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Do the Bigger Fall Harder?

November 7, 2016

With her unprecedented defeat, MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey went from being an icon of “mythical” proportions to the poster child for fragility in just a matter of seconds. Now, she has finally come out of hiding to discuss her future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

The former women’s bantamweight champion revealed on Tuesday that her upcoming bout with Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 would be ‘one of my last fights.’

Now UFC president Dana White has confirmed that news as well by saying that Rousey has informed him that her career will come to a close in the near future, although he didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag on how many fights she actually has left in her.

It’s hard to believe that such a dominant figure can be sapped of all confidence following a setback. So what exactly happened there? Let’s revisit the shame/guilt dynamic, shall we?

 Many people think shame and guilt are the same thing, but they are very difference. To reiterate a concept I’ve discussed in the past, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, while shame is feeling bad about what you are, your very essence, your very identity

 For shame-based people, even what little sense of guilt they have ends up fused with shame, making it something called toxic guilt. That is, they can’t separate their guilt from their shame, meaning they can’t separate their actions from their identity. For example, when you are operating from a sense of guilt, you can say something like “I am a good, decent guy who just happened to do a stupid thing. Doing something stupid doesn’t make my whole identity defective.”

Quoting “The Rawness” website, which is now down. Emphasis mine.

Ronda Rousey did not see herself as a good fighter who happened to be winning due to good technique and hard work; rather, she was an untouchable supherhuman who simply couldn’t be challenged.

There’s nothing wrong with a little overconfidence or banter, but the real problem starts when you begin to identify with the external, namely, your actions or circumstances.

“I’m going to beat up Correia and Tate, then go film a movie.”

-Ronda Rousey

Rousey went from boldly proclaiming her fights as an afterthought to hiding her bruised post-bout face in the airport. She constructed herself so squarely on the external that after the defeat, she claimed to have thoughts of harming herself. Afterall, her identity as she saw it, was defective. She was defective.

While many will debate her status as a role model, it is best to view Ronda Rousey’s story as a cautionary tale with universal application. She inspired many in various ways and encouraged women to find their craft, but she failed spectacularly in showing how to handle a setback. For her, it’s not too late. She can take this lesson into her newfound acting career. For those of us watching, we’re just as susceptible. We may not experience a fall anywhere near those heights, however identifying with the external in any situation can prove to be just as toxic.





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