In my 20 or so years as a competitive athlete I have finally started to recognize some patterns about myself. One being – whatever comes up, must come down. I like to think of myself as a very strong and generally a positive and a motivated person. A few years back, I was asked by my sports psychologist (when I used to see one on a regular basis as a cyclist) if I have really ‘bad lows’ to counteract my ‘high highs’. Back then I couldn’t quite see it. But now I am realizing that in fact I do have ‘bad lows’ (as most of us do, I am sure).
To me, having ‘high highs’, relates to being excited, passionate, and motivated to train (and live in general). This usually happens prior to, and after competitions. I tend to go at a million miles an hour, which usually leads to over-training, over-competing and keeping on going, high as a kite on adrenaline. Yep, I am amazing at ignoring what my body and mind are telling me. Which is usually to SLOW DOWN, smell the roses and enjoy the process. This, I don’t often do, but instead beat myself up, probably just to prove to ‘everyone’ that I am not worthy. Really, this is quite egoistic of me… to assume that ‘everyone’ actually cares what I do or think.
Another interesting thing that happens during ‘the low’ is that NOTHING works. I will notice it in jiu jitsu first, but really it somehow correlates with work, relationships and friendships. Yep, during ‘the low’, I will swear to you that Marcelo Garcia doesn’t know anything, that Cobrinha’s moves just don’t work and that I am just not able and not good enough. At anything. I then usually have a mini break-up with BJJ, where I hate IT and IT hates me. What follows next is a brief period of feeling sad or depressed and maybe a hissy-fit and a cry here and there.
Looking at this situation from the outside, I would probably tell myself to suck it up and kick myself in the butt (pretty hard). But I am lucky to have Thiago and Lachie to just support me through it. Lachie more than anyone, knows that in a week I will come home happy, because Marcelo is the greatest person in the world and yes… x-guard works. (He might be just happy, because he gets to tell me ‘I told you so’).
So knowing all this when the dreaded ‘low’ met me just a week ago, I was kind to myself. I cancelled all training sessions, appointments and social events on Friday afternoon, hired 3 DVD’s, bought ice-cream and went to bed at 2pm. I allowed myself to feel depressed, knowing it is just an emotion and that whatever comes down, must also come UP. Yes, I still got sad, girly and sooked. But instead of feeling blue for a couple of weeks, it lasted a couple of days.
Learning to be patient and to love myself is much harder, but so much more important than being critical, harsh and negative. At 27, I am finally learning to recognize this. Yes, I am a little slow. So for now, I will lay off the ice-cream and get back to training…because I LOVE it (you guessed it, IT loves me back).