Are you being toxic with yourself?Nov 14, 2023
When it comes to competition, maintaining a positive mindset is often championed as the golden ticket to success - after all, nothing positive comes from a negative mindset! But is there such a thing as "too positive?" Or "too grateful?" Sorta. Both positivity and gratitude can go to the toxic dark side, especially when used as a weird Band-Aid.
Imagine this: You're at a trial, things aren't going well, and someone cheerfully says, "Just smile and think positive thoughts! Everything happens for a reason!" Sound familiar? That's toxic positivity in action. It's when we push aside genuine emotions like frustration, disappointment, or even anger in favor of pasting on a smile and pretending everything is okay.
In our world, toxic positivity might manifest as ignoring mistakes or setbacks, brushing them off with a forced grin, and suppressing the very real emotions that come with competition—like the frustration of a missed cue or the disappointment of not meeting a goal. It can create an environment where genuine growth and learning take a back seat to false positiveness.
Now, let's talk about toxic gratitude. Gratitude is fantastic—there's no denying that. But when it becomes toxic, it's like putting a shiny cover on genuine struggles. For instance, you're grateful for the opportunity to compete, which is awesome! But, using gratitude as a shield to dismiss real challenges or frustrations can be detrimental. It's the mindset of, "I should be grateful, so I can't complain about anything."
In dog sports, toxic gratitude might look like downplaying the difficulties of training or competition by saying, "I should be thankful just to be here," not addressing areas that need improvement or voicing valid concerns for fear of seeming ungrateful. It also can pop up when we compare our struggles with another's, such as comparing your tears over an NQ with someone's loss or injury. Your feelings are valid AND her feelings are valid - it's not a competition, nor do you need to gloss over your challenges.
Navigating a Healthy Competitive Mindset
So, how do we avoid these toxic versions of positivity and gratitude while staying in a positive mindset?
First, acknowledge your feelings. It's okay to feel frustrated, disappointed, or even angry when things don't go as planned. Embrace these emotions - they're part of the journey.
Next, strike a balance. Cultivate a mindset that embraces positivity and gratitude while allowing space for genuine experiences. Acknowledge the challenges without letting them overshadow your appreciation for the sport and the opportunities it brings. Remember, you can feel multiple feelings!
Lastly, seek growth. Use setbacks and challenges as learning experiences and feedback. Embrace a mindset that focuses on improvement rather than perfection.
A healthy competitive mindset involves embracing both the highs and lows, acknowledging emotions, and using gratitude and positivity as tools for growth rather than masks for genuine experiences.
Remember, it's not about suppressing emotions or pretending everything is perfect - it's about finding the beauty in the imperfections and using them to become better handlers and stronger competitors.
Here's to fostering a positive, growth-oriented mindset that elevates our experiences and supports those around us in healthy ways.
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