I tell people to face fears, push outside the comfort zone, ignore negative messages from ego and be self-confident, but when the arrow is pointed at me, I buckle with self-doubt. Walking into a room filled with strangers, speaking in front of a crowd, going to an interview, entering a competition and dating throw me into panic mode. I forget that I am a spiritual being here to learn. Some experiences are painful. Ego screams that I fall short, regardless of the scenario. It is easier to run away from possible joy than to feel disappointment, rejection and hurt.
How do I move forward? The answer is self-love. I am a work in progress and can only share what I have learned from great teachers. When challenged by a situation that has me on the ropes, I take time-out to get grounded by immersing myself into what makes my heart sing. For me, nature, music, walks with my dog and dance bring me back to center. I remember who I am, a beautiful soul within flesh and bones. Others may find their sacred space with meditation, gardening, cooking, building, sewing, etc. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. You cannot serve if you are depressed and depleted.
Life would be boring without challenges. Walk boldly with love and leave fear home, in the closet with ego.
How much of your life is wasted, while you play the what if game?
- What if I fail?
- What if I never find my soulmate?
- What if I don’t get the job?
- What if all my dreams don’t come true?
- What if I am abandoned?
- What if others laugh at me?
Time is a precious commodity. Think of it as currency. Is your priority to throw it away on negative thoughts? You cannot control what life throws at you, but you determine your response. Many disappointments and closed doors direct you to a better path. Trust that you are loved and supported. Turn off the news and take a walk. Focus on beauty and the arts, whatever feeds your soul. Go with the energetic flow and resist the temptation to swim against the current. Drop the drama. Be grateful in the moment. Inner peace is the reward.
Love or fear, the choice is yours.
Did you ever stop to think what motivates you? Why do respond the way you do? Are you avoiding pain or seeking comfort? Does fear of lack drive your career goals? Do you feel inadequate, therefore must prove yourself? Are competing with a sibling for your parents’ approval and love? Are you looking for love in all the wrong places, turning to food, alcohol or drugs? Scratching the surface, you may find a frightened child who needs a hug.
For almost three decades, my husband and I owned a successful photography studio. During those years, my father-in-law often asked my husband when he was going to get a real job. Our parents were programed and they lovingly passed it on to us.
Our egos tell us that we are deficient. We fear criticism and failure. How do you react? Do you find comfort in art, music or hobbies, that feed your soul? Are you anxious and irritable as you stretch for the gold ring? Do you dream about starting a business or writing a book, but talk yourself out of it?
Ask yourself why you do what you do. If you are happy, you are in alignment with your true self. If not, you are allowing the chatter in your head drive your behavior. Listen to your heart. It will never steer you wrong.
Five Ways to Relieve Stress and Worry
- Identify your fear- Many times stress is fear of the unknown.
- Consider the worst scenario and prepare. Stock the car with supplies when traveling (blanket, first aid kit, non-perishable food like energy bars, water, cell phone) Have emergency kits at home in the event of power outage, snowstorm, tornado or hurricane (battery radio, flashlights, generator with fuel, canned goods, propane, camp stove, bottled water, non-perishable food) Preparation can make the difference between inconvenience and desperation. The same applies to making presentations, taking exams, house maintenance. Be prepared.
- Reflect on the best outcome- Once prepared, focus on the positive. The chance of your worst nightmare coming to fruition is small. If planning a trip, immerse yourself in the adventure. The butterflies in your stomach are excitement. Do not confuse the feeling with fear.
- Be flexible. Go with the flow. Swimming against a rip current is exhausting.
- Trust. The universe has your back. When you encounter obstacles, trust that you are being guided to something better.
Running from the chasing voices
Running from the angst inside
Facing fear the greatest demon
Facing those that rise within
Run to meet the challenge head on
Fear is worse than what is real
Anxious moments, needless worry
Cast it off and shed the skin
The floorboards snap as the footsteps get closer. I dare not breathe. My eight year old frame is tucked behind battleship gray work pants, the kind Mom dries on stretchers. Dad’s only suit, protected by the dry cleaner’s plastic bag, is pushed to one side. I’d be in big trouble if I wrinkled it.
Doors open. Doors close. I’m hunted. My mouth feels like it’s stuck with peanut butter.. I’d run, but they’d catch me before I got to the stairs. We live on the second floor because the first floor pays more rent. I hate it because the girl downstairs gets to play on the big porch and I don’t. But, I get even. When Mom and Dad aren’t home I roller skate in the house, over their heads.
They just searched the bathroom closet on the other side of the wall. When the door opened, I heard water running. I think this one’s next. Good thing this old house doesn’t have a light in the closet. My heart hurts. I hope they can’t hear it pounding.
They’re heading for my hiding place. I think I’m going to throw up. My legs ache, but I pull them closer. I wish I were invisible.
The door creaks open. Daylight floods the closet. I close my eyes and hold my breath. “Go Away,” I shout in my head.
A claw-like hand grabs my knee. My eyes pop open.
“There you are. You almost made us late for church,” my mother scolds.
“Do I have to go?” I whine.
“Get in the tub. There’s no more time to horse around.”