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).
With out question the hardest technique to master is the one called self. The most important part and it takes all of us a life time to understand some part of it. And the whole way we fight with ourselves to master it. We lash out when we should stay. We idol when we should move. And when everything
correlates at the right time or so it seems. It just flows and everything makes sense