As I’ve dealt with assorted challenges in my (brief) derby career so far, I’ve had to work through a whole mess of feelings. Certainly there are LOTS of great times in derby, when you have a good practice, bond with teammates, or make lead jammer, but there are low times too– nasty falls, disappointing test results, feeling like you’re not part of the team. There’s a lot of mental work to do.
Today, I found this article that presented a nifty new tool for that problem: The ‘Emotion Chart’ My Therapist Gave Me That I Didn’t Know I Needed. It presents a chart that you can use to identify your feelings, broad and specific.
Sometimes, I have a hard time sorting through what’s going on in my head, and all I know is that I feel like crap. Now I can use this chart, starting at the center and working my way out, to identify all the aspects of what I’m feeling.
Let’s talk through an example. On my third try at the minimum skills test (MST), I pushed really hard, thought I had improved my score, and ended up actually getting my lowest score yet– right in the “repeat Fresh Meat” bracket. I felt AWFUL, I was a mess, and I had a hard time sorting through all of the feelings in my head.
I was sad. From there, I definitely fell into the hurt category, definitely depressed, and there was a bit of despair there. So from that, I can look at the further breakdowns to identify the specific things going on.
- I was embarrassed that I’d skated so poorly in front of veteran skaters and leadership.
- I was disappointed that I (apparently) hadn’t improved as much as I thought I had.
- I felt inferior to all of the other skaters in the league, since I obviously had the weakest skills of anyone.
- I felt powerless, as all of my hard work apparently didn’t get me anywhere. Why keep working if I’m only going to get worse?
From there, I can look at each individual item, recognize the feelings, and remember that they’re valid. (The last part is something I especially struggle with!) I can see how realistic my thoughts are, and get help from friends and teammates to talk about each of these.
- Other skaters shared their stories of needing to take the test multiple times.
- Teammates told me that I really was improving, and that the test score didn’t reflect my hard work.
- I got a lot of encouragement that even though I have a lot to work on in the skating department, I contribute a lot of other great things to the league that make me a valuable part of the group.
I think this is a SUPER helpful tool for identifying what’s going on in your head when all you can identify is “I failed the test and I feel awful.” Or when you have a bad practice, you have an argument with somebody, or any sort of situation in skating where there are complicated feelings involved.
I’m definitely going to use this as I continue on in my derby adventures, and I hope it helps somebody else out there, too!