How Kobe Bryant Inspired Me to Better Manage My Eczema
You don’t need to know someone personally in order to grieve their loss. Kobe Bryant is one of those people.
I grew up in a household where my dad and brothers stayed up watching basketball games. Although I can’t say I was heavily into the sport, I would sneak into the living room and just observe the commotion, both on TV and from the yelling and anticipation of the men in the room. (Fun Fact: Being from New Jersey, my dad actually disliked the Lakers because he preferred to root for the underdogs...because he knew that Kobe and his team were THAT good. Don't deny it, Dad!)
So when the world received the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, including his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other passengers, I was heartbroken. It was as if my childhood had been robbed from right underneath me. Like those moments of watching my father yell at the TV screen in joy (or anxiety) were just a dream.
Kobe was one of those extraordinary individuals who had one of the finest track records on and off the basketball court. With only 41 years behind him, Kobe was a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and an Oscar winner. More importantly to him, though was being a devoted father to four beautiful girls, a loyal husband to his wife Vanessa Bryant, and a passionate story-teller who was just beginning a career as a producer and writer.
So when all of my social media pages flooded with those mourning Kobe’s passing, I thought, “How did this man live his life in such a way that the world… not just his fans...is mourning his departure? What did he do to create such a legacy? And what can I do to start mine?"
Learning from legends
To say that Kobe’s passing has inspired me is an understatement. That same day of hearing the sad news, I started researching every video of him I can find online. I wanted to know MORE. I wanted to follow his path, so that not only can I live his legacy forward but I can create one of my own.
One particular interview, with Kobe and present-day guru, Jay Shetty, inspired me significantly. With only a few minutes into the video, I knew I could somehow apply Kobe’s principles with how to better manage my eczema.
Although Kobe speaks in terms that are more geared towards sports and athletes, his principles and “mamba mentality” can be used for anything and anyone.
The “mamba mentality” is a competitive mindset that focuses on the process to greatness. It emphasizes on doing the work and doing more than the person next to you so that you have an undeniable self-trust that your hard work is worth it and will pay off.
What does this have anything to do with eczema? And how can I apply it? Check out the points below and how I’m using some of Kobe’s principles to support me in better managing my eczema.
Kobe is really big on curiosity and always using your imagination to persevere. For example, I recently came up with a tool known as “The Underwater Strategy.” This is where I close my ears when I’m getting super itchy in order to check on my breathing. This helps me calm down and dissipate the itchiness that would otherwise turn into a vicious cycle of scratching.
Being imaginative can change the reality of your situation. It can make it less painful and exhausting and more exciting and fun. How can you be imaginative in creating new ways to manage your eczema?
In his interview with Jay Shetty, Kobe talked about the inspiring support of his father. His father once told him, “Whether you score zero or fifty, I love you.” This gave the permission he needed to fail and try again.
My family, friends, partner, and eczema community have shown me unrelenting love and support when I’m flaring, just as much as they have shown me love and support when I’m not flaring. They have also given me the utmost confidence needed to overcome my flares anytime it did show up. That’s the kind of support Kobe is referring to here. Who in your circle do you have now that will love you with or without your eczema?
Being still was one of Kobe’s strategies in handling adversity and negative-filled emotions. In the interview, Kobe said, “What I try to do is just to try to be still and understand that things come and go. Emotions come and go. The important thing is to accept them all and to embrace them all and then you can choose to do with them what you want versus be controlled by emotion.”
Like our emotions, eczema will come and go. And it’s up to us to either embrace and accept what is happening or be controlled by it. In those moments of flaring up, be still and think “What Would Kobe Do?” WWKD.
Kobe’s superpower was strategy, and in particular, the strategy of consistency. He was THE consistency king. He did the same things over and over and over again, day in and out, in order to perfect his craft.
That's why I still do my healing mindset practices even when I'm not flaring. I still meditate, journal, say my affirmations and workout even when my eczema isn't present. Why? Because these practices will not only help me prevent my flares, but they will also help me prepare and respond accordingly when my eczema decides to show up and show out.
What action or actions are you taking consistently to improve and better manage your eczema?
Go for it
When it came to sports, Kobe “EXPECTED” to win. That’s the mentality we get to have. We should expect to overcome our eczema and expect to overcome our fears and insecurities that arise due to it.
This is where faith and the mamba mentality meet. Where your day-to-day actions are put into work and you just KNOW that the outcome will be a success. Don’t be paralyzed by your own fears. Go for it. Go for healing. Expect to heal and expect nothing less than healing.
What's one thing you've been delaying that you know can improve your eczema? Then, go for it!
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