Separating your identity from your sport

I read this blog and thought that it was just so relevant to injured athletes and the challenges of coping mentally.

It especially chimed to me when Steve Magness writes in this blog that identities are a tricky thing. They represent our inner narrative about our self. A convenient summary of ‘who we are’, where over time we often boil our identity down to a few words that can become a prison for us when circumstances change.

He goes on to give some reassuring advice: “Identities seem permanent, but they are in fact malleable. It may seem like we are stuck as who we are, but our stories can be altered.

“It took a long time for me to let go of the singular identity of ‘runner’ that I carried around for most of my life. I had to realize that I wasn’t defined by any one moment or any one activity, I had to actively rewrite my internal story, in essence convincing myself that I was complex. That I had a diverse range of abilities and skills– beyond running fast in circles around a track [Steve ran a mile in 4.01 in his early running career].

“When we are young, it’s easy to shed our identities. When I was 10, I identified as a baseball fanatic, when I was 13 soccer was my world. But as we grow older a process of identity cementing occurs. As we get ‘known’ for something in a circle wider than our family and friends, it becomes even more difficult. The tendency is to shift to who we perceive to be by the outside world, instead of who we truly are. That doesn’t mean we are stuck. It just means it takes more work. “

So well worth a read of the blog (link above) – and his book (just out yesterday) and full of very useful insights, theory and activities that you can put into action for yourself:

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