Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feel the fear, but keep going!

Believe deep down in your heart that you're destined to do great things. ~ Joe Paterno

Fear is an emotion that I am all too familiar with. The funny thing is that I've only been able to admit that for the last 10 years or so. I was bound and determined never to admit that I was afraid...that would mean allowing myself to be vulnerable and I worked too hard on my "tough" exterior to do that!
While I now understand that acting "tough" was a self-protective defense tactic that worked for a short time ( or did it?), I also know now that it kept me cut me off from other people. I didn't allow any cracks in that armor...someone might see my flaws and weaknesses and (horrors!)realize that I was not so tough after all. That strategy left me sick, exhausted, and alone.
I have learned alot about myself in the last decade and,as a result of some significant life events, made some major changes in the way I live and view my life. 
So imagine my surprise (annoyance) when old behaviors started popping back up recently!

As I write these words, I now realize that I am reverting back to old behaviors: I'm trying to force my way through some uncomfortable feelings.

I am in a place of uncertainty and I am letting fear get the better of me. Fear is insidious; it convinces me that, not only will I fail, but that I am a failure. Over the years, I have acquired a set of tools that usually help me combat this monster, but my tools are a little rusty and not working too well at the moment. The voice of fear is drowning out the loving voice of faith. It's wearing me down.

One of the best things I can do is share my feelings so, dear readers, I hope you will indulge me tonight. I am exposing my vulnerable side in the most revealing way I can think of.I am shining a light on my fear publicly, in the hopes that it might help someone else who may feel alone with theirs. We are never alone, no matter how isolated our fears may make us feel. 

I need to remember that, fundamentally, everything is ok. I am in a place of transition which, by its very nature, is a place of uncertainty. It's a process, and this is just one of the messy parts. So I will clean out the fear-based thoughts by talking about them, and by exposing them, their tight grip will loosen and I will be able to breathe again.

I found the opening quote on the page of a new Facebook friend. I thought it was inspiring and shared it on my own page. I now realize that I need to say those words to myself, as a daily affirmation, until this fear subsides. And it will pass...everything does.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


 "Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?" 

One of the ironies of life is that the tighter you hold on to a problem, the tighter it holds on to you.

Consider this:

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by life? Like the direction from your inner GPS is garbled? Have you ever gotten to a point where it feels like you've tried everything and nothing is working? 

Frustrating, huh?

In the past, this feeling would have been the perfect excuse for me to "check out"...take a mini vacation from my life.
That didn't work too well either...

Here's a tip that I have learned from experience:
The more you ignore a problem, the worse it gets. Avoidance does not eliminate the problem. Instead, avoidance is like throwing a match on a puddle of gasoline...

It's hard to admit that you are faced with something that you are unable to handle on your own. There are all sorts of issues that prevent us from asking for help: fear, pride, and denial are just a few.

In my business, I work with people who struggle with clutter and organizational challenges. Many have told me that they were ashamed to ask for help. They have also shared the sense of relief they felt once they were willing to admit that they were unable to do the work on their own.

Why is asking for help so difficult? 

Admitting that you need help strips you of your sense of control, but "control" is often an illusion. Holding onto something that, in reality does not exist isn't practical. It just keeps you stuck.

So, what can you do?

Clear out a little space to breathe...

The irony about holding on to something that no longer serves you is that you can't make room for something new to take its place...there's just not enough room! Sometimes making room for something new is quite literal and sometimes it's a metaphorical exercise that requires patience. In both cases, you are not only letting go of something, but you are also making changes and it will take time for them to become your new habits.

So, be gentle on yourself...and ask for help when you need it!