I recently received this message from my dear friend Steven Holly, who lost his job a few months ago after a downsizing within the company.
“Hi Antonia, today I started a new career. I have committed to giving my best with a good attitude. After being at the same company for 13 years, I feared that my next move might be life defining. I now realize that nothing is permanent and that I can make my own change when necessary and not let fear stands in my way.”
Do you find yourself in an undesirable situation right now? Maybe you’ve been in it for so long that you fear stepping out of it may be life defining.
So, do we actually repeat the same routine, make decisions and take actions that keep us reliving the same thing for no other reason other than THEY ARE FAMILIAR to us?
Good news is it REALLY doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power to change it around and transform our life. It all starts with ONE simple action: Recognizing Fear!
Most of us don’t recognize that we may be the one causing our own suffering and are actually afraid of letting it go. Sounds a little crazy, right?
How can we possibly be the creator of our own pain when we long to free ourselves from it?
Let’s look at it together.
Who or what are we depending on to free us? Is it our job, our partner, our friends, our possessions, our appearance, our society? If so, we already lost it.
To move away from this dependence may be scary for many of us. It means stepping into the unknown and out of our comfort zone. Discovering all we are capable of doing terrifies us more than our misery. At least we know misery. It’s our comfort zone and security blanket. But, joy, happiness and peace, we know nothing about. It may mean losing the things that we clinked to for so long to secure our existence and sense of value.
Steven’s message is reminding me how for the longest time, I had given the power of determining my sense of being to my outside world. It had become my source of information on what I should or should not to do to achieve happiness. I believed it to be true and ended up getting lost in the crowd.
Stepping out of conformity meant I’d be different. Society wouldn’t agree and I’d be on my own. This scared me.
Stepping out of conformity meant I’d lose everything that was familiar to me. The comfort and security of knowing exactly what each day would be like by sticking to my routine. This terrified me.
Stepping out of conformity meant I’d be starting over. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I would fail? It meant standing on my own through mistakes and failures and the world saying, “I told you so!” This petrified me.
Although I was miserable, I was familiar with it and ignored my fear through all my rationalizations. Fear was having a field day with this and gained power in running the show. It kept reminding me of past pains and telling me, “Don’t do it.” It kept projecting me in the future and telling me, “This is how you’ll end up.”
What’s worse is that at some point, I was trying to control my circumstances and others to be how I expected to give my existence a sense of value without making a change myself.
I don’t think I need to tell you that not only did it not work but, I created more misery.
Every time I thought about making a change, fear would not hesitate to pay me a visit. One day, I invited it in for a coffee and pay attention to it. Stay and face the emotion. You know the feeling, right? That little circus that starts in the pit of your stomach sending lightning bolts all over your body. It took some time before I stayed with it long enough to recognize it. The more I did, the more I began to see how irrational it was. It was all an illusion I created in my mind from a past childhood experience (when I didn’t get chosen for a volleyball team) and all the scenarios of the bad things that COULD happen in the future (from my Italian mom’s upbringing).
Both thoughts from the past and the future had absolutely NO solid ground in my present.
Guess what? It began to lose power.
Finally, I was left with a space to breath and clarity on taking my first step. This didn’t mean I had a certainty as to how it would all work out and end up (I still don’t know). It meant a clarity on seeing the abilities I already had, accepting where I was and understanding what I needed to learn by taking one step at a time. I let go of the attachment to the outside world to determine my value. And most of all,
understand that life is a living, moving thing NOT a fixed permanent thing.
Did I make mistakes?
So many that I stopped counting. Each one led me to discover opportunities and experiences beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Fear still pays me unexpected visits. This time, it knows it’s not welcomed to control my life and rob me of my freedom to keep making mistakes, continue learning from new experiences and LIVING!
How about you? Has fear robbed you of your freedom?