#1 We can be our own worst enemies/competitors
Watching Serena play yesterday at Round 2 of the Women’s Singles was hard!! I got so frustrated that I wanted to telepathically reach out to her and yell “SNAP OUT OF IT”!!!
During the first set, Serena was leading 3-0 and I was happy, thinking it was going to be an easy set. Then all of a sudden, she started losing both her serves and missing opportunities that normally came easy to her, to the extent I feared she’d lose the set (4-4, 4-5, 5-5, 5-6, 6-6, 7-6). The real battle watching this set was her mental struggle! She got so frustrated with herself that it showed in the way she was playing. I don’t imagine it helped that she’d lost the doubles match the day before 😦
I felt like I was watching Serena play against her mental self and lose.
This made me realize that in life we sometimes set very high standards, expectations for ourselves and when we feel that things aren’t going according to plan, it becomes a mental war within ourselves and we act out. The worry is that sometimes we get so far “in our heads” about how wrong things are going, we slip into a ‘mood’ or depression that may take too long to snap out of. This ‘mood’ then causes us to lose time gaining ground, lose focus on where we are at presently and what we can do to be better.
#2 It REALLY is up to US to break out of destructive mindsets weighing us down
Watching the match, I realised for the first time how ‘alone’ tennis players really are out on the court. In other sports, coaches are on the sideline waiting to encourage or guide their players during short breaks or timeouts, but with tennis, no such luck!
You have to reassure and guide yourself based on what you had already practiced with your coach
When you spend so long focusing on the negatives in your life, you are incapable of seeing all the room you have for positives or opportunities to advance. It is also important to remember that we wouldn’t always have people around to help get us out of such moods but to start building our mental defences to deal with such situations.
Building mental defence is something that takes time and I imagine Serena’s ability to break out of that mood came from years of training.
What do you do when faced with disappointments?
Personally, I try not to let the mood fester and quickly start strengthening my mental defences by:
- Reassuring myself of all God’s promises towards me
- Reminding myself of how far I’ve already come
- Surrounding myself with positive things (this could be in the form of media – what you are hearing, watching and reading) and people. Don’t isolate yourself!!! You need these positives to silence the negative voices in your head.
- Keeping busy – exercise, activities, volunteering etc
#3 We don’t always have the luxury of time
It took Serena (and almost cost her) one set to deal with her mental game during that match and when she finally dealt with it, her physical game got stronger and stronger! She became more confident and it SHOWED!
I believe this is equally true for us in our daily life struggles. When we finally learn how to deal with our mental challenges and overcome them, we begin to do, be and look better.
Some people have mantras they recite as a source of encouragement in desperate situations. I tend to pray for peace, which surpasses all understanding to calm my heart and mind in the knowledge and truth of who God is and what he has already done for me.
I believe acting out of a place of peace positions us to do great things than acting out of a place of worry and doubt.