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From home plate to the Iron Throne

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The most important person to forgive is often yourself

If baseball isn’t your thing, kindly bear with us – there is a point to this that goes beyond baseball and bears directly on the struggles we each face every day.

In sports news recently, the Toronto Blue Jays bumped outfielder Teoscar Hernandez down to the Triple A league. His performance at bat (the offensive side of the game) hit a new low in recent outings. For Blue Jays management, having Hernandez play a season back at a more junior level may help him regain his confidence and come back stronger. Take a step back to get two steps ahead.

But even all-stars strike out more often than not while at bat. Take Roberto Alomar, the Jays’ best ever hitter. His batting average is .307. That means out of every 1,000 times at bat, he only hit the ball 307 times. That’s not 307 home runs either, that’s just 307 times out of 1,000 hitting the ball at all.

‘I hated myself’

Now for a game of an entirely different sort – Game of Thrones. This isn’t about whether you love or hate how the epic HBO fantasy series ended on May 19. Instead, we want to focus on the personal struggles of Maisie Williams – the actress who plays Arya Stark.

Earlier this month, Williams candidly spoke during a podcast about how the fame of being on a hit show through her teens negatively impacted her mental health. Her story is a cautionary for all teens and parents of teens, where she allowed criticisms of her as an actress and even a person on social media get under her skin. So much so that she would fixate on those negative comments and seek out the miserable feeling they aroused.

“I went through a huge period of my life where I’d tell myself every day that I hated myself,” she said. “It got to the point where I’d be in a conversation with my friends and my mind would be running and running and running and thinking about all the stupid things I’ve said in my life and all the people who’ve looked at me a certain way.”

What point are we trying to make with these two stories?

Whether you are a professional athlete, a famous actor/actress or a “regular” person, we all struggle. We put pressure on ourselves and feel pressure from others, whether it’s real or imagined. For many people, the more they achieve in life, the more they feel the stress of having to live up to the expectations of others. The sense that one must continue to be successful (by whatever definition) and build on that success can have a dire effect on mental health.

That’s why it is so important to balance the tough love for one’s self with a little compassion and forgiveness.

That’s particularly important if you are trying to change your life for the better and suffering setbacks. We see it all the time, and have most definitely experienced it ourselves, how easy it is to beat yourself up when you don’t get to the gym like you promised yourself you would, or, for whatever reason, fail to reach this month’s weight loss goal. You may suffer a sense of failure and may even think others are seeing you as a failure, too. But most of the time, our harshest critics are ourselves.

Get up, try again

Too much self-recrimination breeds a defeatist mindset that makes it all too easy to give up. You never fail at something until you stop trying – this may be a cliché, but that’s only because it’s true.

Sure, there may be setbacks and stumbling blocks along the way, but only through persistence has anything worth accomplishing been accomplished. Just like the all-star baseball player who only hits the ball about 30 per cent of the time, don’t let a swing and miss make you lose your confidence or your commitment. Don’t hate yourself for falling short, or stress over what other people might be thinking.

If you are trying to achieve a health and fitness goal and feeling discouraged, come talk to us and we may be able to connect you with resources in the Kanata area that can help.

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