The other night I was watching “Chelsea -Dinner Party: Good Sports” on netflix. Chelsea was sitting down and having dinner with some of the greatest athletes in the world; Laila Ali, Aly Raisman, Russell Wilson, and Kurt Warner. They talked about many things- nerves, success, life – but the thing that intrigued me the most was when Chelsea mentioned that she thought that having an instance occur when you lose your confidence can be a good thing. This got me thinking, do I agree with Chelsea when she says that losing your confidence can be a good thing?
Throughout my swimming career, and life, I have had many instances where my confidence has been tested, and even lost. I have had a major surgery, several injuries, and cancer. I have won an NEC title, broke numerous records, and anchored relay teams to wins. However, what do all of these things have in common? The loss of confidence.
Many people may agree that coming back from a major surgery, injuries, or illness may warrant a shake in self-confidence.
Coming back from a major surgery took five weeks. I was not allowed to swim for five weeks, and it was the longest five weeks of my life. When I got back in the pool I had no confidence in what I was doing. I felt weak and out of shape (which I was). I had to re-learn how to swim. I didn’t do a start for a month after I got back in the pool, until the first race I did post surgery. Throughout my injuries i’ve lost confidence as well. I’ve been unsure of what I could do in the pool. I didn’t want to make things worse, but I also didn’t know if I would be back swimming times I did before I got injured. All of these things, and more, have added up to me losing confidence in myself.
My sophomore year of college I broke numerous pool and school records. Each record was an amazing accomplishment, each of which I am proud of. However, each time after I got in and swam and didn’t reach those “record” times, I lost confidence. I didn’t know why I wasn’t swimming as fast as I did the week before, or the year before. I didn’t think I was good enough anymore. After winning the 500 free at NECs people expected me to swim the 500 all junior year. But that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t seem to swim a decent 500 free to save my life. The amount of confidence I had going into the 500 free at NECs my sophomore year was probably the most confident I had ever been when it came to swimming, especially when swimming an “off event”. I knew it was mine to lose, because it wasn’t my race to swim. Even now, I laugh at the fact I won it because I shouldn’t have swam it in the first place. But junior year it, the way I knew how to swim a 500, wasn’t there and it really messed with my confidence.
There are many instances that have given me a boost of confidence and there are many times that I have lost confidence. However, I agree with what Chelsea Handler said on here show, its is a good thing to lose your confidence sometimes. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you looking ahead at things you can do to gain back that confidence. No matter what a person faces in life, if they do it as best as they can, there is nothing to not be confident about. You may not be doing it as well as the person next to you and you might not even be doing it correctly, but if you try your hardest that is all a person can give.
So yes, I have gone through some shitty things. I have lost my confidence and I have responded in not so great ways. I have had my confidence be sky high. But no matter what, I know that there is more to be done. I know that what I am doing, specifically swimming, does not define me. I know that there is more to life and more in life that I can achieve. Losing your confidence every once in awhile can be a good thing.