The other day a friend was asking me about rowing. I talked about how much I was enjoying it. She’s a runner by habit and expressed concern about the technical skills required to row. She asked how much coordination rowing required. My mother smiled and said it couldn’t take that much because I could do, right? And then she looked at me for affirmation.
I smiled back, a bit puzzled, and then realized she’d said that not to be mean, my mother is very kind and gentle, but because I used to describe myself as uncoordinated. It was part of my story of myself as a non athletic book loving person. I’d been calling myself uncoordinated since elementary school.
Funny. I don’t think that at all any more. Rowing, in fact, takes lots of coordination and while I’m not a natural, I’m doing okay. But Aikido takes lots of coordination too and I’ve made great progress there. Ditto cycling. Ditto track cycling. And cross country skiing. And Olympic lifting.
I think it’s safe to say both that I’m no longer uncoordinated and that I know it.
Being uncoordinated turned out not to be a deep fact about me. It was something I could fix and change by learning things that required coordination. I’ve been wondering about the role negative stories we tell about ourselves play in shaping our lives. Tracy wondered recently if she should stop telling herself that she could run but that she’d never be fast.
I know now I’m not uncoordinated but I should have figured it out years ago.
Do you have any negative stories you used to tell yourself that you realized weren’t true?