The last month or two has been a struggle for me since finishing my mental toughness challenge. I think the freedom of being able to eat and drink what I wanted was hard to control at first and it began to mess with the rhythm of my practice schedule and exercise regime which in turn affected my mental clarity. I have felt pretty close to the lowest I have felt this summer, particularly at some events I had high hopes for that I underperformed and did not give it my all due to mental chatter and my inner critic. To be transparent, some days I really felt worthless and like I was no use to anyone or anything. There have been a few really great stretches of golf and have been times where I felt great this summer but overall my energy and drive had taken a turn for the worst. I often had to leave practice because I felt so down on myself or bombarded by the negative voice in my head that it became unhelpful to continue to grind and it did not seem to matter the amount of reflection I did because I always seemed to convince myself that I suck. Good news though, it turns out I don’t!
I spoke with my sports psychologist and he described something very powerful in that we are all simply humans navigating the world and everything we are all going through is completely normal. This resonated with me because I always seem to think of myself as an outcast or someone facing these problems that no one else can understand; this is just simply not true. I began to give myself a break, start to use my breathing exercises more, and realize that golf is not an activity that is supposed to be hard on me mentally or something that makes me feel poorly as a person, it is simply just my passion and something that I am good at. These realizations have allowed me to go back to a frame of mind of patience, calmness, and curiosity on the golf course where I really am out there to get better and do what I love to do. I had begun to see some better results the last week or so and started to treat myself with compassion again. Although my anxiety still tends to be quite high on the golf course at times, I realize it is all just a part of my human experience and a part of me that I may never be able to change. Therefore, rather than fight it I have chosen to embrace it and use it to remind myself I may have to focus a little bit harder than everyone else at times.
It is so beautiful in the big picture as I have matured and grown more than I actually realize this summer and I am starting to see things from a better perspective, realizing how lucky I am to have such an amazing family, a golf scholarship, a passion for something, inner belief, awesome friends and so many connections with people in my life that I cherish. I have become more open to failure than I was in previous years, I allow myself to be in the moment more and I do not take for granted the special moments with my loved ones that I may have not even picked up on in years past. I think it is amazing that I have been able to give myself a bit of a breather in the last week and open my eyes up to what life is all about enjoying every experience and learning from it whether it is good or bad.