It used to be that when the senior students would compliment me after a roll, I didn’t really believe them. I figured they were just being polite, or trying to make me feel better after they handed me my ass, and I thought there was no way I could ever actually challenge them. I would usually focus on the negative aspects of my performance, so it was hard for me to see the positives, even when people pointed them out.
Then I decided to start trying to really listen to what the seniors were saying to me, and I came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t lie. They tell me when I fuck up, and they give me shit when I give up, so why would they not also be honest when I do well?
I’m still working on accepting compliments, and even more so on taking them to heart, but I have noticed a positive change in my mindset since I started listening to them. When the senior students tell me that it’s always a pleasure to roll with me, or they shake my hand and say I did a great job (despite the fact that they submitted me multiple times ;), it helps me to feel as though I am worthy of being on the mat with them.
There was even a moment during class last night when Sir Conan not only complimented me, he was downright excited that I passed his half guard (with a pass that he likes to use). Previously I would’ve probably just told myself that Conan let me get that pass, and I wouldn’t have given myself any credit, but I know the pass wouldn’t have worked (and he wouldn’t have been so happy about it), if I hadn’t been technically correct. Then in my next roll after that with Holmes, I was in a somewhat opposite position, because when I unsuccessfully attempted to pass his knee shield, he told me he didn’t know the pass that I was trying to use, or any passes for knee shield half guard, so I showed him the pass, and he subsequently used it to successfully pass my knee shield, which made me very happy!
Most of the people I train with are nice people (our state slogan is Visit Nebraska, Visit Nice ;), but not nice enough to compliment me only to spare my feelings, so if they say nice things, then they must be at least partially true. I think they might actually believe that I don’t suck, and they’re making me believe it, too!
“Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar,
You’re gonna go far,
You’re gonna fly high,
You’re never gonna die,
You’re gonna make it if you try,
They’re gonna love you” -Pink Floyd