What do you think is stopping you from living your dream life?
I used to think that it was money, but as I look back on my life, I realize now it was fear.
Fear of being rejected.
Fear of being alone.
Fear of being taken advantage of.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of failure.
I didn’t realize at the time that fear was my driving emotion behind all my decisions. If you had asked me at the time if I was afraid of anything, I would have told you no. I wasn’t “afraid” of anything, but the truth is, I was in denial. I was afraid of everything.
For many years my fear kept me chained to a miserable life.
I wanted to break free, strive for my goals and explore the world around me, but instead, I kept doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result—insanity in the making.
Nothing in my miserable life ever changed. In fact, my circumstances got progressively worse. My marriage began to fail, and my health began to deteriorate. I couldn’t stand the skin I was in. Life was unbearable.
That is when my miracle happened—rock bottom.
Rock bottom sounds like a horrible place to most people, but in reality, rock bottom is the stepping stone to your dream life if you want it.
Everyone’s rock bottom is different, but all rock bottom’s share a common thread:
When the pain of your current life outweighs the fear you feel about achieving your dream life, you will seek change.
Unhealthy fear is the darkest energy in this universe. It puts it’s arm around you like a manipulative fake friend and tells you that you’d be better off staying put. It tells you to “do nothing” because you are “never good at anything you do.” Fear reminds you of your past mistakes, losses, regrets and keeps you locked in a cage of hurt and disappointment. Fear is a liar, and it will slowly steal your soul if you let it.
We often are afraid of pain and feel it is something we want to avoid physically and emotionally, but what if I told you that the pain you have been avoiding might be the key to unlocking your dreams?
Avoiding conflict was how I lived most of my life.
I tried to make everyone around me happy, and I was happy to sweep things under the rug if I could. The worst thing in the world was if someone was mad at me. I allowed unacceptable behavior in my relationships just because I didn’t want to deal with conflict.
Today, I’m a different person. I believe in sharing my fears and my feelings with my loved ones. I set boundaries, and I value and respect myself enough to enforce them. The biggest change, though, was addressing my fears.
Did you know your body stores those repressed feelings of fear, anger, and hurt?
When I feel pain, either emotionally or physically, I ask my body and my spirit why I’m feeling this way instead of running from it or covering it up with a smile or some Advil.
Sweeping it under the rug is like putting a bandaid on an infected cut. You can only run from it for so long before you are forced to look at it, clean it out, and let it heal properly.
The body talks.
When you get a neck or backache, do you immediately say, “I must have slept on it wrong,” or do you say, “why is my body holding onto this tension?”
Yes, you may have slept funny, but more likely, your body is talking to you. If you asked yourself what you are afraid of, I bet your spirit could come up with a few if not many things.
Simply asking the question can sometimes release the tension you are holding.
Not all fear is bad. Fear is sometimes necessary and can help you in a fight or flight situation. Fear can pump your body full of adrenaline to allow you to have the energy you need to fight off an attacker or run out of a burning building, but not all feelings of fear are created equal.
An easy test of feelings of fear is to ask yourself if you are in danger.
If you are not in danger, chances are your fear is creating negative tension in your body and might be holding you back from living the life of your dreams.
I don’t always feel happy or secure or like I am “living my best life,” but here is the key to those feelings: they are just feelings, and feelings aren’t facts. They come and go like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
When I recognize I am allowing feelings of fear to live in my head, I ask myself what I will be missing out on if I choose to listen to that manipulative, fake friend.
I walk through the worst-case scenario and the best-case scenario. Then, I sit with it. I promised myself long ago never to make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion. 24 hours can make a huge difference in how you feel about something.
Respond. Don’t react. A decision made from a place of unhealthy fear is always the wrong choice.
I spent 5 years in the rooms of Al-Anon. I learned that pain is my greatest teacher and fear is the enemy of my soul. I am not unique, and in fact, my story is very similar to others. Everyone is fighting a battle no matter how perfect their life might seem. We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we all are afraid we “aren’t good enough.”
Fear will always operate from a place of half-truth. No one is perfect, so we can never be 100% perfect at anything, but we aren’t supposed to be! That is the beauty of humanity. We are flawed, and it’s beautiful.
I have one affirmation that I say almost daily that helps if I feel afraid, down, or depressed: You are doing really well.
I am doing really well. I’m alive. I’m healthy, I can move my body, I have a beautiful family, and I’ve made peace with my past mistakes. I am doing really well, and so are you.
We are doing really well.
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