Reversing the Poles

Last week I was watching Andy Murray play Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, and during the match Murray reverted to his tendency to angrily mutter in the direction of his player box when things weren't going his way. I realized that I see that same sort of behavior all the time in the sports I practice and play. In fact, it happens so often that I don't even think twice about it. Someone muttering angrily to himself after mishitting a shot on the practice tee? Totally normal.

After a bit of reflection, I noticed that what I don't see is people talking animatedly with themselves when things go right. Indeed, when I took a moment to imagine someone doing so, the image I saw in my mind's eye was of the kind of person at whom we either stare or else consciously look away.

How strange, I thought. We take it as normal when someone watches a good shot and then moves on to the next one but scolds himself when he hits a bad shot; but the opposite--letting the bad ones go but offering himself out-loud congratulations when things go right--seems weird, even a bit crazy.

From an energy perspective, by engaging in these behaviors, aren't we leaving ourselves little room for growth? We shrug off the positives, giving ourselves no space to be delighted and thus rejecting the energetic expansion on offer, while meeting negative experiences either by constricting our flow around them or by expending extra energy in self-recrimination. Notice how insidious this is. As non-flow gets more and more ingrained, change becomes gets harder and harder.

This week I have been exploring a new approach: letting the negative things pass with as little extra energy as possible (like a cloud passes in front of the sun) while trying to open my energy, as in gratitude, when I experience the positive ones. I'm finding this surprisingly difficult. But with growth as the goal, surely this is the better approach.

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