The dreaded Double Bagel.
I learned tennis as an adult, and played my first ever singles match this week. It did not go... great for me. But, I'm proud of the way I played, the other woman just played better.
Luckily for us, this isn't a blog about how to win at tennis. If it was, we'd all have some re-evaluating to do...
But it IS a blog about paying attention, about staying close. To yourself, to your thoughts, emotions, and how you show up.
I will spare you the tennis-related lessons I learned, of which there are several, and instead focus on an unexpected bright spot in this otherwise humiliating smack-down of a tennis match.
My 9 year old sons, Patrick and Connor, came to cheer me on after their soccer practice.
From the sidelines (is that even what you call them in tennis?), I heard the following:
✨ You got this mommy! Yes, I still make them call me mommy ;)
✨ Take three deep breaths! (Said while miming deep breathing)
✨ Visualize yourself winning the point! (They literally said this)
We shared (several...) conspiratorial smiles that in one small gesture said, "Eeks, it's not going so great, is it? But I love you and I'm on your side," and brought much needed levity to the situation, and deep warmth to my heart.
They gave me the speech of a lifetime on the way home:
✨ They were proud of me for putting myself out there
✨ They said I played really well, and I should be proud of me for my efforts
✨ They reminded me that having fun was the most important thing
✨ They shared times that they lost and felt discouraged, and how it's a crummy feeling that they can relate to (be still my heart)
✨ We laughed about how it's actually impressive to lose so fully and completely
You guys.... my heart grew three full sizes in that car.
To hear the words that my husband Dave and I so often speak to them echoed back to me transformed the situation from embarrassing and defeating, to connecting and inspirational.
It feels AMAZING to be on the receiving side of that kind of positivity, kindness, and love.
How lucky we are to be able to give it out so freely.
What you do matters.
✨ How you show up matters
✨ Your words matter; the ones you speak out loud to others and especially the ones you say quietly to yourself
✨ How we deal with challenging situations, defeats and losses, as well as how you handle the wins and celebrations... it all matters
But how often are we showing up intentionally, the way we want to with friends, co-workers, family members...?
With understanding, patience, kindness and compassion even when your husband isn't making the bed the way you would (ie he should), when the kids make a mess at breakfast, or when your co-worker shows up late to the meeting?
We're on autopilot.
There is no mindfulness, no space for even a single breath before our (often regrettable...) reaction which typically includes some fun combination of frustration, yelling, huffing and puffing, and perhaps aggressive remaking of beds ;)
But when we bring intention, when we recognize that what we do matters and has an important ripple effect on those around us, we get to pause, take a breath and show up, on purpose, the way we want to.
We're all set on the negative and critical habitual reactions, let's work on the pause, the mindfulness, the stillness instead, and notice what changes ✨
It's available to all of us.
PS ~ While it's lovely to hear words of encouragement and kindness from others, remember that you get to speak them to yourself as well. You talk to yourself more than anyone else, choose your words wisely. Note the ripple effect on you, and those around ✨
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