MUSINGS AND THOUGHTS
Ever had a bad day or even a miserable one? I’ve been having a bad week this week and it’s not a great feeling.
One of the most profound concept I have ever come across comes from Brian Tracy’s Change Your Thinking Change Your Life. The book contains a lot of sound principles and the one that impacted me most is the concept of Self Ideal versus Self Image.
We go to movies and root for the hero and sometimes we fantasize and idealise that we are the heroes we are rooting for. Growing up, I used to daydream that I was the Jedi Knight destined to save the galaxy or the archeologist adventurer off to far away lands in my hat and bull whip or even the underdog boxing hopeful having to fight against all odds. It makes me feel good to become the hero, even if it is only in my mind.
The Self Ideal is WHO WE WANT TO BE. It includes amongst other things, the values, principles and outcomes that we hold dear to us. If you like, it’s about the super ideal person that we think ourselves to be in the future.
Everyday we go through stuff. Some good. Some bad. Some within our control. Some beyond it. But always we have the power to choose what we do or think. We can either react or respond. However way we react or respond, we sometimes (often times actually) have a judgement on that respond.
The Self Image is IS WHO WE PERCEIVE WE ARE BASED ON OUR RESPONSE. It includes our judgement on our thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviour.
Inevitably, sometimes we react in a way that is contrary to our Self Ideal. If I were a Jedi Knight, then anger is not a way a Jedi Knight response. If I were Indiana Jones I would look at all problems and focus on finding a way out of the death trap. If I were Rocky I wouldn’t give up.
And this is where the third self comes in which is called the Self Esteem.
The Self Esteem depends on HOW ALIGNED OUR SELF IMAGE AND SELF IDEAL ARE.
When the Self Ideal and Self Image or not aligned, then Self Esteem goes down.
When the Self Ideal and Self Image are aligned, the Self Esteem goes up.
It also follows that one reason we feel terrible (i.e. our Self Esteem is down) is because of a misalignment between who we want to be and who we think we are.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last dew days ever since I found myself to be unhappy. Being unhappy at something or someone is easier to deal with but it seems that I am just generally unhappy.
So I’ve been thinking about this through the Self Ideal versus Self Image concept and I’ve discovered a possible explanation for my general unhappiness.
One of the most important values that I hold dear is INTEGRITY which I define as being true to myself and honouring my thoughts.
Lately, I’ve been compromising my integrity a lot. I do regard myself as a man of principles and I hold myself and others around to these principles. Maybe an argument can be made that I shouldn’t be holding others to these principles but and there is some truth in that argument. But in a situation where the upholding of principles is a key part of the environment, I should not hesitate to remind others of the principles and in fact, under normal situations, I would have no hesitation to do so.
But somehow, on this occasion I modified by behaviour.
Because I had feared of being rejected.
Because I didn’t want to upset people.
Because I wanted to be liked.
And because of these reasons, I did not honour my thoughts. My Self Ideal and my Self Image are no longer aligned and therefore my Self Esteem has gone down.
Of course, we can say that there’s in nothing wrong with wanting to be liked or not wanting to upset people. But when it’s done at the cost of our values and principles, something is bound to give in.
VALUES and PRINCIPLES are values and principles because they canot be compromised.
Anyway, I have to rectify that in the next few days. Let’s see what happens when I do.
If you feel unhappy and couldn’t put a finger on the cause, maybe think about your Self Ideal and Self Image. There could be out of alignment. Align them back and see what happens. How? Well, go back to your Self Ideal and ask yourself, how should I have behaved differently according to my Self Ideal. And when you find that out, ACT on the thought and see what happens.
I wrote yesterday that I am feeling some pain in my left shoulder and left ankle. I didn’t want to risk further aggravating my ankle injury so as tempted as I was today to run, I didn’t and went on the elliptical trainer instead. I spent an hour on it and went all the way up to resistance level 12 (maximum is 16). The elliptical is low impact and high power (an the higher resistance setting). It was a great workout and I was careful to keep an eye on my left ankle. Luckily, it held up quite well and I find that the pain has subsided a little from the workout. This is a good sign as it means that getting the blood circulating in the area was making it less painful. So light exercise is good for my ankle and I will focus on low impact workouts like the elliptical trainer, cycling as well as swimming (if my shoulder holds up and it should as it feels better now).
INJURY PREVENTION & TRAINING TIPS
Unless the injury comes from an event (such as a bad fall), injuries often develops through time. The pain that we feel in our knees or ankles or any other body parts do not suddenly appear. They usually develops over time and therefore we have to pay particular attention to how our body feels. We need to pay attention to that little ‘niggle’ of a pain we feel on our knee or that slight irritation we feel on the shoulder and that littlest of discomfort we feel in a joint. If we don’t, it could overtime (maybe days or weeks or even months) developed into a full blown injury.
When it comes to injuries I have a policy of ‘zero tolerance to pain’ which basically means that I have to pay attention to any slight pain or discomfort and when that happens, I have to check my technique, or shoes, or riding position and make corrections as necessary and rest if all else fails. It’s because of this I’ve been able to keep myself injury free. So my current ankle pain deserves to be treated with respect and I’m keeping an eye on it. As I said, I’m going for low impact workouts in the next few days to give the ankles a rest. Maybe I’ll go for a short run later on in the week. It should disappear by then.
In the meantime, I have to check my technique again. In last night’s run I was using my Vibram Five Fingers so maybe that’s the cause. So I’ll switch back to my Nike Free and see if there’s a difference.
So, pay attention to pain. Pain is your friend. It tells you something is wrong and you should pay attention to it.