Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Asking for Help is a Powerful Move

I tend to have some odd associations with some words or phrases. For instance, since I was a kid, whenever I hear the term “self esteem” I instantly think of a steam-engine train and the storybook, The Little Engine that Could. Really, I think I make that association because of “steem” in the word “self esteem” and “steam” as in “steam-engine” train. Plus, the story about The Little Engine that Could was about self esteem, if I remember correctly, and I think I’m correct because I loved that book.

Yesterday I was editing a chapter of a book about children’s development when I came across a quote about self-image and it’s relation to self esteem by Phillips and Bernstein (1989):

"A great self-image is the single most important tool for successfully facing the problems, issues, and crises that arise in everyday life. Self-image is central to how your child learns, achieves, works, socializes, and loves. Self-image is the key to the way your child treats himself and is treated by others." (p. 7)

Although I’ve been all doped up on the Percocet and have been struggling to have any coherent thought, this quote jumped off the page at me, because I had never (at least intentionally) related self-image or self esteem to learning, but looking at it now, I agree that it’s a very integral part.

I’ve heard so many ladies in derby tell me that they’ll feel better about themselves – more confident in their skating – once they’ve learned all the skills they need to know. Yet, I know, from having been around for 3 years that blocking like a wet noodle or just going through the motions but not giving it your all during practice won’t make a person any better at derby. It’s true, you do have to believe in yourself in order to take full advantage of the learning process.

It’s easier and less embarrassing for new derby players to pick other new derby players to pair up with for one-on-one drills. We see this trend over and again, which is why the coaches always tell the Fresh Meat to pick a Vet to pair up with. I know why we do this, and I agree with it, yet in “real life” I don’t always follow the same principles, and I should.

Very rarely do I ask anyone for help – I’m more likely to research possible solutions and then just pick one, which is stupid, because in most cases there is someone I could ask who would be able to help me. It’s like my asking for help makes me powerless in my own mind, and that assumption I’ve carried with me for years is just plain ridiculous. What am I afraid of? That someone will think I don’t know what I’m doing? Well, sometimes I don’t. And that admission – that I don’t know everything – is a fine admission that I need to come to terms with more often.

Asking for help won’t make me powerless. In fact, asking for help from someone who knows what she’s doing will actually help me learn more quickly than would pulling random guesses out of my ass.

I want to be the best derby player I can be, so I’ve recently gotten used to asking for feedback and help from coaches and other great players. I need to take that attitude over into my non-derby life more often.

I’ve talked about being a role model for other women on here before, and I think that’s important, not just in derby. If each of us asked for help when we needed it, and another woman saw us (strong, self-confident women) doing so, we’d be doing some good for other women who struggle the way I do. And, in the course of doing so, we may even convince a few men to pull over and ask for directions!

Phillips, D., & Bernstein, F.A. (1989). How to give your child a great self-image. New York: Random House.

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