Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
If I let fear rule me, I would never leave the house.
I overthink everything, I try to plan for things that haven’t even happened yet, and I get worked up over scenarios I’ve imagined.
I had a sleepless night recently picturing the route I should drive to a meeting, where I would park, how long I would be and whether the meeting would be successful. I finally gave up on sleep, got up, showered, dressed, read over my notes for the thirtieth time, then ping came the email: “Sorry, can we push back our meeting until tomorrow?”
I’d put myself through all that stress for nothing.
That night I slept like a log because of the three minutes’ sleep I’d managed the night before. The next morning, the road I’d planned to drive down was closed because of an accident, and the parking lot I was going to park in was full. I walked into the meeting taking deep breaths, hoping I wasn’t going to be sick in my own lap from all the angst.
The discussion wasn’t at all what I’d had played over and over in my head (a minefield of tricky questions, being quizzed on facts and figures, and being forced to think on my feet with a flurry of groundbreaking ideas).
It is often said “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”, which basically means we shouldn’t let fear stand in the way of things we really want to do. The extreme of this is hurling yourself out of a plane in a skydive (no, thanks), swimming with sharks (I’ll pass) or not applying for a job because you’re terrified of the interview process.
We don’t all have to be thrill-seekers, nor should we wander around being carefree and not giving a damn. But somewhere in the middle we have to acknowledge that fretting over daily tasks is normal; everyone feels anxious, nervous and scared – what’s important is that we don’t become crippled by fear.
I have proven enough times in my life that when things turn to crap I bounce back. I don’t drown for long; somehow even when things are really awful I manage to stick a straw in my mouth so I can keep breathing while I’m being held underwater for a while. But, still, I’m a worrier, I get anxious, I imagine the worst, and fear is my worst enemy. I have to work really hard at shoving my racing mind aside and getting on with whatever I’m dreading.
If there’s something in your life you want to change – your job, relationship, a feud with a friend, a phobia – close your eyes, take a deep breath and just get on with it. Forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone, off our sofas and out into the big, wide world is crucial for our self-esteem and to fulfil our dreams.
And, most importantly, as much as being filled with fear might make us feel nauseous, it usually means we’re opening the door to an opportunity, and that, well, that’s what life is all about.
Images via favim.com.
Comment: When life gets to be too much sometimes, what helps you get through?