This is a topic usually saved for an athlete's memoir. But if you never make it to the professional level and you don't get asked to write a memoir that doesn't mean the issue still doesn't exist or permeate every aspect of your life. From the moment you score your first points, your brain has been signaling to you then when you do well at this game you get praised you get attention and you get recognition. It's not your fault. You had a lot of years of conditioning to reinforce the the lie that you are worthy, important, and loved because you can score a lot of points. Don't think I'm letting you off the hook that easy with that statement. It is your fault if you continue to live life that way.
In Abby Wambach’s book Forward, she talks about wanting to do well in soccer because it was a rare moment when her mom was actually nice to her and gave her attention. As the youngest of 7 she always felt like she had to live up to her siblings achievements. This let her down a vicious cycle of up and down. But Shannon, she achieved so much success as a soccer player. Yes, she did, but when soccer was over she spiraled out of control. If you haven't read her book please do, it's amazing.
They're athletes all over the world walking around basing their worth on their athletic gifts. It may not seem like such a big deal, but it is. This is a list of what goes on when a person feels like they don't matter.
If someone doesn't feel worthy themselves, they don't treat other people like they're worthy either.
They make poor decisions or no decisions at all
They numb their feelings with “distractions”
They continue to live in the glory days
They waste their potential
The information about athletes feeling unworthy and unimportant is out there. I want to focus on encouragement.
1. You have inherent worth because you are you.
Not to sound lofty, but if you never played your sport again, you would still have a place in society. You would still belong. You are important because you are apart of the greater human body.
2. External validation is useful, but it can also be a trap.
It’s like the carrot and the sick analogy. If you rely on external validation too much, you lose your sense of intrinsic value.
3. Focus on being a self-actualized person rather than trying to feel important.
A self actualized person exhibits these traits.
Efficient in how we perceive reality
Accepting of ourselves and of other people
Able to form deep relationships
Appreciative of life
Guided by our own inner goals and values
Able to express emotions freely and clearly
Self-actualization is a state in which people are at their very best. This article shares an interesting find from Maslow’s research on the subject.
There is no 4-step process. It takes time and constantly reminding yourself that you are worthy and important no matter what your current athletic status is.
What would you do if you felt worthy beyond your athletic talents? What would you attempt? Leave a comment below or reply directly to me.
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