Today’s topic may be a trigger for any of you who might be or have in the past been through the journey to conceive. I will be discussing my journey and my thoughts about the communities that we unintentionally become a part of.Read More
What does being childless mean? What does childfree mean? Does it matter? To some people it does and I share my opinion about that.
After finishing Believe IT by Jamie Kern Lima, I realized I have been sabotaging myself. In this episode, I talk about what I mean and the realization that I came to.
Before I get started, get your mind out of the gutter!
In all seriousness, why do we make things seem as if they are so difficult? Well, because they are! Duh!!
Actually, no, they aren’t. They can be anything you want them to be. In my case for this episode, I’m going to talk about work and life in general. Now, I know that there are genuinely some problematic aspects to life; I’m not denying that. What I am referring to are the things that we can control and how we react to everything in life.Read More
Why is life so difficult? Why can’t we just get a break? There are things about life that we cannot help, but there are so many that we can. I’ll tell you how I am working to overcome my mindset about the difficulties in life.
Since I opened the door to talking about mental health, I want to continue on that theme and talk about fear, specifically, my fear of the unknown. In his paper published in ScienceDirect titled Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?, R. Nicholas Carleton defines the fear of the unknown as “an individual’s propensity to experience fear caused by the perceived absence of information at any level of consciousness or point of processing”. Why do I want to talk about this? Because it is something that triggers my anxiety and I’m sure it also affects some of you in one way or another.
I recently realized that I was experiencing my fear of the unknown and challenged myself to push against it. I am a beginner with landscape photography, but when I’m in nature experiencing it, I love taking pictures of scenes that nourish my soul. Someday I would love to be good enough to sell some of my photography. But I can’t do that if I don’t get out into nature to take the pictures to edit. Once it dawned on me that I need to get outdoors more to get better at taking pictures, I set a goal to go into nature at least one day per month every month of the year. I know that when it is warm enough to camp again, I will be taking more, but during the winter, I don’t get out much.
The first weekend I set that I was going to go out, I didn’t because it was supposed to be overcast. I used the clouds as an excuse instead of a feature in whatever pictures I could have taken. The second weekend in January that I said I was going, I woke up and decided that I wasn’t going to go because it was partly cloudy. There was that excuse again.
Those aren’t the only times I’ve made excuses to not get my ass into nature and enjoy the beauty that lights my soul on fire. It happens all of the time. Getting into nature isn’t the only thing I’ve made excuses for lately either. It happens for stupid shit around the house and for things as simple as taking the dogs for a walk.
As I was laying in bed telling myself that it was okay that I didn’t go out into the cold for pictures of things I didn’t know I would encounter in cloudy conditions I realized what the real issue was. I was running into my fear of the unknown. I immediately identified it as anxiety, but I wasn’t getting the typical anxiety response that I get. It was fear of not knowing what I would encounter or experience or fully knowing how I was getting to the place I had an idea of going.
Fear of the unknown is a real thing that we experience. Sometimes it leads to more intense anxiety responses such as panic attacks. R. Nicholas Carleton posited that fear of the unknown is a fundamental fear. So how do we manage this fundamental fear? R. Nicholas Carleton didn’t provide specific things to help, but I can tell you what helped me that morning I was giving into a cloudy day.
The first thing I had to do was identify what was happening, and I did. The next thing I did was run through the what-if’s. What if you don’t go? What if you do go? What if you don’t find what you are looking for? What if you find more than you are looking for? What if it is crowded? What if you are the only person there? What if getting up and going this one time gives me the confidence to go next month or even next weekend?
I ran through the what-ifs and realized that all I was doing was holding myself back. And so I made a deal with myself. I told myself that if I get up and do my meditating and journaling and then go, I can stop and get an Americano on the way out. It was a simple cheap thing that I rewarded myself with for pushing past the fear.
I had to challenge myself. I am competitive and a little competition with myself made my plans happen. And the best reward of it all was getting an absolutely beautiful sunrise and being able to play with settings and my drone. I realized on my way home that I’ve been succumbing to my fear of the unknown for quite some time. It’s with stupid little things like walking our two dogs by myself. Or doing something without my husband. I actually think I’ve become kind of codependent. That’s neither here nor there though. I’ve succumbed to my fear of the unknown with other things like reaching out to people to have different conversations that we normally do or reaching out to family members that make no effort to reach out to me.
My fear of the unknown holds me back. It held me back for almost a year with starting my podcast. I was afraid of what I didn’t know about how to create and post a podcast. Of course, I’m also afraid of failure, but that is a secondary fear for me.
What unknowns are you letting your fear hold you back from? Have you identified them? Are you open to identifying them? Why not?
Open your mind and start figuring out what is holding you back. If it is your fear of the unknown, then start with my what-if questions, see if those help you. If you are truly paralyzed by your fear or resulting anxiety, please ask for help. You are not alone and there are things you can do to overcome your fear. It can be done, little by little.
My fear of the unknown holds me back from so much in my life. I recently realized this with a specific event and want to share how I overcame that fear.
Fear has power over each and every one of us, even if we don’t want to admit it. Fear is a natural basic instinct that can easily control so much of what we do. I, from personal experience, know how debilitating life can be to live through the power that fear has over me. It is exhausting and stressful. It can be crippling.
How does fear have that much power over one person? Because we keep it all in and don’t share what we are afraid of. We don’t tell people. We don’t talk it out. We don’t write it out. We bottle it up so we won’t look incapable or weak.
This has been my life. I know I talk about fear a lot, but I do it because it is something that I am always working through. Fear is not simply something we can overcome once and be “cured” of. Fear is something we will work through for the entirety of our lives. The power that fear has over us is something we will continue to work through and against.
