I’m beginning to think this is the entire key to success and finding my way into a happier life.
I’ve had issues focusing for as long as I can remember. In high school, in college, and definitely all through my adult life thereafter. I know that it affects everything in my life adversely, so I always beat myself up over it. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me, why I wasn’t “better” at disciplining myself, why I didn’t have the drive and productivity that I saw in others around me.
This attitude of self-flagellation doesn’t help at all, of course, but that was how my mother tried to get me to do everything, so I thought it was normal to talk to myself in a degrading manner. I believed that the mean, cruel, relentless voice in my head was something that just lived inside me, not something I’d learned and could also learn to dismiss. I spent years trapped in this vicious cycle, unable to focus and constantly procrastinating, then beating myself up for that behavior, then numbing and distracting myself because I felt terrible. It never ended. I looked in the mirror and felt nothing but disgust and frustration.
Beginning to forgive myself for all this took some education on why it was happening, some diving deep into inner work, and some willingness to explore the unknown. I was so lost that I had no choice but to seek help, and it was the lifeline I desperately needed. My therapist was the first person who ever explained to me that the voice in my head isn’t actually a part of me, that it was acquired from somewhere else, and that with patience and mindfulness I can heal it until it’s barely a whisper.
That was the beginning of my understanding that my inability to focus stems from trauma and a damaged nervous system. It’s not my fault, but it’s my job to work on healing these issues that rise up from my past – procrastinating because I don’t feel good enough, an anxious attachment to interacting on social media that pulls my energy away from what actually matters to me, a need to always be present to others in case they forget about me and leave otherwise. There’s a lot there that I’m working on, but at least I’m gaining the knowledge and the tools to move forward.
What I find exciting now is the concept that I can actually control where I put my energy and my focus – in fact, it’s incredibly important that I do so, because that’s where my life force will flow. Developing mindfulness and observing where my focus is going, I see how much of it gets wasted and now feel so hopeful about the idea that if I can instead value my own time so much that I only put it towards what fills me up, I will further my life immensely.
So what if you start slow, just noticing where your time and focus are headed? What if you become present to the idea that energy is life force and that wherever it goes, you are going as well? I believe this simple change can make all the difference. Don’t berate yourself for where you are, but start to steer yourself in the direction you want to go. You have all the power! What if you think of that as thrilling rather than frightening? You control your own destiny and where your energy vibrates. What a beautiful thing.
When you shift your focus, you shift your life. I believe that you can do this and that you can step into the future you want. You are strong and capable of change. I love you.