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An Inspiring Story of Putting Others First

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistApril 13, 2011
From the WebMD Archives

Through the far-reaching tentacles of YouTube and social media, I recently saw the inspiring story of Sara Tucholsky. For those of you who, like me, don’t know her story, here it is:

Back in 2008, Sara was a college senior playing for the championship of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball league. In the second inning, she hit her first home run ever — the ball sailed right out of the park. Then, rounding the bases, she realized that she had failed to touch first. So, she turned back. But, through a twist of fate and her knee, she found herself down on the ground with a torn ligament, crawling in agony back to first base. According to the rules, she would have been out if anyone from her team helped her.

That’s when Mallory Holtman — from the other team — stepped up to help. She and her teammate, Liz Wallace, carried Sara around the bases, making sure to tap her left foot on each base. Though Mallory and Liz lost the game that day, they clearly accomplished something more important. (Watch the video: Girls Softball Miracle)

There’s no doubt that this is an extremely emotionally touching story. Mallory and Liz went beyond good sportsmanship. In a moment that really counted, those young women showed good character. And Mallory’s unsolicited offer to help (at a cost to herself) displayed a deep sense of humanity that we all hope (but don’t know) we would show in a similar circumstance.

It’s one thing to proclaim the importance of maintaining your priorities, or living up to your values. It’s another thing to do it.

To actually live up to your own values, it’s important to keep them front and center in your mind. Give them time, as you would any other important thing in your life. You spend time at work because earning a living is important. You make time for family, friends, and hobbies. And when you don’t, those people and things fall by the wayside. The same is true of living in accordance with your values. Whether it’s through regularly attending religious services, committing yourself to volunteer work, or even consciously folding your values into daily life in small ways (e.g. being kind to someone in need of a friendly ear), you must practice living your values to make them a part of you.

I imagine that Mallory and Liz felt much better about themselves by helping Sara than they ever could have by winning the game. And I also like to imagine that what these young women did that day was not an extraordinary act for them, but rather a natural extension of how they live their lives every day. For me, this provides hope that increasingly more of us can learn to live in ways that uplift ourselves and bring the human race closer to our collective potential.

I think it would be interesting, helpful, and inspiring if people here shared their stories of struggles to maintain their humanity against the odds. Can you remember times when your best self shone through; or when you disappointed yourself but learned an important lesson?

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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