If you’ve been spending the last month watching 22 men chasing a little ball around a green pitch, then you’re not alone. I along with millions of others have also been captivated by the World Cup Tournament. Today the German team appears in the media as World Champions, holding the funny looking gold trophy above their heads. Throughout the tournament, players and their fans have been photographed crying, laughing, beaming, broken, angry, despondent, and joyful. What is this global emotion all about?
After the final match, my husband and I watched a flustered journalist attempt to interview the German team captain. The reporter could barely put two words together, he was so overwhelmed with emotion. All these feelings with nowhere to go. We look to our national teams for courage, determination, skill and stamina and we bemoan their defeat. The team carries so much more for us collectively as we wave our flags, paint our faces, and wrap ourselves in the designated colors. Now that it’s all over, what will we do?
We might think about our need for outer heroes and heroines (the latter are sorely lacking in football), and how they reflect our personal heroes inside us. All our football players are holding the higher qualities that we long for in ourselves. Perhaps we too are seeking courage and persistence in our own daily struggles along with joy and elation in our own personal triumphs.
Now is the time to try and integrate the feelings that bubbled up during the tournament and make them more our own. For example, I found myself consistently sad at the end of any game, identifying with the losers, wishing everyone could be a winner. What does that say about me? I often criticize myself for not being good enough, a failure, insignificant in this whirlwind called life. But the reality is, I too am a winner in my own way, through my own small everyday battles, sometimes creeping along inch-by-inch with the persistence, faith, and stamina of the best footballer. And when I am successful, I often shy away from the limelight, almost afraid of standing firmly in the winner’s circle.
In psychosynthesis terms, qualities like inspiration, leadership and creativity are those universal principals that we all aspire to and all have inside us. By recognizing these qualities in our football players, we are recognizing them in ourselves. Now that the games are over, it is time for us to retrieve them from the international arena and experience and express them for ourselves in our own lives.
These higher qualities, like truth, strength, and courage, are considered to be transpersonal, universal, and timeless. They exist in the higher Self and are reflected in and through us out into the world. They are usually buried in one or more of our subpersonalities and often expressed in a distorted way. For example, a Gambler subpersonality might have the quality of Risk hidden underneath its behavior. Miss Perfect, while worried that she might not be wearing the most stylish clothes, might hold the higher quality of Creativity. The challenge is not to repress or eliminate any subpersonality’s behavior, but rather to recover its higher quality and express that gift in a more positive and holistic way.
Take, for example, Robert who recognized a subpersonality whom he called Mr. Freeze. Mr. Freeze wanted to connect to others but needed space and time to feel safe before doing so. With time, Robert came to understand that Mr. Freeze’s higher quality was a deep and sincere commitment when in relationship.
With this discovery, Robert man was better able to acknowledge, appreciate and enjoy his deeper relationships with friends and family and find creative ways to help Mr. Freeze feel safe in unfamiliar social settings. For example, Robert consciously chose not to attend large social gatherings that required quick and spontaneous connections and, consequently, triggered feelings of being unsafe. Instead, he chose to frequent smaller more intimate functions and even a dance class, where he could take his time to connect to others. In addition, he began to invite friends to also attend different functions with him in order to provide the social safety he felt he needed.
One way to focus on and aim for a higher quality (besides watching sports) is to write an evocative word on a card, place it where you see it everyday and note when and where that quality enters your life. If you feel like a winner after the final World Cup match, then you might start with JOY.