College basketball is a big deal in our house. My husband is a Duke fan, but as a UVA alumna, I'm all in for UVA and their handsome coach, Tony Bennett. So, I was pretty happy when UVA won it all this year, the whole championship -- an especially sweet victory after last year when they were beaten early in the tournament by a team not even in the top 15. It was a disaster, and UVA was widely ridiculed and pointed out as an example of what not to do. So this win, as I said, was sweet. But how do you do something like that? How do you get back? How do you recover from that level of public humiliation and defeat?
That was the question Sports Illustrated asked Coach Bennett. His response was, "You own it, you talk about it and you learn from it. "You don't let it define you. Humiliation and defeat, errors large and small tend to weigh on us. One of the reasons we practice mindfulness is to prevent us from ruminating on past mistakes. But there is value in pulling those mistakes out and taking a good hard look at them.
Coach Bennett's wife had seen a TED talk about not letting your past define you. The speaker stressed the importance of getting that stuff out and airing it. Get out from under the rock that's crushing you. Use that rock to gain a foothold and climb up on top of it. We may be ashamed of our mistakes, but we have to bring them into the light, because, as Brené Brown says, shame dies in the light.
How did Tony Bennett and his team do that? They talked about their loss. They talked about how it happened and how it felt. That's how humans process things. We have to unpack them and work through them with others. As Bennett says, you have to tell the story. You tell it over and over, and as you do, it becomes less painful. Less of a burden until it's a gift. Even as he stood at center court after the championship win, Bennett called up their defeat last season. He called it a gift. He called it the most painful gift he had ever received. He was able to reframe that loss, that humiliating defeat, into an opportunity to learn and grow and do better and WIN. which he did. Big time.
We have the same opportunity in our knitting and our lives to experience painful gifts. We've all knit unfortunate disasters. Too big too small, too floppy, stretched out. We've all started things - bitten off more than we could chew and felt defeated. We can stuff them back in their pink bag and hide them in our closet and be owned and beaten by a pile of yarn, or we can own the situation. Bring it in to the shop and see what happened. Maybe you need some additional skills - a class to learn those skills. Maybe you've been working on other projects and now you actually have the skills you need. Maybe that was a rough spot in your life and the project demanded more concentration and attention than you had to give at the time. Whatever. We all have bad days, weeks, or even years.
The point is, don't let one failure, no matter how big or how costly, define your knitting sense of self. Bring it out into the light. Bring it to the table. Let's talk about it and see what went wrong. I'm not Tony Bennett, but I do consider us your coaches. We are here to help you get the win and be the knitting champions you are.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here. ~Ellen
Back to 16 April 2019 Newsletter