Building Self Esteem
Many years back when the film Chariots of Fire opened to slightly less than full houses it only indicated that people were yet to delve below the layers of meaning that the film had tried to project – it was indeed some time later that the world woke up to the beauty of the film’s story and its superb direction.
Human civilization has grown to the present state of heightened awareness of self realization as nations, communities, ethnicities and many other denominations on the basis of elements that bond people. Some base elements have been color, creed, land and language groups.
However it has been seen that the glory of sports has the capacity of creating bonds in a highly fragmented community divided by strife over social status or wealth.
If sports is seen today as such a great unifier, how well can it then work on building a bond within each individual, with the self.
Self Assessment and its Duality
An individual’s self esteem arises out of a two pronged assessment – one directly by the environment and another by the individual – who is impressed upon by the environment to look upon himself or herself in a particular way.
A major part of this assessment pattern is on the basis of the physicality and another on the psychological aspect. Sport is that element that hones the physical reality which then creates the feeling of self worth.
We may be sometimes happy with what we find and sometimes consider our deficiencies as highly debilitating. Sports can be that catalyst which can create the finest equilibrium that we can arrive at under such circumstances.
What Makes Sports an Ideal Self Esteem Booster
The three pillars of achievement in any sport align perfectly with the need of a better level of self esteem-strength, attractiveness through achievement, and performance. Any person who suffers from low self worth believes he is unable to reach goals. Sports allow you to set your own goals and achieve them not under duress but gradually at your own pace.
But studies have shown that children who are sent to the sports arena even if they do not master any kind of sport do end up being far tougher mentally and handle stress and failures better.
A child who at a young age understands team building, finding a suitable partner, sharing the ball and the court, and recovering from falls or a sit-out and bench time-knows all about life.
The sports arena is in fact a microcosm of what in reality causes most of the childhood or adulthood stressors that further decides our self esteem. Sports teaches us to take a step at a time, strategize effectively, fall back when there is impending failure and prepare for failure when it comes.
Acceptance of Failure
When the coach gives an ability judgment there is always more training that follows and since the stress is not as high as in academics, a child takes to it more easily. To him that single boost of training will generate better confidence.
Sports thus teaches you that there is life after failure.
Social acceptance and Sports
One of the deadliest fallout of a slipping self esteem is the feeling of non-acceptance and being left out.
Sports as an arena embraces all – it allows individual to train, to improve to prove not for anyone else but for themselves and for their own worth. It is a method of channelizing extra energy and using it to become physically more attractive. It helps explore the innumerable possibilities of each and every sinew of the body.
However one must never take sports as an achievement bound activity. Sports when combined with high expectations cannot bear the necessary positive psychological outcomes and will be highly detrimental.
Pointers for Making Sports Work Positively
Prepare to focus on small goals – apart from the focus on self and how even the smallest achievement needs to be celebrated, it must at all times be remembered that it is ultimately for the love of the game that one should be playing.
Skill development need not be comparative
Yes, it’s fine to have a poster or two of high achievers as your motivations for performing better, but even small skill set if honed must be looked at as an achievement.
Sports will always expose you to people who are faster, taller, bigger, have more strength than you – yet it also gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you too played the field!
Skip the big words
Yes, when it comes to praise – there is absolutely no need to give too much as it only makes the individual feel that other days were not as good – there must always be a balance – competence, scores, mastery, self – pride and adulation are all extremes of emotions that somehow makes us lose our centering.
Admiration and praise is important but more important than that is when a fallen athlete gets up to complete the last leg of the race- it shows grit and determination – two qualities that rank far higher in their ability to boost self wroth and play a major role in the long run to help keep the confidence always flying high.
Feeding self goals
The finest benefit any training for any sport is in realizing his own goals – the goals he or she sets for her own self.
This maybe to begin with – but the next step of stretching it to competitive sports is then taken needing training and the industrious use of the body which pushes you to quite another high – this training is more important and teaches you how powerful your mind can be when it comes to higher goals.
Perceived notions get challenged, the bar is way higher and the climb much steeper. The very preparation for this – is an achievement in itself.
The preparation for victory as well as the preparation for failure are the two learning outcomes that any sportsman must be able to embrace with equal grace-that is the only premise on whose basis sports can truly boost self esteem.