The word Fear has been popping up a lot lately in my reading and journaling. It is the root cause of many of the things I’m working through. It has become my new F-Word. I googled the definition of fear and found the following:
- An unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined (Google Result)
- An unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger (Merriam Webster)
Notice the words I’ve put in purple – these are the ones that caught my eye. Perception, imagined, anticipation.
I’ve been reading a couple of really good books lately which have been helping me gain some perspective on my life and the things I’ve been working through during my mid life
crisis transformation. One of them is by Jen Sincero, You are a Badass – How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. In one chapter she notes that fear is about the future. We are afraid of things that have not yet happened (and very well may never happen!) We are afraid of the unknown.
This made me start thinking about how I dwell on things before they happen. I have full blown conversations in my head where I go through multiple scenarios of what could happen and/or what others may say to me and how I would respond. I even have full conversations that others may be having about me where I am not even present and then think about what I can do to change their perception so the conversation they are having is different. (Please please tell me I am not the ONLY one who does this!!) In my head I’m doing this to prepare myself for what is coming. Thinking out and planning out every possible scenario so I can act accordingly. Seriously – it is INSANE!!!
I’m realizing that regardless of all the different scenarios I go through in my head and the things that I “prepare” for, the reality is none of these ever actually happen. I have never had one of these scenarios in my head actually come true. Well, maybe some of the conversations that happen about me where I am not present may happen – but I’ll never know. And really they are probably not really happening either.
Once again my anxiety is being caused by my own mind. So – if I am the one creating it – I should be able to control it and dismiss it. Right?
All it takes to turn the fear factor around is learning to be comfortable in , instead of terrified of, the unknown.
Wow! Seems simple on the surface. Here is my problem though – I am a Planner. I like to have thing planned out in advance. One of the areas I score high in for my work reviews is my organization skills. Planning is a strength. However, this is also a weakness in some areas of my life when I let it take over. My need to plan out and know everything in advance is what makes me so fearful of the unknown and so full of anxiety. I have to learn to give up the planning at times. Learn to jump into the unknown and enjoy the ride.
I am a fan of fairy tales and one of my favorites is Alice in Wonderland. When I am trying to grasp something new to apply to my life I find it easiest to do so when I have a picture in my mind. So for this I’m imagining me willing jumping like Alice into the rabbit hole of the unknown. And instead of screaming and scratching for handholds on the the way down – I am letting myself fall and making a point to notice and enjoy the view on the way down. Remember how Alice reacts when she falls? She looks around at all the other objects falling and floating in that rabbit hole and calmly observes them rather than freaking out. I need to be Alice!
In this case I need to fall back on one of my other strengths. I have a very analytical mind. When I start to feel anxious and fearful, I need to stop, take a deep breath and dissect the root cause of my feelings. Jen describes this in her book as breaking down the fear and flipping it.
I ask myself why I am freaking out? What am I anxious about? And then I ask, what is the worst that could happen? And how does it really affect me? I’ve realized I usually work myself up to the point where you would think it is the end of the world. But if I really think about it – how bad is it really? And I’m realizing that it is not the end of the world. I’ve been conditioned over the years to believe certain things are horrible and so awful, but in reality these are just little road bumps in my life that I can easily maneuver over or around. And I have a huge support group of people who love and care for me who will help me through it.
If I look over my life and what I’ve already overcome I start to realize I’m pretty awesome and amazing already. So what if I fail and the worst happens. Sure, it will suck – but that is how we get better and grow. That is when we see what we are really made of and see who we have in our lives that truly love us for who we are! Not what we do or succeed at.
Once again it all come down to perspective. How I choose to look at and see myself and the circumstances around me. I need to make a choice when I come face to face with the unknown and my fear. Do I cower and run the other way to hide in a corner? Or do I hold my head high and march forward saying “F – Fear! I’ve got this!” Because in the end it really is my choice!
Fuck Fear! I’ve got this!
Updated: A friend recently told me that I need to either commit to cussing sometimes in my blog (because I DO do it in real life sometimes) or I need to not even infer it. She is correct. Especially on this post since the reason I haven’t included it before is due to FEAR – the other F word. So based on that, I’ve decided to commit. I won’t cuss very often, but if I want to be real and authentic then it is going to happen sometimes. I’ve edited the above quote (which I look in the mirror and say to myself at times when needed) to reflect what I truly say.