And suddenly you feel it – this tightness, this stiffess. You don’t know where it’s coming from. In the middle of a wonderful experience, of complete enthusiasm, positive energy, storming to new shores with ease, confidence and full of strength – you suddenly notice that something is slowing you down, you notice how tense you are.
Fear is knocking on the door.
At this point we often and gladly snap back and think “Ok, if it feels so bad now, I must have been mistaken, I am wrong.”
We let our fear take over and return to familiar territory like a small child who has been “brought to his senses”. “Oh, yeah, it was a stupid idea, actually.”
There are many examples:
You don’t get it!…
You wanted this job, the perfect opportunity to develop yourself – and a great fit for your talents and experience. The best version of you mastered the application process, convinced that you have all it takes. You succeeded, you got the job – and now you are facing your first big project and you are getting weak in the knees, feeling overwhelmed. You start to ask yourself if you have overestimated yourself, if this is the right thing to do…
For years you have hoped that one day you would meet him or her – THE ONE person with whom you feel connected, with whom you want to go through life. And now he/she is standing in front of you and you can hardly believe it – it feels exactly like you always imagined it! It is indescribable, it is wonderful — and suddenly there is this panic. You don’t get it…
Fear is exciting, complex and important. In my opinion, we still do not make enough use of it.
It is one of the emotions we often try to avoid at all costs. And if don’t succeed avoiding it despite all the control, precautions and weighing up, we stare at like deer into the headlight. Completely paralyzed. We can hardly stand it (we don’t have that much practice in it either). We want this feeling to disappear. Fast.
But it will neither disappear quickly nor stay away.
It will keep coming back, until we learn to enter into dialogue with it.
Because like all emotions, fear is an important indicator with various functions.
Its main function is probably to protect us, to prevent us from doing something that could harm us. Listening to it can sometimes be life-saving.
In principle, its words of welcome are usually: “We’ve already been through this, leave it, hurt last time it hurt.” or: “Attention! We are entering unknown territory. No experience. This is new, I can’t help you! Risk!”
I would like to invite you to listen beyond this greeting. To welcome your fear, to ask questions. It has so much to say!
Let it in – if you ignore it, its outrage will make it stronger and louder.
Embrace is, stand it, listen – but do not put it in the driver’s seat. And consider the possibility that it might be exaggerating a little here and there in its descriptions. At the end it’s a little drama queen who just wants to protect you.
And then be happy – because if it is there it also means: You have reached a threshold!
End of the comfort zone.
There is a possibility to develop yourself further. There is a way to overcome old prejudices or to add new experiences to your pool of knowledge – if you succeed in gaining clarity about why your fear is there and where your stiffness comes from.
Maybe a picture to close:
I ride a motorcycle. The coolest thing about riding a motorcycle are the curves. And if you don’t know the track, every turn is a new experience – but of course it also involves a certain amount of risk.
If you’re lucky, there are signs or curve markings in front of the it that give you hints on how the curve might develop. But they are only hints. The signs are always the same – and cannot at all reflect the diversity of the curves out there!
Sometimes a got on the breaks before curves because of the signs – only to think in the middle of the curve “Why did they put up this sign?” While the other time I drove into others, the cold sweat on my forehead, thinking: “A sign before this one would have been a good idea!”
Your fear is like that traffic sign: it says nothing about the upcoming situation – only about your past!
Recognize is – but don’t stop in front of it. Take it seriously, take a breath, stay relaxed, keep driving and turn your attention to the road, to reality as it lies at your feet – and be open to come to a different conclution than your warning sign.
Only in this way will you be able to enjoy the variety of curves – and experiences in life – in the future.
Have a good trip!