In 1994, an event occurred that astounded the Olympic sports community and swiftly spread to every media outlet and major tabloid for 24/7 public consumption. A sport known for its devotion to impeccable form, technique, and grace was ironically the subject of media frenzy because one of its own had “allegedly” conspired to break the leg of a competitor, in order to elevate her standing in the competition. Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding was said to have conspired with her ex-husband and bodyguard to hire a man to attack fellow skater, Nancy Kerrigan, with an ASP telescopic baton (police baton).
Thankfully, Kerrigan’s leg was not broken, but the injury forced her to withdraw from the national championship. Subsequently, Harding won and was selected for the 1994 Olympic team, only to finish in eighth place. Kerrigan recovered and was awarded the silver metal.
In Harding’s 2008 autobiography, she denied plotting the attack against Kerrigan and said she desperately wanted to contact the FBI about the criminal plans of her ex-husband, but was fearful of his threats. Her ex-husband responded publicly, calling the allegations “utterly ridiculous.” Tonya Harding is now frequently referred to as the
What would cause someone to be so driven for success, not just success – winning, that they are coerced to desperation and enslaved by its symptoms and deeds?
Fear, narcissism, hopelessness, hurt, envy and iniquity are just a few triggers that can cause ugly to surface in our lives and promulgate every crevice of our being.
We are ALL susceptible to some weight of ugly, to the degree that we yield to negative thinking. You and I are creation, both fallible and incontestably unrivaled. When we fall out of harmony, deaf to our inner coach, and entertain emotional lies, the line between reason and recklessness thins.
“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (MSG)
If true of her involvement, Harding clearly wasn’t thinking and processing rationally. She was subject and victim to destructive, provoking thoughts, while Kerrigan was blameless prey to irrationalism and greed.
|5 Signs of Unhealthy Thinking||Practical Tips to Combat Them|
|1. Mirroring – impersonating someone or some ideal||Start a “Journal of Me.” All the things you admire about yourself; things you do well; things that make you feel loved, appreciated, honored, beautiful; even the things you want to change, hope to grow in. Limit the negativity, even if you have to solicit input from someone you trust and who values you. Write a body of work dedicated to the exclusivity of you!|
|2. Magnification and Minimization – making negatives big and positives small||Spend a day seeking out positives and wins, no matter how small. Write them down or make mental notes. Review your list at the end of the day and watch how it begins to shape your perception for good.|
|3. Emotional Reasoning – feelings become fact rather than subjective perceptions||Ask yourself and say aloud, “What happened, step-by-step?” Verbal playback of actually events will shift your focus to facts rather than feelings, revealing your emotions as commentary to genuine circumstances.|
|4. Mislabeling – you are what you do||Labels are developed when we try to lump one or more recurring symptoms or characteristics into a box and stamp a name on them. Remind yourself that you are constantly evolving and your current condition isn’t finite or a generality. If you fail at a task 100 times and succeed only once, by definition, you are not a failure. Labels don’t fit anomalies.|
|5. Overgeneralization – one failure or mishap becomes a systemic issue||Replace the thought with information grounded in evidence. This requires consciousness and repetition. Do your research and state the facts. “This is limited to…”|
If you are reading this and have sunken so deeply into a pattern of negative thinking that you are irrational and have thoughts of harming yourself or others, please seek professional help. If you suspect your mental health is compromised by mental illness, you can’t heal what you won’t confront. There is NO SHAME in seeking the help you need; you’re subject to experience more shame if you don’t. Reclaim your power and courage.
Relief and healing follow acknowledging and seeking assistance when you know something isn’t right.