Fear has become a fascination for me. I’m constantly afraid. Afraid of not fitting in, afraid of fitting in, afraid of never succeeding, afraid of actual success. All this fear keeps me trapped in this tiny cramped bubble of nothing so I’ve started searching for fear. Anything that makes me uncomfortable? Let’s go do it! Let’s talk to the person we’re intimidated by, let’s try something that we know we are going to be judged for (and stick with it for 6-12 months). I don’t choose to look at fear as something negative, it’s really there just trying to keep me safe. It doesn’t realize that we don’t live a thousand years ago and now, staying in is the thing that will kill us not the opposite. I think that’s why so many more people struggle now with fear and change-we have to work against our natural biology to succeed. We no longer live in a world where we have to be physical and go out and the world pushes our boundaries. Our boundaries are here, they live with us in our homes and cars, on our laptops and phones. We don’t have to search any more because we have everything. So now the challenge is, we have to actively search to make ourselves afraid because when we are afraid we’re working, we’re fighting, we’re pushing our boundaries. It’s ironic how things being easier actually makes them harder.
Most people say that regret is a bad thing. I would disagree. Regret is an amazing motivator. If you’ve ever sat with the elderly and asked them what they would have done differently they will give you a list of things they wish they’d spent more time on. Living a regret-free life isn’t just accepting that “it was meant to be” it’s being proactive. That fear of missing out, not taking the chance, not going for what you want should motivate you to want to not look back at sixty, seventy, eighty and say I wish I’d done it differently.
We have one chance to get it right. You can’t get that time back once it’s gone and I can guarantee the fear of failure and the fear of being uncomfortable are so much less than the fear of seeing what could have been.
So I took a few days from posting realizing that I felt like I had nothing to say and didn’t want to put filler out just to say I was being active. It’s been a particularly difficult time this last month. I recently ended/transitioned out of an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship and wanted to be upfront and honest with y’all because I feel that it’s important for people to know they aren’t alone. I think it’s startling to reach a place where you realize that you’ve blinded yourself, made excuses and tried to cover up something that you knew was unhealthy and ultimately destructive even as you were trying to better yourself as a human being. When we finally step away from something and can look at it clearly and see just how terrible, damaging and draining it was we find a whole new perspective from which we need to work. I am beginning again and trying to forgive myself, every day for all the harm I caused myself by staying in a situation that continually hurt me as a person. I think that although the person who is being abusive is obviously accountable for that pain we also need to take responsibility for our own actions, our own faults and say no, this is my fault too. I allowed myself to be hurt, I didn’t take of myself, I stayed when I knew I shouldn’t etc. and that is absolutely 120% my fault and I own that. I am incredibly grateful for everything I have learned from this and although it has put a new set of challenges on me it has also made me so much stronger and taught me about myself and where my weaknesses are as an individual and also in a relationship. I encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to of course not only dig deep (you’re going to have to dig real deep) and find the strength leave but also to reach out, share, create a support for myself whether it’s family or friends and be honest. Honesty is such a huge part of growing up and healing. Hold yourself accountable because no one else is going to do it for you.
When people ask you, “hey so how was your day, did you have a good day?” what do you usually tell them? So and so did this, this and that happened and yeah I guess it was good or no it wasn’t that great. Have you ever stopped to think though, why was I unhappy or happy based on any of those things or people? Because you (and I) gave our happiness to them and said here, “make me feel better” and then we were probably disappointed. I am one of the worst at this!! (I say one of the worst but I ought to say, it’s something I am learning to do better-positive reframing y’all, lets get it done). I let people and situations sway my happiness, sway my peace of mind every day all day. And for what, what am I getting out of it. Nothing! Nothing at all and neither are you. This has become such an ingrained habit, so unconscious that I barely notice it most of the time. My mood swings left and right and up and down depending on my dogs, how easy it was to find the things I needed at the hardware store, whether my significant other is in a good mood. I’m sacrificing my calm and literally throwing it on a trash pile, setting it on fire and going “I wonder why I’m so unhappy all the time”. We as a culture do this as well. We are consumers of almost every category looking for that moment of joy or fulfilment before we allow ourselves to be thrown into the waves, treading water in our own self-made mediocrity and anguish. There is no magic cure, no program to getting out of this way of life. It’s literally 2 steps-notice and stop. Notice that you’re giving your happiness away to this person or that thing and stop it. Take it back, say “I’m not going to spend 2 or even 10 minutes upset by this”. Trust me, no one and nothing deserves your happiness, joy or contentment more than you do.
Being honest is hard. There is no way around that. It’s hard when you feel weak and tired and you are maybe even afraid. It’s hard when you know, being honest is going to bring you nothing but pain. Relationships are where I struggle the most with honesty. Not in a -keeping secrets, lying to my partner sort of way but rather I don’t want to feel the rejection or disappointment or frustration from them when I tell them how I feel…what I’m struggling with and that it’s hard. Continuing to be honest even when you know the pain is going to come, even when you know the roadblocks are going to come and you have to keep fighting through that fear is the only solution. We hide so much of what we think because we fear the outcome, we fear the response but most of all we fear the pain. You’re already in pain, you’re already suffering why not get a reward from it. Go that last half mile and finish. Get it off your chest and be honest with yourself and the other person because ultimately the truth really does set you free.
Had the odd experience this week of being completely blindsided by someone I thought I knew really well, which got me thinking-do we ever really know anyone. Of course, people have shocked, hurt, surprised me before but rarely has it been someone I’ve known almost all of my adult life. This is in part due to the fact that I rarely let anyone into my closest circle. I think it’s the most jarring experience of being human…never fully knowing what someone is thinking and if the reality they are portraying is, in fact, the reality they live. Having no expectations and understanding that investment is transmutable, it’s not fixed and the outcome will never be certain is all we can really do. No doubt, no judgements, no fear. You can’t ever know someone fully, we all have pieces we keep to ourselves and even when you think that person would never do you like that, or never not come to you I can guarantee that you will be disappointed and proven wrong 100% of the time.
This has been one of the most complex topics that I have dealt with, not only from childhood but also in my adult life. I have passions that I can define and that have gone with me throughout all my endeavours but learning to trust those passions and maybe even invest in my passion has been another story. One of my favorite phrases is “transferring your passion to your job is easier than finding a job that fit’s your passion”. This is a hard truth for me to deal with. I am by nature a very black and white type person. By this I mean, if I’m not interested in it I won’t try. School proved to be learning lesson (in more ways than one) for me because if I wanted to graduate I had to invest, regardless of if it inspired me or not.
I think there is a fine line between searching for the perfect job/career, of which there is none and finding something that fits you overall, maybe not perfectly but doesn’t make you dread your work day in and day out. That is the quest that most of us are on and furthermore to find if our passion can be our jobs or if they are just in fact, passions.