Head Space For Rent

3 Feb 2016 by gebhard, No Comments »

madiansI was recently asked if: “Is there anything you did to get more comfortable with tournaments, like dealing with anxiety.

I too get nervous, fearful, and anxious. It’s important to know that your feelings are valid, it’s just a part of being you. Since we seldom get the option of being someone else, we must do what we can.

I won’t give advice like “Just turn them off” or “Compartmentalize them, so you won’t feel them” That’s never worked for me. I must take things head on, and see if I can find the source of why the feeling exists.

On Tournament days, the worst time is normally when I’m in the bathroom changing into my fighting clothes. Normally I’m alone without anyone to distract me from my thoughts.  Self doubt starts to creep in. Before long I’m thinking thoughts like:

“Wow my stomach hurts, maybe I should not do the first tournament, give it time to settle. No big deal, I’ll just fight later. Or do pickups. I love pickups.”
OR
“Ouch…my shoulder is acting up again. No one would blame me for not fighting if I’m hurting.”

Feelings of doom set in. I get butterflies in my stomach, maybe I even get a little light headed.

“Did I just spend x number of hours in a car?” “After getting here, am I really not going to play today?” “I’ll keep putting on my armor, and if i’m still feeling sick when I’m done, then I’ll consider calling it off.”

Then the internal conversation starts.

“Okay self, why are you feeling this way? Years ago you never felt this way. You just went out there and had fun, why is this a problem now?”

“I didn’t need to do well years ago.”

“So now you have something to prove?”

“I guess not. No. But people know me now.  They think I’m good. I might disappoint them if I don’t do well.”

“Are you suggesting it’s more worthy to not fight today?”

“That’s ridiculous. Anything done in armor is more worthy.”

“I see.  Well, what’s the worse possible thing you think might happen.”

“A newbie gets a lucky shot, and I’m knocked out of the tournament immediately.”

“So… what does that really prove?”

“I guess that I have enough personal integrity not to devalue a good shot, even from a new fighter.”

“Well, there are a lot worse things to be known for. Sure your friends will make fun of you, but it happens to everyone sooner or later. What will happen to the new fighter? Are they going to run off and make him King for hitting you?”

“Of course not. I’m just not that big of a deal. I guess…at best I’d give that person a story to tell. I remember a new fighter who fought a King who was holding the list at event in the distant past.

The new fighter got a lucky shot, and hit the King. His Majesty accept the shot and asked the new fighter his name. The King sent the fighter back to the line for another turn. After he reached the King for another pass, the King once again sent the new fighter by name to return to the line. The new fighter had no more lucky shots, but had a great day he boasted about for years afterward.”

“And so what did you learn from this?”

“His Majesty’s willingness to accept a shot, and to remember the new fighter’s name, forever left a positive image in the new fighter’s mind, even if he had trouble sitting down for a day.”

“So what’s the problem again, I forget.”

“I forget too.”

“How do you feel?”

“Pretty good.”

“I think there is a tournament to be fought, and it’s going to be amazing!”

Sometimes it takes a little Bravery to overcome the dread. However Bravery isn’t based on never feeling fear but rather on how we deal with the feeling we have.

If we take the time to find out why we have a particular feeling, maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. In that moment of honest self appraisal, perhaps a change can be made and a great deed done.

You never know what will happen if when you are willing to give it your best shot.


Picture provided by: Keiley Duchem

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