One of my friends wrote on IG that she says she has a lot of feelings about BJJ belt promotions that she wishes she doesn’t have. I felt the exact same way but was afraid to articulate it. I was too afraid to say it because I didn’t want people to judge me, but I’ll say it here. I’m jealous when others get promoted with stripes or the next rank, because all my life I’ve been told and taught and seen it modeled to me that outside validation is what makes me feel good. The titles, the approval, the compliments that come from the belt promotions, they all make me feel good inside. The approval that I can’t quite give myself, because I have to learn the impulses that have been conditioned into me for decades now. I am not ashamed to admit it, but I am still a little afraid. What will people think of me? Will they think that my passion for martial arts is somehow fake in a way, that I only want to do it for the rank? For the admiration? And even more scary, is that really my true source of motivation?
I have to think about things carefully. Or, actually, I shouldn’t think about things at all. I want to accept my feelings because that is the only way I can make people feel accepting of themselves. I don’t think everyone cares about me being a good example for them, nor do I think I am right about the spotlight that I feel like is always on me. I just want to be a good person, but I suppose I can also settle on being a good human. That might work too.