Do you have butterfingers?
Don’t worry if you don’t — I’m not going to smear you or bar you from anything. I’ll actually pat you on the back if you do.
Why? Because we stick with a series of thoughts and feelings that we won’t let go.
Recently, I was talking with some athletes about letting go. One of them said they just can’t let things go. It got me thinking. Why do we do that, even though we know at some point it won’t help, or maybe even hurt?
I learned a few things when having these conversations.
1) Your amygdala is wired to hold on to things. It helps to keep you safe. It’s a default setting.
2) Danger and safety are on continuum. Fear might be hanging out in the middle.
3) To let go, you need to ask yourself at least two key questions and maybe in a couple different ways.
The first question: Is it safe to let this go?
The action to follow: Make a list of all the reasons it’s safe for your butterfingers to let it go.
The second question: Is it dangerous to let it go?
The action to follow: Make a list of all the reasons it’s dangerous.
Some adjustments to the questions: If I let it go ______ will happen.
If I let it go, my coaches, parents, and teammates will think ________.
If I let go, it means I am ________.
Here’s a great resource on letting go and emotional agility. I would check out the book Emotional Agility by Susan David.
Talk and learn about mental fitness. Have butterfingers. Melt the stigma. Spread the word. Let go and change the conversation.