Fear is a worrier
It sits in a dark corner of our minds rocking back and forth while biting its nails vigilantly trying to avoid the next catastrophe. It is jacked up on coffee and red bull and it has lost its ability to discern between a real threat and an imagined one. And what could be worse to a tormented-hypervigilant-frightened creature than change?
Change is scary. It is so because it’s uncertain – and we are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty. Committing to a whole new way of eating, starting a new exercise routine, following our career dreams or simply taking any action incongruent with our status quo drives fear to stall our plans and deliberately underline all the reasons why “this” is such a bad idea.
Fear of change
Which is why we find ourselves stuck way too often. We stay in situations that are no longer working out of fear of the unknown.
Even if that change is something as innocuous as trying out a different diet for 30 days. In the grand scheme of things 30 days is nothing but a fraction of a millisecond. But not to our fears. All it hears are alarm bells threatening it own survival.
So what if you’re 30 pounds overweight?
So what if you have to drag out of bed every morning and require 4 cups of coffee just to make it through the day?
You may feel miserable, but least your fear knows how to navigate these scenarios; it is familiar with it – it knows its way around.
Once that safety is threatened by the mere possibility of change it won’t go down without a fight. And so it tries to keep you in the familiar safety zone by filling your head with IF’s and BUT’s while grumbling out things like “this change is too complicated” or “it can’t be that simple, which mans it probably doesn’t work so I’m not even wasting my time“.
These are the initial scare tactics used by fear to manipulate you.
If it senses you’re not buying into its madness, it will dig deeper and uncover that carefully-buried garbage from under the rug AND throw it in your face.
“Are you SURE you want to lose the weight? ‘Cause then you’ll really have no excuse to avoid putting yourself out there and meeting new people. And you know what? People still won’t like you – and you can no longer blame it on the extra pounds.”
“You want to follow your dreams? Seriously? Do you know how many people fall for that BS only to end up completely heartbroken AND broke? Besides, what makes you so special, anyways, to think that you can do what other people couldn’t?”
Admit it, you know what I’m talking about. We must never underestimate the controlling power of fear.
Fear has a strong, deep, hypnotizing voice capable of steering you away from your goals for the sake of safety and familiarity. The unknown? No, honey. I didn’t sign up for this. I’m ok right here where I am.
Even though it means well, fear needs a reality check most of the time.
Stand up to fear
So you have to strike back. You have to clearly and emphatically let you fear know that you got this. You are on the driver seat, it is just tagging along for the ride. It can object and grumble all it wants, but at the end of the day you are calling the shots.
Eventually, it will fold its imaginary little arms, let out a disapproving sigh and have no choice but to go along with your flow. And right at that moment, you’ll have won that particular battle and will therefore be better equipped for the greater ones that will, inevitably, come.
While its voice can never be silenced, it will eventually become like a nuisance – much like your aunt’s well-meaning concern about your dating status (single) at yet another wedding – the kind of prose you reluctantly acknowledge and readily dismiss.
When it comes to making changes that will positively impact your life, thank your fear for its well meaning advice – but throw it on the backseat and show it who’s the boss.