by Mel Blackwood
October sees World Mental Health Day, Black History Month, and many more observations to raise awareness and make us kinder humans. What I actually wanted to share, is hopefully a useful moment of reflection and pause.
The conversation our coach team are mostly having with folks at skate classes (at all ability levels) at the moment is about how we speak to ourselves. We are often harsh and critical towards ourselves, lacking the self-compassion and self-love we need to truly thrive as an adult learning to roller skate.
The conversation we've been having goes something like this:
A skater is coming towards you at their second-ever skate session.
skater: Sorry I'm in the way, I can't stop.
coach: It's no problem you can't stop. I couldn't stop either after so few sessions on skates. No need to apologise, we expect this.
skater: It's so hard though!
coach: Yes, roller skating is really difficult, especially when learning as an adult. We carry different expectations and there are different consequences if we injure ourselves.
skater: I could roller skate as a child, this is just so scary.
coach: Our experiences are all different. It's okay that it takes more courage to learn as an adult. Just remember to breathe. We all learn at different paces, just take it at your pace. We also have spent years training our minds to process information more efficiently, but our bodies need to grow the muscles needed. So, often the mind will be going faster than the body, which can lead to frustration. Do your best to be gentle with your self-talk.
Do you recognise yourself, actions or self-talk in any of this short exchange?
We just want folks to unapologetically take up space. When you are learning to roller skate, pick a beginner-friendly session and try.
I recall being angry (!) with my body for not understanding why my knees were not bent enough, or why, at certain speeds beyond my comfort zone, my feet were glued to the floor. With hindsight, of course, I can see what an impatient person I was, for wanting to be able to do all the tricks NOW! Having made my peace with my skate journey being snail-paced, I am just grateful to have started.
Better late than never, eh? Yes. I am intensely grateful to have found the courage to book a session, walk through the door for the first time, and then walk back the second third and fourth time too. I am grateful for the supportive people I found behind that door that showed me I can do anything, at any age, and that we do not need to be constrained by self-limiting beliefs. The problem is, we don't always know we have a self-limiting belief until we consciously challenge it.
Are you gentle with your self talk? Be honest with yourself!