You have to find ways to focus on yourself when the world swirls in chaos – or maybe just in those moments when the kids or spouse are gnawing at your nerves. When you find your way to focus on yourself and honed in on the next step of your journey then the actions, attitudes, and annoyances of others will not easily derail you from your path.
A Spouse Derails Focus
My husband and I went walking one morning. I had been walking for several months in a particular path and with a particular pattern. He had joined me on several occasions. This was one of those occasions.
It started out rocky. I was already annoyed with him about something that doesn’t matter because I don’t even remember at this point. It hit a wall when he sighed at me.
Do you ever have those moments when a simple sigh, eye roll, or other small inflection can push the wrong button? This was one of those for me. My husband sighed and my own attitude was off to the races.
A little back story:
Walking in the little subdivision where we were renting required walking on a main road. Some days, I’d cross a short bridge to get to an undeveloped subdivision and some safer roadways, but the cars crossing that bridge didn’t seem to care there was a human walking in the same location.
I had developed the habit of stopping, stepping off the road, and watching the car pass. My husband didn’t appreciate that process AT ALL.
His sigh emphasized his unappreciative attitude. I snapped around, “I can go back to the house.” I kept my tone even. It wasn’t sarcastic. It wasn’t loud. I simply stated a fact. I COULD, indeed, go back to the house and do my walk another time.
Backing Up the Words
Anyone who has known me very long knows I don’t make threats. If I say something, it’s because I mean it. I don’t worry about the inconvenience it will cause or the additional actions it might require. If I say that I can do something then I mean I can do something – both positive and negative (depending on your side of the coin).
Many years ago, we were taking our sons and their friend to the Chattanooga Aquarium. The boys had been in the car far too long for boys (which can mean five minutes on some days), but I had intended to stop at the rest stop just across the state line for snacks and some energy-burning time.
The boys began to get rowdy, voices raised and punches exchanged.
I tried several times to calm them because I turned to ask a simple question. “Are y’all ready to go home?”
My sons straightened up and quieted down immediately. Their friend was a bit slower to conform. He leaned over and whispered to the son closest to him, “she won’t turn around.”
I watched the exchange in the rear view mirror. My son’s eyes widened and he shook his head.
His friend persisted. “We’re almost there. There’s no way she’ll turn around now.”
“You don’t get it. She doesn’t care if we just paid and walked in the gate. If she says we’ll go home, we’ll go home.”
Focus Derailed by Choices
Back to the situation with my husband.
After I declared my ability to go home, he retorted, “Fine, go home.”
Without hesitation, I turned and walked back to the house. He followed. Just before I walked up the front steps he spoke again. “Are you really going to go back to the house just because I sighed?”
“Yes. I walk in the morning to enjoy the morning. The negative focus from your sigh sucks the joy out of the walk.”
He let that sit for a moment before responding. “You shouldn’t shoot yourself in the foot just because I sighed.”
He was right. My walk was my choice. My path was my choice. His annoyance with my choices was on him because my walk wasn’t an attempt to please him. And yet, I was allowing his choices to dictate my choices.
My focus on walking every morning was derailed by my choice to be annoyed by the actions of someone else. When you focus on what others are doing or saying then you lose focus on yourself. Once you lose focus on yourself then you stop making the better choices that will get you to where you want to go.
The Power of What If
Did you know IF is half of life? And many times we spend half of our life wondering about “what if” – either the ones that will never come, the ones that we can’t control, or the ones that don’t matter in the long run.
When “what if” controls what you do or don’t do then you will never be able to focus on yourself or your BIG DREAM goals. Instead, you spend all of your energy chasing the imaginary control of “what if” or being stuck in a moment not sure how to address the “what if.”
What if you just release the what ifs and focused on doing all you could do regardless of the outcome? After all, all you can control is what you can do. You will never be positioned to control the results – especially if there are other people involved in the process.
Focus on Yourself
Focusing on yourself is not about being selfish, judgemental towards others, or even dismissive of the plights others face. Instead, when you focus on yourself you invest in what you can do where you are with what you have.
- Are you doing what you are doing because someone else has said you should, you could, or you must?
There are valid reasons to do what others say. You might be in a position where you work for someone that determines your daily schedule. You might be caring for someone whose daily schedule changes and yours has to change to accommodate their changes. You might be working in a world where the rules seem to change daily.
But when you ask yourself the above question, think deeper than a daily schedule. In your life, why are you doing the things you are doing? Are you giving from a heart of gratitude or are you giving out of obligation?
- Why are you doing what you’re doing?
You have to have a reason or you will find an excuse. Your reason has to be based on your needs, wants, or desires. Your reason can’t be based on other’s, on current situations, or on your education.
Remember, you can always learn something new, change directions, or find people that expect more (or different) from you. When you are thinking over the above question, dig deep into your heart and rediscover your dreams.
- Do you have peace in your choice?
Peace provides the perfect measuring stick because peace comes from a place where Wisdom, Knowledge, and Love align. When you have peace in the situation the you are able to focus on yourself and not the surroundings (real or imagined).
Peace is not a place without apprehension or those “butterflies in the stomach” moments. Instead, peace is a place of calm understanding and firm belief.
Focus On Yourself to Live Your Purpose
You are in charge of your journey. Take charge by keeping your focus on your BIG DREAMS and your heart’s desire. Others will have things to say. Others will sometimes step in your way. Others may even have an attitude that seeks to drive you away from your purpose.
The more you hone in on your unique design, the bolder you will be in continuing your journey. The more you invest in knowing how to focus on yourself the stronger the foundation of your unique design.
Stand tall and dare to be uniquely you!