These past couple weeks have been a difficult time for me mentally. I have felt that I put some good work in during the off season and have battled in tournaments with being in my own way as well as constant negative self-talk. I feel hypocritical at times because I like to think I give some solid advice when it comes to being mentally strong and compassionate with one’s self but I have a pretty difficult battle with these things as of late. Through reflection and perspective, I have been able to see that I really just do not give myself a chance.
There is a lot of things that go into playing good golf but I simply have not putted my best which led to some scoring struggles, however, in the moment it is almost like the world is ending and I get so far toward the negative end of the spectrum that my brain is blocked to the hours and reps I have put in to get to this point. I get myself so consumed in the results or the simple mental errors that I let it compound into something more than it needs to be. I will tell myself I suck in my mind, “you will never make anything of yourself”, “you’re a brutal putter,” etc. These are not new battles for me and I have certainly matured into a more well-rounded player as I have eliminated the need to get super upset and do something that would make people lose respect for me. The point of all this is that when things go well, I do not reward myself enough mentally and feed off of that and when things are going poorly there is such a sense of urgency that I have to be perfect or I have to make this putt because of the constant negative narrative that I give into. I am sure there are others that experience similar things in both golf and life; this is simply a stressful way to go about my business and I think is one of the main reasons I struggle with this sort of anxiety on and off the golf course.
I have taken the past few days to ask myself the question, how do I stop thinking so poorly? The truth is, I can’t. We simply cannot control our own thoughts as human beings, but like a good friend and mentor once told me, you must simply recognize these thoughts and realize that is all they are. The times we allow our thoughts to take us over stem from giving thoughts more power than simply being thoughts. We have thousands of thoughts each day; imagine trying to control each and every one of them or believing everyone is true. The fact of the matter is, like many people, I do not give myself a chance to be as great as I know I can be because I allow myself to feed into these negative narratives and the begin to engrain in my head so much so that I feel take this negative energy with me off the golf course and it effects my relationships. We must detach from our thoughts, take a step back and realize everything is going to be okay. This is the only way I have found that really allows me to both play better golf and feel more at peace with my mind it to take things a little bit slower and constantly remind myself of my greatness as a player and more importantly, my pursuit of trying to be a good man.