By now, I'm sure you've read the articles or watched the Ellen DeGeneres interview during which UFC fighter Ronda Rousey mentioned that following her recent title fight loss, she thought about committing suicide. As you might expect, many experts are weighing in on Rousey's comments. Most are saying something along these lines: "That's about the worst thing that can happen when someone links self-image to performance in sport." And while that perspective makes sense, to me, there's a deeper message in Rousey's admission. She's pointing us toward this truth:
A thought, on its own, is completely neutral.
Rousey had the thought of killing herself. A grim thought, for sure. But because she did not (as is often suggested) attempt to cope with her thinking--by trying to fix or manage what uncontrollably popped into her head--her psychological immune system freely kicked into gear. The grim thought then fell away and a new thought appeared; a resilient thought about her boyfriend and staying alive for their future together.
Interestingly enough, Ellen DeGeneres did catch on to Rousey's message and intimated that having this type of thought is not wrong or a sign of weakness. Commending Rousey for her honesty, DeGeneres said, "There are a lot of people out there who have thoughts like that, and [in speaking out] you just did a lot of good for a lot of people."
As I've brought up before, having a thought does not make it true, nor is it a definitive call to action. It appears that Rousey had a dynamic insight during an extremely trying event. As a result, she's carrying on and sharing her wisdom and vulnerability with the world.
Good for you, Ronda Rousey. Thank you for enlightening us. No matter how serious its content, a thought has no power--unless we act on it.