Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
“…arrogance often masks fear”-Parker J. Palmer, author
As I listened to the audiobook, The Courage to Teach, I found Parker’s statement to be eye-opening, compelling, and true. There is something about fear that is so pervasive, and which impacts on both our internal and external lives.
Why are we so afraid? What is it about courage that often appears to be reserved for that chosen few? I have become more aware of how driven I am by fear rather than by love. It is a trend I hope to reverse.
There is another more dangerous aspect, though, to our fears. In our attempts not to portray ourselves as weak, we mask those insecurities in many ways, one of them being through arrogance. We may not be overtly cocky or narcissistic, but perhaps we are defensive, talkative or dismissive of others.
Hubris, also called haughtiness, conceit or vanity in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, takes many forms. It takes discernment to look behind someone’s overconfident exterior and see what is often pain, sadness and loneliness. We all are broken in one way or another. Very few families are without some kind of dysfunction. It comes with the territory of being human. As such, we need a coping mechanism. Often, we cope using masks.
It is one of the reasons why I was inspired by the humility of rising star tennis player Carlos Alcaraz. He recently lost the French Open semi-final to eventual winner, Novak Djokovic, suffering cramps in his defeat. Alcaraz was admirably candid in revealing his fears. He confessed to being tense and overawed by the occasion in facing such a formidable opponent. No mask, just realness. No cover-up, just raw honesty.
How is it going for you? I encourage you to admit your fears, first to God, then to others. Face them, embrace them and be inspired as you overcome them.
Help is always available for the fearful. It begins with a willing admission of our spiritual and emotional poverty. Grace will do the rest.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.