I have found it really hard to understand and control emotions if I don't succeed at something that is important to me.
Things like not getting that job you really needed and were very keen on, or just losing a race, a game, or anything you wanted to win!
I wonder what we can learn from the Olympics? I was struck by Genevieve Gregson's reply, when asked how she felt about snapping her achilles tendon in the 3000m steeple chase when in sight of the finish line. It was also her birthday!
"I'm not OK yet but I will be" was her incredible response. Here she was on crutches, her hopes and dreams in tatters after many years of sacrifice and training. Her inner strength and self belief drove her to explain that she was already mentally working on a recovery and training plan, after surgery that would keep her on crutches for many months.
Of course it hurts big time when you fail for whatever reason. In races I often looked for all sorts of excuses, or if I didn't get that job it was always that stupid company's fault and I didn't want the job anyway!
A while ago I changed how I responded, looking inside myself, remembering the success I have enjoyed, and even congratulating others who had beaten me. Is that called being a good loser? The real thing is, it made me feel much much better about losing, and the pain became manageable almost straight away. Call it karma, but a few years ago I lost a job application after interview and I was sure it was going to be me. I sent the company a nice email thanking them for the opportunity and reinforcing my interest in working with them. I allowed myself to feel pretty miserable.
Know what? They called me a week later, told me the other applicant was not suitable, and I got the job and loved it for four years!
Maybe instead of trying to run from pain, we should embrace it, lean into it, go through it instead of trying to go over it? When things fall apart, isn't that the opportunity to find what we are really made of?
I think Buddhists call it 'Suffering Properly' - let yourself feel pretty crappy, sit with your feelings but try to not let them force you into sudden actions you may regret later. Pretty soon you may start thinking about all the things you like about yourself (there are always lots of them if you look deep inside), and preparing for the future and another challenge!
I think I might have raved on a bit so please forgive me.
How do you handle things when you lose? Let me know!
Seeya, The Bro