This is actually from a Facebook post I made a year ago today.
I joined a rec league basketball team with some friends this year. I hurt my knee within the first two minutes of my first game. I came out, then went back in to try and tough it out…and hurt it again. So, now I’m wearing multiple braces and they seem to be working!
Here’s what I’m noticing: I’m very competitive. More competitive than this old, out-of-shape body will allow me to be on the court. Also, playing on a team is a completely different experience than just playing 21 with a group of dudes. In that case, the only person I’m letting down if I don’t perform well is myself. I put a LOT of pressure on myself to perform and I hate making mistakes that hurt the team. And I’ll admit that there was one shot in particular that I heaved towards the basket last night where I thought to myself, “That had to look TERRIBLE! I’m not representing the limb-different community very well!” Missing shots and turning the ball over are totally normal things, but I’ve internalized such immense pressure to perform from as far back as I can remember.
One of the things I’m learning now as an adult is how often I was told as a kid that I could do everything everybody else could do, which, in most cases was true! What I’m realizing, though, is that I internalized it as “I MUST be able to do everything everybody else can do and I have to be able to do it even better than them to PROVE that I’m not less than.” Ugh. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid. What I would tell little Ryan now is, “Give it your best shot and if you can’t do it, that’s ok! We all have a hard time doing some things. And missing shots or turning the ball over are normal things that everybody does from time to time.” It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to not be able to do something. That’s normal.
I feel like there needs to be a balance. I’m all in on determination and effort and finding creative ways to accomplish things! But we also need to understand that “failure” is a part of life. It’s normal and it doesn’t lessen our worth. Accept it, grow from it and move forward! Let me know what you think!