“It’s never about the events that happen in your life, but the way you play that in your mind that shifts your response” I said to a 13 year-old boy during our chat.
“Could you explain it aunty?” he asked.
This super energetic football player lost a match recently. His team captain told him, “It’s because of your carelessness we lost the game.”
His captain told this statement only once, however this boy was playing this statement a 100 times in his mind, every single day. This statement became his inner narrative. Gradually, he felt low and upset and as he continued to play the above statement in his mind (a million times) he felt guilty, not worthy of playing football. He started losing interest in studies too and got low grades.
Now as an observer, his parents thought maybe he is not paying attention to studies due to football practice and asked him to stop playing football. This led to increased guilt. His concentration levels dropped so much that last year he barely managed to pass.
His mom called me to work on his concentration and focus, but was that the real challenge, I wondered. Low focus was an outcome of what was going on in his mind, the continuous loop of-
“Because of you we lost the match.”
“You’re not fit to be in the football team”
“ Okay. Is there a voice that you trust a lot”, I asked him
He thought for a while and replied, “My mom. Whenever she says that things will be fine, I feel better. ”
“Fantastic. So for a moment…just for a moment can you stop playing the inner record? Can you do that?” I asked.
“It’s challenging…it doesn’t seem to stop.”
“Okay, so can you rewind it, quickly?” I asked
“Yes I can do that.”
“Awesome, so do that and as you’re rewinding it, I want you to now try to pause the voices. When you can rewind, you can pause too, can’t you?”
“Now add your mother’s voice as if she’s telling you, ‘It is okay, you lost just one football match. There are many more to come and so many more to win. You’re the best and I’m sure you will continue to focus and better your best. Things will be fine.’ You can hear your mother’s reassuring and calming voice, can’t you?” I asked.
When I was saying these statements, I could see him smiling. That moment I knew that something had shifted within him. I asked him to keep replaying his mother’s voice continuously in a loop, as if it was a song that he loved listening to.
45 minutes later when I finished the intervention, I asked him, “So when can I come to see your football match?”
He smiled and replied, “Very soon, Gayu aunty.”
That smile radiated confidence and a new belief that “He was the best”
We shape our life, not by the events that happen, but by replaying those old events a hundred or thousand times in our head, such that slowly it hampers our present. The best thing about the past is that it’s over. When our past overpowers our present, problems arise. Let the past stay where it is and let us focus living in the present, so we can build a better and empowering future.
So the next time if you observe some changes in your child’s behaviour or performance, try asking them- “What’s going on within?”
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Love and gratitude,