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Scottie Sheffler and our many selves

Posted by Simon Parke, 12 April 2022, 7.02am

The radio presenter, reporting on the Open golf tournament in Augusta, is taken aback.

‘How could it be?’ he asks. ‘Scottie Scheffler looks so calm on the course. Nothing fazes him. Yet he has told us that on the final morning, before play started, he was ‘crying like a baby’ – his words – with nerves. It’s hard to believe it’s the same man!’

For most of us, though, it is not so hard to believe. We are different people at different times, with various characters inside us. And it makes a difference which one of them is in charge.

On that final Sunday of the tournament, Scottie displayed both self-doubt and focused calm; both damage and strength.

And our story is similar, if less well paid.

There are damaged characters, some of which we’ll be familiar with: abandonment fears, survival fears, endless guilt, catastrohing about the future, unresolved rage, distracted mind, the need for control, anxious thoughts, fear of other people’s perceptions of us, poor emotional regulation, over-thinking.

Perhaps you recognise some of these.

But there are other characters within us as well, healthier ones and skilled in many areas of life, sometimes brilliantly so: characters like intuition, calm, sociability, organisational skill, capacity for delight, competency, courage, generosity of spirit, the ability to hold others, emotional attunement to circumstances, openness, clarity and confidence.

You will recognise some of these as well.

We need to keep talking with all our characters, for each is allowed and each has a story. We don’t pretend they’re not there.

And when well, we allow them to talk among themselves, the healthier helping the damaged.

On the final day of the Open tournament, Scottie Scheffler allowed calm to speak with self-doubt; and calm took him home to victory.

In time, our healthier characters become more true, our damaged characters less so. Damage has less of a voice in our affairs; a diminishing influence.

This is human growth on the golf course and beyond.

Who will I be today?

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