Photo by Matt Lee on Unsplash
Hi again all, I am sure by now you would have read my initial thoughts, "Tapping into Your Strength Reservoir" on historical life perspectives and accomplishments which often change as they become outdated. If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and pause to visit my Linkedin article on #PonderingTuesday. Pondering Tuesday is a thread from my Visual Journaling community prompt that ended up becoming a much longer piece than usual.
So I was talking about how endurance athletes and the corresponding athletic prowess that they have (athletes like Lynne Cox, who by the way is the fastest swimmer to swim across the English Channel as a teenager) has amazed me throughout my life and continues to still amaze me. These elite athletes have an uncanny ability to tap into their physical and mental reservoirs of endurance and strength in order to accomplish goals that we could only dream about every doing.
Recently though, I started thinking about this from another angle, particularly from the angle of supports and emotional process. It would seem to me that in order to accomplish some of the things these elite athletes are able to accomplish, there would need to be a point at which their body is screaming "stop" and yet they continue to push on past this stopping point.
It seems to me that in order to be able to accomplish feats that no one else has accomplished before, these endurance athletes would need to consistently push past their supports (physical, emotional, mental) in order to achieve the goal or task at hand. When I look at it from this angle, it makes me question just how "wonderful" these kinds of feats actually are...
I mean, on the one hand, I appreciate tenacity and perseverance as incredibly important traits to have if you're ever going to get anywhere in life or leave an important mark on the world. At the same time, one of the things that I consistently stress in my therapeutic work with clients is learning about supports and how to build more satisfying supports within, so that one can stay within their supports and readily recognize when they are "past their supports" in order to begin the work of getting back within a functioning range of support.
To this end, endurance athletes are living lives that look exactly opposite of when I see as essential for living a deeply satisfying life: that is, staying within supports. And getting oneself connected back to support when they've "pushed beyond".
So, it makes me question
how amazing these feats of strength really are-
sure, they make great press and who wouldn't want their name
in the record books for all time,
but at what cost?
Seems like many of these elite athletes have some kind of "break down" when it comes time to re-integrate into the world at large and put together a life after athletics. This certainly happens when someone sustains a physical injury and can no longer participate in their chosen activity or sport- there always is a transition and major shakeup in these athletes' lives.
I wonder if these "breakdowns" have anything to do with living in a state of always being pushed past their supports and now there is nothing to induce that kind of living and pushing past for them and so they get lost and break down. Seems to me like there might be some kind of connection there.
What are your thoughts and opinions about someone pushing past their supports and internal limits to accomplish incredible things that no one else has ever done? Is this a good idea or something that we should avoid? Do you think, pushing past supports has the ability to lead to long term satisfaction or might it be responsible for some of the distress these athletes experience later in life when they can no longer participate in their sport like they used to do? Have you ever pushed past your supports? How does that work for you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
But how about us? How can we start tapping into our mental strength reservoir? Some of the questions that popped up in my mind ended up being a week worth of journaling prompts! Grab one of your own for free, this topic seems like a rich conversation perfect for our journaling community.
So, take a moment to journal and reflect on this and then when you're finished, go ahead and share your thoughts in the community.
Thanks in advance for your input- your comments and feedback for the community which what make our Visual Journaling community so powerful.
Go gently forward.
~ Kate ~
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Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.