Another Olympic Moment and Boundaries

Speaking our needs is an important part of defining ourselves. If speaking up for yourself is a challenge, then you probably aren’t well defined. You haven’t fully established who you are independent of those around you. You do not experience a solid sense of self. The words of others most likely affect you deeply. Others seem to have the power to make or break your day. The opinions of others hold the key to your value and worth as a human being. If that’s happening for you, it is a miserable place in which to live. I know, it’s part of my story.
Through therapy, healthy friendships, practice and deepening my understanding of who God is and who I am in relationship to Him, I have experienced the exhilaration of a solid definition of who I am. I can speak my mind, even if it’s not in synch with others’. I am fine tuning my unique gifts and abilities. Saying “no” when I mean no and “yes” when I mean yes have come much more easily to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I have not reached perfection here. I’m certain I will be working on my boundaries all my life, but I have experienced healing and growth. I believe you can, too! It’ll take hard work. You may need therapy and a support group. You will definitely need good, supportive friends to encourage you on your journey.
Sometimes you will have to endure uncomfortable situations perhaps feeling like you’re making a fool of yourself. When I saw Mao Asada, the figure skater from Japan, compete last night, this came to mind. She is an elegant and accomplished skater. Last night was not her night. She did not execute her jumps yet she skated beautifully until the very end. She didn’t quit. She stayed on that ice. Sometimes, while we are making a mess of things, not using our skills or feeling really out of place using them, it’s important to remember never give up. Never quit. Keep moving along, even if you have to pick yourself up off the ice after a horrendous fall.

An Olympic Moment

I am not a faithful follower of sports but I do enjoy watching various competitions from time to time and of course, I’m taking in some of the Olympic events. While watching Shaun White Tuesday night, a thought came to me that I believe applies to many of us. Our mind is most of our battle. Here is this amazing athlete who has consistently been at the top of his field. I love watching him not only for his visually effortless execution of difficult moves but also for his personality. He always seems to have a smile on his face and appears to embrace life with passion. He is gracious even in his losses, hugging and congratulating his competition in what must have been a deeply disappointing moment for him. That night I saw a person who can deliver, hands down above the rest, do something quite uncharacteristic. It wasn’t a horrendous performance, just simply not enough to win. And it was not because he no longer has the ability. He proved himself clearly in the qualifying round. It was because something got into his head that got in the way.
Isn’t that how it is for many of us? We know we can keep our anger from destroying those around us. We know we are equipped to do our job well. We know we can speak from an authentic place. We know who we are and what we are ok with. We know others don’t define us. We know we can stay away from our addiction. And yet, moments arise when all the positive things we know go out the window and the negative voices are so loud we do the very thing we have worked so hard not to do.
Sometimes we throw down a gold medal performance, sometimes we get fourth and sometimes we are dead last. Anything less than what we are capable of can be utterly discouraging. We can feel so defeated we want to quit and walk away from all of our hard work. Remember, it is just a moment in a compilation of millions of moments. This one moment does not define you. I will not remember Shaun White placed fourth at the 2014 Olympic Games. I will remember his smiling face, his zeal for life and mostly, how he will live on as one of the greatest snowboarders in history.