Something I learned about the power of fear that I didn’t realize that I had learned until I read this sentence in Worth It by Brit Barron, is that every time I write or speak about my fear, I am taking away the power it has over me. Do you journal? Do you complain to your friends about things that you won’t admit are fears? Me too. Do you feel better when you do these things? Yeah, me too. Those actions are reducing the power of our fears, even if we don’t realize it.
Every time I share something here with you when it is heavy on my heart or just by starting to type about something that is bothering me, I am reducing the power that the fear I have has over me. Sharing my story with you reduces that power. And you know what, it can reduce the power your fear has over you to.
You are here reading this post about fear and you probably have already thought of many fears that you don’t want to share with people for whatever reason. Or you’ve read a few of my posts and relate to them. A lot of them are about my underlying fears. If you relate to anything I am sharing and feel even a smidge better after reading it, you are also reducing the power your fear has over you.
You don’t have to have a public website to write out your fears. You don’t have to share them with friends. But if you share your fears with a piece of paper and a pen, if you write them out, you will start to feel so much better and you will start to reduce the power your fear has over you. I share with you because I know that I cannot be the only one going through this life with these fears or issues. No, we might not have precisely identical fears or issues, but there can be some sort of similarity. I am sharing so I can hopefully inspire you or be a mentor to you that you’ve always hoped was out there. I am sharing to let you know that you are not alone. And I am sharing because writing it out lifts a giant weight off of my shoulders.
I’ve always wanted to be like that girl who is free from judgement or care about judgement and is just herself. You know that girl who dances like nobody is watching, laughs as loud as her laugh comes out, is silly, can pick up and randomly do whatever, says what is on her mind, and just lives her life like there isn’t a care in the world? That girl. I have always been envious of how she just does it.
I mean, how does she? How does she not care what everybody else thinks? Was she one of the popular girls in school who teased and bullied the rest of us for doing just that? Did she have parents who encouraged her to be herself? How in the hell does she do it?
I have no fucking clue.
What I do know is that I still want to be that girl. I want to be free. And as I write that, I hear Zach Brown Band’s song Free playing in my mind. Specifically, “Just as free, Free as we’ll ever be.” I see a girl dancing and twirling and laughing. I see a girl who is laid back and chill. I don’t see me.
I have lived my life in fear of being teased or ridiculed. The bullying I encountered when I was young has stuck with me all of these years. I might slip and be free and enjoy it and then I realize people are around me and I freeze up. I rein it all back in and shut it down. My fear of being bullied takes over.
What would happen if I didn’t shut down? What would my husband think of me? My friends? My in-laws? My coworkers? Will they think I’m immature? Will they ask me what the hell I’m doing? I don’t know. I doubt it. I mean, I can be that way when I’m drunk, like shit faced drunk, and haven’t heard anything bad about it. So why can’t I be that free sober?
Fear shuts me down in so many ways. Today, I want to say no more. Today, I want to be free. Today, I am going to start opening myself up a little more so I can reach that free feeling I’ve always envied. I’m going to grow into this free and happy person that I want to be. How? Little by little.
I’m sure you’ve had someone tell you this a time or two. Or you’ve been the one telling someone else. Is living in the moment easy for you? It is, then this post may only help you understand those of us who can’t. If living in the moment is a struggle for you, you are not alone my friend. This is one of the most difficult things for me to do in life.
Glennon Doyle summarized it perfectly in this explanation in Untamed:
It’s just that living with anxiety — living alarmed — makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I am too afraid of what the next moment will bring. I have to be ready.
Those two words explain so much about my life without going into great detail. I live alarmed and on edge every single day. I have to be ready. I have to be prepared. I have to know what is coming next so I can be ready for it.
I have to be observant and watchful.
I have to be inconspicuous and calm.
I have to divert the crisis that is about to happen.
I cannot live in the moment and enjoy it because I have to be ready for the next moment that is almost surely going to be some sort of disaster.
Anxiety tells me that something bad is always going to happen next and that I need to be prepared to control it. I need to be prepared to take action. Anxiety leaves me living in constant vigilance of what is coming next.
Not just next in the next second. Next in the next minute. In the next hour. In the next day. In the next month. In the next year. In the next five years. In the next eternity. Whatever is next, I have to be ready.
Spontaneous fun? No, that is not acceptable. I can’t be prepared for it.
Just chilling and hanging out. Mmm maybe but I’m still going to be considering what is coming next once I stop chilling. Also, this must be planned. It cannot be spontaneous.
Why does everything just want to be spontaneous and live in the moment when there is surely something that will go wrong?!
Because they are wired differently.
It doesn’t mean we are bad people because we can’t live as free as they can. I know we have times that life seems easy and spontaneity is possible and living in the moment is possible. We can all get there occasionally. But when we can’t, we are in a constant state of panic.
Some people call us high-strung. They are wrong. We are sensitive people who just want to make sure everyone we love with be alright. And that everything is put away where it goes and done exactly as we think it should be. That’s how we stay safe.
Living in the moment sounds delightful and terrifying at the same time. If you live or are around one of us who carries anxiety with us, give us a little grace as we navigate spontaneity and working to live in the moment. We are working through more than you can see on the outside. We are struggling and happy at the same time, most of the time.
Living in the moment will work for us sometimes and not others. It is nothing against you, it is merely how we are wired. We are working through it. We are struggling. We are overcoming. Take our hand and help us through it without condemnation or some smartass comment. That doesn’t help.
We want to live in the moment, but we also want to hide from the moment so we can prepare for the next one.