What motivates me to hurt myself, time after time?

I hurt my back last spring. I wasn’t able to lift anything, let alone do any sports for the whole summer. So when a month ago my doctor told me I could start, bit by bit, adding some sports into my life, I was thrilled. Without much of thinking I booked a time to Wakespot for an hour to do wakeboarding. After the first 10 minutes I was exhausted.

Needless to say, the next day my body was killing me. My back was hurting, I couldn’t turn my head because my neck was so sore, and standing was pure agony due to my weary legs. The pain lasted for a week. But of course this week when I spotted a free hour to do some wakeboarding, I booked a shift. The temperature outside was 6°C and the water was around 14°C. Anyhow, I needed to get into the water and train some jumps from the ramp.skorpparit

Today as I woke up again with a horrible pain in my neck, I started to wonder: what makes me go back, time after time. What motivates us to do things that we know aren’t too good for us?

While suffering, I surfed in the Internet. I found an article called Motivation: The why’s of behaviour. While reading, I got interested especially in the Why #3. It was about Arousal Theory. It’s a theory, which explains people’s need to seek a way to get endorphin rushes to keep their life interesting. I had never heard about the theory, but I found it very interesting. I started to find more information about it. According to the theory some people simply need more excitement in their life than others. The theory might explain why, time after time, I go into the water and hurt myself.

While diving into the psychology behind people’s motivation, I also found a man called Fredrick Hrezberg. He has made a list of 9 things that motivate people in the work setting. Especially the first 5 fit well also into my motivation question;

  1. Achievement (accomplishment and sense of contribution)
  2. Recognition (support, praise, respect)
  3. The work itself (meaningful, stimulating, fulfilling)
  4. Responsibility (and advancement)
  5. Creativity and growth (earning; giving of oneself to others)

Even though I hurt myself, I also accomplish something every time. The last time I was at Wakespot I learnt to turn 180° from the ramp. When I progress, I get recognition from my friends. And, of course, the wakeboarding is fulfilling in itself. Naturally the sport also increases my sense of responsibility; I make sure everyone is ok when they are in the water.

If there exists these kinds of theories, it’s no wonder I feel the need to hop on the board, trampoline or a horse. It is nearly inevitable to balance the silent studying I do for school. What do you do to break away from the daily grind?

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2 Responses to What motivates me to hurt myself, time after time?

  1. aapoma says:

    Theories or not, I think you can simply love doing something so much, that it doesn’t bother you even if doing it for example makes your everyday life rather painful.

  2. mirapaakkinen says:

    Hi Meri! I really liked your post because it was personal and there was interesting point of view. In my opinion you are also excellent writer. Good job!:)

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