It's Super Bowl week. And as a Patriots fan, I couldn't be more elated.
Patriots fans have embraced our coach's motto, "Do Your Job." He tells the players not to worry about the hype, just to treat their game like a job. It helps them focus on what's important. Now, the fans have job too, as outlined in the contract above. Which I gladly signed.
Hear me out, please: Even if you hate the Patriots.
When I started to heal from my anxiety, my therapist was adamant about finding the positives in life. "Embrace the good stuff," she would say. Having spent so many years focused on negative things, this was completely new to me. One of those good things was football. I found other good things, too.
When I started looking for good, it was everywhere. Then I started practicing gratitude, and things really turned around.
There was so much good, and so much to be grateful for, that I started to focus more on positive things. I made it my job. It changed everything. It changed me from the inside out, I tell you.
I was able to be happy about the littlest things, and appreciate life more. I found inner happiness. Finally.
I have found so many similarities between myself and football players. Like me, hey face so much adversity (hello, panic disorder and life as a constantly rejected writer) and experience such moments of glory (overcoming a fear) and disappointment (having a bout of panic out of the blue and feeling like you're right back where you began). I just find so much inspiration in the game, the players...all of it. As for my team, I love how they keep their heads up and always try to be the bigger people even when they want to sit in a corner and cry their eyes out (okay, maybe the crying is just me!)
That's why football is so personal to me. That's why we have to find something good.
You have to find something good. It's kind of our job in life, this whole happiness thing. Otherwise, you'll just be miserable.
Turns out, those good things aren't just a distraction. They sustain us.
I'll never forget having my blood drawn a few years ago, which was a debilitating fear for me for many years. But when I focused on a good thing (talking to the doctor while she drew my blood about how much I adore Tom Brady) it kind of diminished the shaky feelings. Sounds silly, maybe, but those good things can sustain us even when the world seems to be falling apart. That gave me confidence that I could conquer other fears...and I have!
This is so powerful, because honestly, we have enough negativity in our lives. That may never end for us. But we can choose a little "good stuff" injection whenever we need it. Treat it like your job. Make it your way of life.
Find your good stuff, and add it in. Feeling negative? Add more good stuff. Caught up in something upsetting? Time for a "good stuff" break--add more like you're pouring the whole bag into chocolate chip cookie dough.
As for me, I'll be enjoying the big game Sunday But I'm also enjoying just watching my players shine. I like knowing that they overcame so much to get to where they are...just like me! I'm so grateful to be able to watch their journey. In my mind, they've already won regardless of what Sunday's scoreboard looks like.
On an aside, I am not sure if I shared this, but here's another cool thing about why I am so proud of my team this year. In October, I went to my first Pats game at the home stadium. I was thrilled enough to be there, but even more so when I was asked to be on NFL Network. I met some players and NFL brass, and it was just such an amazing experience. I felt so grateful for the experience, and I don't think I would be so giddy about it had I not learned how to embrace the good. I won't let that go.
That's me on the right in the blue coat and red hat!
Instantly, whenever I recall that memory, I glow. Maybe I'll carry this photo around with me and pull it out the next time I'm feeling glum. Just as a reminder that there is good. And we have to work at it sometimes, even if it feels like a job.