Recognition is a step on the road to Management
I was playing badminton on Wednesday night, and I was rubbish. Not surprising really as I am rubbish at badminton anyway, and it was the first time I had played for about four weeks. Add to that the fact I have put on god knows how much weight over Christmas, I had been up at 6am that morning, cycled to work and back (5 miles each way), cycled to badminton (5 more miles), and I was never going to be on top form.
So I was having a terrible game, and as is usually the case, if one part of my life starts to dip and bring on negative feelings, my head decides to kick me when I’m down. As I bent down to pick up the shuttlecock I had failed to hit yet again, my internal critic was telling me of course I missed it, I’m shit at this game, I’m shit at all sports, I’m shit at everything, I’m shit at life, and then listed all of the ways I fail. And among the aspects of being that I cant handle, it decides to reinterpret past events to turn them into negatives, and to cast forward to future events yet to happen and tell me how shit they are going to work out. All of this kind of makes it hard to concentrate on the game and of course a downward spiral of failure increases.
Except that in the darkness was a flickering light. A tiny ember which told me that all this negativity was false, that my head was bullying me and I don’t have to listen. At that time I could hear the tiny voice and register it, but not act on it. After the game had finished though and I was cycling home, I focussed on the ember, tried hard to convince myself the one near-invisible speck of positivity was true and the enormous storm cloud was imaginary. It was hard but combined with a text conversation with a friend when I got home which cheered me up, I got past it.
This is a step, but only a small one. At the moment I can only reflect fully after the primary caused of my negativity has receded and then I can bring myself back. And even that won’t work as well every time. But one day I hope to be able to face the negativity while I am playing, or while I am at work and drowning in pressure, or while I am writing and struggling to move a scene forward, or while I am wallowing in the self-pity of recalling past failed or non-started relationships, and overcome it while it is still happening. That’s a distant hope, but one I am aiming towards. For now I am pleased that I can recognise it is happening even if I can’t fight it fully. Recognition is a step on the road to Management.
That last sentence sounds like a slogan a life coach or self-help manual would repeat, but it isn’t, it’s an assumption I have reached myself. And this is another key point on the mental and emotional journey I am on – I know that external influences can only go so far. I have a logical and ordered mind that only accepts its own evidence and I have to find the answers on my own. My search continues and the ember is still burning.