Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pride in its place

In a previous post, I talked about how pride has little to no place in karate. In this entry, I'm going to talk about it again because it's starting to seem like a theme in my training.

It's proof that I really don't remember a thing that I've had two different people confirm that my concussion was caused by a punch and not a kick. I kept telling folks that it was a roundhouse kick (including the doctors) because I couldn't imagine a punch causing me this much pain and trouble, but I was really just guessing. It was actually a follow-up punch off the back hand that gave me the concussion.

I've been feeling okay, off and on. At my best, I'm just a little tired with a pretty bad headache. At my worst, I feel nauseated and disoriented on top of the tiredness and pain. It comes and goes. But in between the episodes of bad headache, I mostly just feel like a wimp. I keep thinking to myself, 'It was just a punch. You must not be very strong if a punch could do that much damage to you'.

I'm not treating myself fairly though, because honestly I'm really not that strong. I keep having to remind myself that the human body can only handle so much and that a punch to the temple, no matter how hard or soft, is damaging. I'm way too demanding of myself sometimes. I find it difficult to keep my expectations within the range of what can realistically be accomplished. And I think the problem is partially caused by an excess of pride.

If I wasn't proud, I wouldn't feel like a wimp because my expectations would be within the range of normal human capability. I wouldn't expect another person who got hit in the temple to make an immediate recovery. I'd expect them to have a concussion. I should therefore expect the same from myself. I am not Superman just because I feel like I should be. And why should I be? What makes me so much better than everybody else that I should be able to super-humanly handle head trauma? Nothing. I am human like everybody else...but for some reason, that isn't always enough for me.

Now don't get me wrong, pride can be good sometimes. That is, some types of pride can be positive and good for you...but it is not good when it makes you feel unnecessarily bad about yourself. Right now, I'm struggling with that kind of pride. I'm having a hard time putting it in its place...which should be somewhere else, where it can't get to me like it has.

Another factor in my being hard on myself is that I really just want this to be over with so that I can return to training. According to my doctor, I can't do anything; I can't even take a walk around my neighborhood until I make it through an entire week with no symptoms. I've been relatively active for a year and having to completely slow down and stop is a little bit discouraging and is making me feel restless.

Despite the negative tone of this entry, I really am trying to have a good attitude because I know that having a good attitude will speed up recovery and is generally more fun to live with. But honestly, in between my periods of optimism, I do feel a little bit discouraged. It's kind of like my headache: I feel good and then I feel lousy...and then I feel good again.

This whole ordeal is becoming a test of my patience and kindness toward myself. Both are being challenged, and perhaps both really need to be. I'll just have to do my best...and I hope I learn something from this that will help me in the future. And hopefully something will change as a result.

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