It’s been another busy week. Nothing quite as exciting as last week but a time when I’ve been...observing...my own reaction as I’ve dealt with things.
One of the things I found myself thinking about this week was fear—and what it costs us.
When I look back over my life, every act of self-sabotage happened because of fear. Even now, every time I’m afraid, I’m in danger of acting in ways that will create the circumstances of which I’m most afraid. (Example: If I’m afraid of going to the dentist, I may put it off until problems become serious and because I’m afraid, there will be more adrenaline in my system which will push out the Novocain faster so I am more likely to find the work painful.)(Example: If I’m afraid of being abandoned by someone, I’m likely to keep pressing for reassurance whereas if I can let go then I can just enjoy the relationship I have with that person and it’s more likely to work out in positive ways.)
The paradox is that the optimal strategy is to say to myself: Okay, I’m scared BUT AS AN EXPERIMENT I’m going to let go and trust that everything will all work out.
This isn’t how most of us were raised. This isn’t the strategy most of us developed to cope with abuse as a child. If I try to think too hard about it, I start wondering if I’m out of my freaking mind to think this could work. And yet....
And yet, by observation I know that it does work for me. I do have more time and energy for things I want to do. Things do tend to work out and I am far less likely to sabotage myself in any way. And even when the worst case scenario plays out, because I’m more relaxed I’m much more likely to think of things I wouldn’t if I was still scared.
It works, too, in dealing with friends and family members who tend to get caught up in their own personal dramas. (I used to get sucked in ALL the time!) Now, I step back, remind myself that the optimal strategy is to assume it will all work out and then I can be of most help because MY emotions aren’t caught up in the emotions. This means my brain is working more efficiently and I may be able to see clearly: a) options and (more importantly!) b) where my responsibility begins and ends. I can see that I don’t have to solve everyone’s problems and I can step back and let them solve their own—perhaps offering some suggestions but without any “investment” in whether the person uses my suggestions or not.
The good thing about this strategy is that I don’t have to put lots of time and energy into figuring out the “whys.” I don’t have to know why I’m afraid. I don’t have to know where that fear began. I don’t have to repress that fear. I can acknowledge it, honor it, and then let it go. I can keep moving forward with whatever I need to do.
Sometimes it’s good to just stop and observe how we act and react and consciously choose which strategies we want to keep and which we want to change. There’s power and comfort in knowing we have choices.
Wishing for all of you lots of empowering choices this week!
Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),