From expert to beginner, I think this is true of everyone, no matter where we are on the path of development and is an important reminder to never take knowledge or awareness for granted.
And I had to remind myself of this recently.
I’ve spent most of life in a state of fear. I was fearful of:
- Being bulled
- Failing in school
- Failing in college
- Failing in work
- Being rejected
- Getting sick
- Not having enough money to pay bills
- Losing someone
I even feared succeeding and all the potentially terrible things that might come from this. The best way I can describe it was like being a bird trapped in a cage, I wanted to fly away but was held back by the prison of my mind, waiting from someone to set me free.
Once I came to this realization, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted for my life and focused on relaxing and stripping away fear. And this worked, for weeks, months and even years…but then, as I was rushing around trying to get sh!t done, it struck me! My anxious state was back and I had barely noticed as I was too busy living (or surviving).
As any functional worrier, I had a good life with plenty of moments of happiness, but I was driven by external factors and internal trauma’s which didn’t serve me anymore.
To break this, I had to constantly make conscious decisions to shift away from fear based notions and scenarios. This is incredibly tough as there is a certain attractiveness to negative thinking, such as the illusion (or delusion) of control and empowerment.
One way to do this is to find a personal mantra to catch the complex of thoughts. A mantra acts as anchor to snap us out of our internal reality and ground ourselves in the present. It also serves to self-sooth the underlying emotions which may be driving the fears.
My personal mantra when playing out fears in my head is “I don’t want this to happen”. Others have told me their mantra’s include: “think happy thoughts”, “it’ll be fine” or simply “relax”. The mantra doesn’t matter as long as it resonates with you and you use it diligently in times of distress.
With only a couple of weeks left of 2017, maybe now is the time to reflect on how fear has informed your past decisions/actions and decide if 2018 represents breaking free of the bird cage and refusing to let fear influence your life going forward.
Thanks for reading and have a brilliant Christmas and New year.