For those of us who love sports, we succumbed to the temptation of following the Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro. I confess being taken away by the precision, attention to details, discipline but even more by all the emotions displayed by athletes from different parts of the world. I realized one more time emotions are a universal experience we are all very well familiar with. I was touched by athletes’ happiness, sorrow and joy. I reacted to their victories as well as to their disappointments. I guess, there are things we might not have in common with athletes, but there is certainly a human experience that cannot be missed and that is our identification with universal feelings.
I think the Olympic Games touches so many sensitive areas within us. We all need others' affirmations highlighting our goodness and competence. We want to be seen by others in the most real way either as having success as an individual or as part of a dedicated team. We want our stories of identification with cultural, ethnic or personal values to be seen by the rest of the world as a sign that we do matter.
Athletes also try to avoid feelings of failure by trying to win every challenge. They, however, have to overcome many losses before they can win a game. Many of these Olympians expressed very openly these feelings of frustration and loss on camera. Failing to win a competition at the Olympic Games is so public and experienced by everyone as it is broadcasted to the entire world.
It is through competition that many doubts surface their consciousness regarding being good enough wondering if others have the capability to see their competence. While on the race track, the tennis court or the swimming pool, there is no other choice for athletes but to face the challenges, trust themselves and jump into the water. The fear of the unknown is not enough to hold them back from facing it because it is the only way they know they will win.
Aren't all these issues similar to what we have to face in life? We want to be seen and mirrored. We want to overcome our challenges, although, sometimes we are not sure if we want to face them. We want to avoid feelings of loss and failure. We want to win every single life battle. We later leave disappointed when we do not win as we wished. We get impatient with ourselves because we do not see results. We do not realize that it will take a long journey in order to attain what we are looking for. The real lesson for me, however, is the fact that we are all on the court playing in this life looking for life medals. In the meantime, we face disappointments and joys. One emotion is not better than the other. They are all part of the human experience and they need to be received with open arms. The value of the game is not the goal but the process. The real medal is to realize we all have been shaped by this game of life and to be able to experience all of it fully and deeply.
Picture Source Corbi Images
Merari E. Fernández Castro,