Help yourself (Who else is going to do it?)

I titled this one “Help yourself” because I think that’s something we should all do and that maybe we don’t do enough of. Most of us — certainly me — need to look in the mirror more when we want to do better. It might be easy to blame someone or something else for our difficulties, but it’s rarely productive.

Last week we talked about my anger management work. One thing I don’t think I made clear enough is that the first step has to come from within. It isn’t like there’s a secret button that your coach or sport’s psychologist pushes that makes you better or that solves all of your problems.

You have to want to change. I can’t tell you how important it was for me to get tired of being angry. It’s one thing to want to be tired of being angry. It’s another thing to be tired of being angry. The first thought is useless. The second thought is life-changing.

When I tell you to use a sports psychologist or that one can help you, keep in mind that you have to want the help and be willing to accept it. Sometimes that can be painful. You’ll have to look at things in a new way. You’ll hear things you don’t want to hear but that you need to hear.

You will only get to that place when you’re ready to accept help, when you’re ready to do something to help yourself. It doesn’t come easy and definitely not all at once. It’s a process that sneaks up on you. All at once, it’s there. You didn’t see it coming and you don’t know when, or how, it happened.

In my case I had to be ready to accept the fact that my anger wasn’t getting me anywhere, that it was hurting me at times. It was making my life more difficult. I’ve said that it (anger) can be used as a motivator. It can. It can also cause you lots of problems. The trick is to know the difference and be able to use the motivator part of it.

I think I’ve made a good start. It won’t be perfect — I’m not as cool and calm as VanDam when a big one gets loose — but at least I’m not letting it define the rest of my day. And that’s the way I want things. I don’t know that I ever want to take a lost fish in stride or that I want a smile on my face after it happens. That’s not me.

Keeping that in mind, however, so long as I can deal with it and continue on the way I did at Toledo Bend, I’ll be a happy camper. It’s not a matter of being perfect. It’s a matter of using what skills you have to their best abilities. I can honestly say I’m a work in progress. I’ll settle for that right now.

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