Whether it’s in life or on a court of play, many of our upsets or loss of Freedom can be traced to the fact that we are not being present. So, how does this impact our lives?
Ronnie, an avid golfer, provides a vivid example of how he was impacted by not being present and how he was able to turn this around and experience Freedom.
I took up golf about a year ago and discovered that I had a real passion for the game. I played as often as I could, took lessons and was committed to being the best I could be. Even though I played with friends who were much more experienced in the game, I’d always been a good athlete and thought this game would be easy for me. Yet when I compared myself to them, I felt so inferior.
I was frustrated and had angry outbursts on the course, embarrassed that I wasn’t better. I knew all the reasons: “Golf is a tough game; I’m new at this; everyone has off days, etc.”
Each time I played I hoped my experience would be better. I wanted to just have fun, enjoy the game and not be so angry with myself! It didn’t matter how much I talked to myself beforehand, though, because within minutes of teeing off, I heard that self-deprecating voice inside: “You stink at this! You’re a loser! You’re embarrassing yourself!” I was out of control! I would curse, bang my clubs on the ground and basically make a spectacle of myself! My friends were shocked at my behavior. I was generally an easygoing guy who did not show my emotions. Yet, here I was acting out like a bratty kid throwing a temper tantrum! Not only was my game suffering, but so was my relationship with my friends.
I knew I had to take a long hard look at who I was being! And, I knew it all stemmed from that persistent voice in my head, the one that said, “I’m not enough.” I had learned about this through my past participation at Freedom Zone workshops I had attended and honestly thought I had this handled, that I had quieted this voice. Yet here it was, screaming louder than ever! And this voice, what is called the Imagined Truth, was controlling me; bringing me back to that time as a little boy when I believed I wasn’t good enough.
I knew that to quiet this voice I had to choose to be Present and my attitude on the golf course would improve dramatically. So, here’s what I did, Before each shot, I would stop and tell myself: “Breathe, relax, focus on the ball, visualize making a great shot.”
And it worked!
It’s true. I still make bad shots and I still do get upset with myself, but not nearly as much as before. Now, my self-criticism is more constructive: “I remind myself that this shot is over and all I have is the next one and it’s going to be great.”
So, being Present is a great tool for golf and, more important, for my life.
Ronnie’s experience shows us how important it is to be mindful of what we say about ourselves. Remember this:
- Our self-perceptions (mostly negative thoughts, feelings and impulses) are the source of our negative self-talk.
- Our negative self-talk is the voice of the Imagined Truth and is really an illusion, not the truth.
- We can reshape our self-image by creating a new view of ourselves.
Can you think of an area in your life where being present might make a difference? We invite you to comment in the box below.