There are many ways to win a fight.
Everyone has their own strengths and strategies.
Sometimes your best bet is to out-muscle your opponent. Sometimes it’s to out-think or out-maneuver.
Yet there are other fights in life that we, metaphorically or not, must simply take a beating while we wear the other person down or psych them out with our tenacity. Many fights are decided by the highest pain tolerance, not the skills or strength.
Still even the best in every way have moments, days, even months, that call for taking a seat; taking a rest; stepping out of the ring for a bit.
Why You’d Need To “Get Back In The Ring”
You’ve heard the phrase, “Get back in the ring”, right?
We typically say it as an idiom for “getting back up when we get knocked down” – which, I suppose is just another idiom – though it comes from the literal meaning of boxing and martial arts athletes, deciding to spar in an actual “ring” again after time away.
The point is that to even need to “get back in the ring” first necessitates getting out of it because of a need to rest and recuperate, and this isn’t something that’s talked about much.
It’s so, so rare that we hear anyone say,
- “I’m stepping back from this because I’m worn out and simply need a rest”
- “I’ve been hurt and I need time to sort though this and figure my emotions out”
- “I’m not sure what my purpose is with this anymore and I need to take time to figure it out”
Perhaps this is because this kind of “real-talk” has been abused and misused.
It seems the rare times I’ve heard someone say something like this it was because they were taking an “easy way out” rather than staying to deal with hurt feelings, emotions, relational issues or hard work to accomplish what needs done.
So maybe that’s true for others and that automatically makes us skeptical anytime we hear something like this. We’re now eager to think it’s “weak” or a sign of poor leadership or poor self-management.
But don’t you and I both know that sometimes life can just beat you up?
Sometimes you get sideswiped, blind-sided, and sucker-punched all in the same week.
People don’t pay their bills. You get treated with disrespect by people you respect. Someone close to you lies or takes you for granted.
Sometimes you run your course in your work and you realize you no longer have a purpose or driving motivation. Sometimes your deal, or maybe an entire business, doesn’t pan out and you lose money and time and a hopeful future.
These things all can be blows that some days you’d just bounce right back from, but on other days, or other combinations of them at the wrong time, they require you to take a seat. Take a rest. Take a step back and reevaluate.
Maybe it’s a sign of great leadership and self-management to be able to admit this and take the necessary time.
Perhaps even the person who “bails” because they don’t want to deal with their relational mess or hurt feelings in a situation, actually needs that time too. Sure they also need to be taught to come back and deal with things in a constructive manner, but maybe it’s best for them to take time and sort themselves out first.
For whatever reason – nature, nurture, or whatever – there are times, places, people, and situations that can overwhelm anyone’s abilities or wisdom to deal with a situation and we all have to step back for a bit.
There shouldn’t be shame in that.
We should learn to be supportive of people “stepping out of the ring”.
I think if we learn to support “stepping out of the ring” and talk about this well, then we’d also learn to talk well about getting people “back in the ring” of life – love, friendship, work, careers, etc.
Like it or not, none of us do everything right on any given day, so we all give hits and take hits every day.
This necessitates an ability to talk about needing rest and recuperation both physical and emotional and an allowance for it in our work places, churches, homes, and relationships.
I’ve needed it the last few months.
I took it.
I’m dang proud of it.
Here’s to getting back in the ring! Cheers!
P.S. I’ll tell more of my recent personal story with this in the next post.
Photo credit: ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images