The game came down to the last seconds.
Down by three, we scored on a layup. Now a one-point game. And then, it was over. A narrow 1-point loss in the championship game for our middle school boys team.
One started crying, then another. It caught on like something infectious, and suddenly parents were tearing up as well. As one of the coaches for the team, I wondered what we could have done differently. I questioned what coaching decisions we could have made that would have changed the outcome.
I also realized the incredible opportunity that losing gives us. In middle-school basketball. In life.
It was only with the loss that we saw how much the players really cared about each other and their team. I had never seen middle school boys hug like that!
The following day, I had another realization. The two teams were basically equal, as evidenced by the final score. However, the winning team, trophy in hand, walks away with very little introspection about how they can improve. Human nature is such that we don’t think that way when we win.
On the other side, our team is a group of coaches and players asking what we did wrong, what we would do differently, and how we can get better. There is a fire to become a better player/coach thanks to the 1-point differential where we were on the losing side.
It is a gift that comes with our losses – the desire to learn how we can improve and grow.
How does this relate to our health and wellness?
As we hit the end of the year, it is a great time to take stock of our health and wellness, looking back over the year. Celebrate the wins of 2022, absolutely. The ways you worked to improve self-care amidst the pandemic. A change in how you ate, how you moved, and how you took care of chronic disease.
But also take some time to look at the health/wellness losses as well, as that is where the gifts of learning and growth are to be found. Take time to dissect how these losses have made you a better person. In this reflection, it is common to discover a few losses that were so painful that you never took the time to see how you could use them for a positive purpose; if so, do that now.
And if you want a simple exercise, here it is:
- List three important health/wellness losses from 2022.
- As you look at these together, now write about what these losses have taught you and how they make you a stronger, better, and even healthier person.
Anthony Fleg is a family physician who blogs at Writing to Heal.