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  • Kay Fletcher

Challenges & Opportunities 15/08/2014

I am watching our son have his swimming lesson. He is really enjoying it; he is gaining confidence and a sense of himself as he masters a new ability, a skill for life. A challenge and an opportunity then I suppose. I realise I should be doing the same, thinking about it in the same way – when I say ‘it’, I mean learning to swim, but maybe not just that. Let’s start with learning to swim though – I can’t swim and have tried learning through various types of lessons many times. How do I regard it? A challenge certainly, but not as an opportunity, in fact I try not to think about it at all. No, not an opportunity, I am not that positive in my cognitive approach to learning to swim. Why I wonder? I ponder this as I watch our son float happily on his back while being told for the umpteenth time he must look up at the ceiling and not keep his chin on his chest. For a couple of splashes he does as the instructor advises and then its back to chin on chest, ahh, it’s not just me then that can’t get him to retain the information in a request for more than a minute! Cries of ‘What did I just say’ or ‘What did I just tell you?’, abound in our house at the moment, along with our son looking wide eyed with genuine shock and desperately searching his memory banks for anything he can offer that may salvage the situation! Anyway, back to my challenges not being seen as opportunities, I have rung and left a message with our son’s swimming instructor to book individual swimming lessons for myself. However I realise I cannot keep perpetuating this circle of trying and failing. What is going on here for me? I haven’t experienced any personal setback or trauma in the water yet I’m scared to be in it. I feel out of my comfort zone, out of control perhaps? I also feel I’ve heeded my own mother’s dire warnings about the dangers of water a bit too much. Is it her voice I carry with me – is the fear really mine? Every time I try and fail I am also perpetuating a feeling of negative self-worth, ‘Why did I ever think I could do that?’, ‘Who do I think I am?’ Those words seem eerily familiar but something slips out of my focus, I can’t quite make sense of the half-felt reference, the fleeting connection not quite complete. Nearly, something was stirring, but was lost. Yet I feel it has a bearing on everything, on my confidence levels, on my trust in myself. I don’t believe in myself. I don’t believe I can do it. I doom myself to failure each time. I either have outright negative thoughts or don’t think about it at all and so am mentally unprepared for the challenge never mind the concept of an opportunity. If only I could look on it as an opportunity, a real chance to achieve a freedom and gain an experience denied to me but enjoyed by others – and those others will soon include my son. I don’t want to be left out but I also want to do it for me, to want it for me, for my sake – something for me. I almost feel that that’s not allowed, how funny. Am I setting myself up to fail? Is this some absurd self-punishment or has it become a self-fulfilling-prophecy? In either case the thinking is the same, ‘Who do I think I am?’ I seem full of self-doubt and self-criticism. I really need to acknowledge this as an opportunity and focus on my needs in this and realise that I have imported messages and beliefs from other people that are inhibiting my sense of my self and by own abilities. Another work in progress for me then – swimming lessons here I come…

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