How many times have you been your own worst critic? How many times have you heard someone tell you that you have to stop beating yourself up? Out of all the times, how often did you listen and how often did you continue to do what they said, “Not to,” and continued to beat yourself up?
Life in the mind can be a hard place to get out of. The ideas of what I could have done or should have done can be endless. Worst is when the last word we say in a statement remains and sort of lingers in our mind, almost reverberating like an echo, and trailing like an unwanted thread, which we pull on to get rid of, but in the end, the thread just unravels us more and more. How many times have you allowed words to leave your mouth and instantly regretted what was said? You say something to fix your last word, only the hole digs deeper and you only feel worse.
Ever hear of emotional quicksand? Ever find yourself thinking your way into the muck? Next thing you know, you’re in too deep. And try as you might to get out, but the trick with quicksand is the harder you try, the quicker you sink. This is overthinking.
Ever feel like you’re sinking? Ever feel like you can’t catch your breath? It’s like you’re drowning in a form of emotional suffocation and no one seems to get it. You just want to break away, so you can get out and breathe.
You constantly overthink. You question everything. The doubt list is long. The worry list is longer. And then someone hysterically comes along and says, “You have to stop beating yourself up.”
I am a firm believer in self-assessment. I believe that owning an honest evaluation of me and my performance is important. This is how I learn to improve; however, an honest assessment is an honest assessment.
I cannot over-analyze or overthink my performance. I can only adapt and adjust. I remember a poor judgment call of mine, which resulted in a less than favorable outcome after one of my presentations. I can feel it now. The mistake, I mean. This wasn’t even a mistake as much as it was a blemish to me. There were so many positive outcomes from this day, but yet, my thoughts were snagged on one dilemma.
My feedback was positive. The event went well. My presentation was well received. So then why would I beat myself up? Is it because I wasn’t flawless? If this is so, then is my performance based on passion or based on my ego? The ego is a fragile thing. The ego is like a piece of porcelain, afraid of vulnerability, afraid to swing and miss, and afraid to be seen as imperfect and afraid that an imperfection will somehow be exposed and result in a lower personal value.
I am firm believer in self-assessment. This means I believe that I assess myself. I look at my performance so that I can reset, readjust and retake my shot.
I think of a pitcher at a baseball game. Not every pitch is a strike. Sometimes the batter gets a hit. Sometimes, the batter knocks the ball out of the park. Either way, another batter appears in the batter’s box. The pitcher has to treat this as a new event. In fact, the pitcher has to treat every pitch like a new event. Otherwise, the pitcher overthinks. Otherwise, the pitcher throws on the side of caution. Otherwise, the pitcher thinks their way into the muck. Rather than play with heart, the pitcher throws out of ego. This is also another way a pitcher is psyched out. This is how people lose before they even start the game.
I used to find myself stuck in the muck. This is what overthinking does. Instead, rather than try to correct what I’ve done, I look toward the effort of what I’m about to do next. I have to pay attention to what I do and not what I’ve done. This is how life works. I cannot continue to look back. It’s time to move forward. This is the only way I can advance. This is how I avoid the emotional quicksand.
Don’t get me wrong. I am human. I will always be human, which means sometimes I will pitch to the best of my ability, throw my heart out, but sometimes, my performance will come up short. And that’s okay. I saw where I need to improve. I assessed myself and now I have a new event in front of me. It is best that I deal with the event at hand or I will just repeat myself and become stuck in the ideas of my poor performance and only perform poorly.
Even champions lose, which is what makes them champs. I say this because lose if they may, at least a champion will still have the wherewithal to get back up and win again.
To me, that’s a champ. Win or lose, a champion only looks to play at their best.
And me, I want to be a champion.
How about you?