A recent review of an article from one of my favorite blogs (arguably my favorite) made me realize something I’d never quite put my finger on before: A lot of my decisions in life — heck, a lot of my thoughts — come from a place of fear. Are based on the premise of fear. Are constructed and formulated, to a large extent, on any number of fears:
The fear that it will be the "wrong" decision The fear that outsiders will react negatively to my decision or action The fear that my action will cause detriment to me or my family The fear that it's a "bad" decision The fear that once I make the decision, there's no turning back The fear of regret The fear of shame or embarrassment The fear of disappointing someone else
Some of those are inter-related, perhaps even redundant, but hopefully, you get my point — and maybe a light bulb just went off in your head, too.
Think about any of the following situations, starting with food, of course:
You eliminate carbs from your diet, following the latest trend, because if you don’t, you’ll get fat. (That’s the fear of becoming fat talking.)
You stay at your dead-end job, never even asking for a raise, because what will you say, and what if they say no, and what will you do then. (That’s your fear of jumping out on a limb and going for what you want; fear of being embarrassed if you’re turned down; fear of word spreading in the company and you looking like a fool.)
You decide not to join that book club you’ve been thinking about, because your husband will get angry if you leave the kids with him again, and he might even get jealous, and you might wish you’d never even brought it up. (That’s most definitely a fear of having to stand up for yourself, perhaps actually a fear of being put in a new social situation, maybe even a fear of facing a bigger issue/problem in your marriage.)
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Can you relate to them in any way? I can, and it’s nice to finally recognize that it’s often this fairly useless emotion that’s forming my decisions, thoughts, and actions — nice only in the sense that now that I’m aware, I can hopefully catch myself in the act and face each decision with a new perspective, not this old, trembling one. I know I’ve talked a lot on here recently about going after what I want, and not basing my actions on what others think or what’s “right” or what’s “normal,” and this is just another example of how what you want can end up getting twisted, lost, forgotten — when fear gets in the way.
It’s NOT necessarily easy to just stop yourself in your tracks and, from one day to the next, stop operating on a platform of doom and gloom. But as I always say, awareness is the first step. If you have a few sips of soda without worrying what the sugar in it will do once it’s in your bloodstream, you might just enjoy it a bit more — or you might decide you don’t even like soda at all. If you venture out and meet new people without wondering what they’ll think of you or if your attire is appropriate or what you’ll say if silence falls among you, you will probably enjoy yourself much more — just being you, speaking when you have something to say, wearing something you’re comfortable in.
There will be conflict — trust me, sometimes I have to ask myself what I want, even why I want it — but I’m also hoping it gets easier. And that as I make sound, pure decisions, they start multiplying, and having babies, and growing into bigger, stronger, tightly knit decisions, real beliefs and expectations about what my amazing future holds, and all my goals and dreams coming true.
Have you ever caught yourself making a decision or doing something unconsciously that is spawned by fear or anxiety? Share your story — it may help you to remember next time and instead come from a place of peace.