Story time. So I took my family to Las Vegas this last weekend, and on a side note, kids and Vegas don't mix super well. Anyways, my amazing wife told me to go golfing, which I gratefully accepted. I was partnered up with a man from Wisconsin, and we had a great time. If I had a dollar for every time I tell someone I'm a therapist and hear "Oh man, I could've used you (insert # of years ago), I'd be a rich man. Towards the end of the 18th hole, we were talking about his swing and where he places the ball in his stance (I'm not a golf expert in any regard), how he holds his hands, his rhythm, and many other details of the swing. While he was telling me what he wanted to work on, I interrupted and told him something about what keeps people from being able to perform their best...and hint, hint, it isn't their bad swing or bad gold club.
I said to him, "people don't perform the way they want, because they are too focused on trying to perform the way they want." He kind of laughed with doubt, and I said "No really, hear me out...instead of me thinking about my swing this entire time, I have been focusing on my thumb and index finger on my right hand and how it feels on the club." Then he really laughed. He asked what I meant. I said, "I mean exactly what I just said. On the holes I've done well, I've relaxed and thought about my thumb and finger, my body does what it should and hits the ball." He couldn't believe that I would be thinking about my thumb of all things during a swing. This is where therapy entered on the 18th hole (insert winking/smiley face emoji).
He got out of the cart to hit his shot and I challenged him to think about one thing that's really simple, and see what happens. He had 117 yards to the pin, got out his 9 iron, and swung. His ball landed 20 feet from the hole (better shot than any during the previous 17 holes), he looked at me, I kinda gave him one of those 'told ya so' looks, and then he laughed. He said he was thinking about the word on the golf ball when he hit it.
Coincidence? Possibly. I'm telling you though, it's wasn't. So what's your focus? Chances are high that if anxiety, fear, avoidance, depression, etc are a struggle, your focus is off. It's very likely you've become very focused on "not hitting it in the sand or water." Trying your best not to fail, be rejected, do or say the wrong thing, or show weakness or fault. I bet you're like me at times, trying to remain in complete control of every aspect of my life. It's like the plate balancers, spinning plates on poles with one purpose, don't let them come crashing down.
Fear is tiring and honestly not okay to keep around. Fear robs us of seeing things as they really are. It's not okay because the demands fears are putting on you are too much and unobtainable. Removing and replacing the inter'fear'ance from your life is possible and should quickly become your goal. Trust me, it's possible. Fix Your Focus (this has more than one meaning that's for sure).
What can you focus on that's within your control? What things are you focusing on that are getting in your way? What can you focus on instead? Maybe write down a list of foci that are hurting you, and then try and explain to someone you trust why you have allowed yourself to focus on those things.