawed tightness. I must acknowledge these failures (I wince at the word) but I not allow myself to dwell on them. I want to give those moments their time to breathe and scream and kick and throw their tantrum before I send them away. I will make them better, I will continue to grow, but I do not need them staring back at me as a constant reminder to make those changes happen.
Part of my brain still screams that no! It’s never good enough! But it must be. It has to be good enough or else what is the point? We have to find satisfaction in what we’ve accomplished, even if it’s not full satisfaction. Even if we haven’t made it to the end goal. We have to be happy with how far we’ve come and realize that it’s further than we were before. It’s the only way to appreciate the journey we are on– no matter what kind of journey it is.
I refuse to believe that I am a victim of the naivete of youth. I also refuse to be a victim of the cynicism of experience.
What sprung this line of thinking was what happened this past weekend. Our trip to Texas was an amazing experience. It was an immersion in this sport that I haven’t had in quite sometime. I don’t think I can do justice to the joy I felt there with words alone. It was an experience dually exhausting and exhilarating. It was a reminder of why I love this sport, and more why I love teaching. To see the light click for dog and handler is one of the greatest experiences I’ve found. I hope to find that joy again in the near future… (Maybe in next week’s class?)
This weekend Bolt will return to the agility ring. I’m not sure exactly what that will bring, but I have been putting the best energy out in to this world for healthy minds and bodies that I can. Many hands have helped us heal this last month.
Here’s to what comes.