Tuesday 25 October 2011

Starting, with Fear by Your Side by Susan Cadley

“When we feel stuck, going nowhere--even starting to slip backward--we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” Dan Millman

Oh, where to begin? That is the question when faced with starting something. Especially when it's something you've started before.

I've been on a short hiatus from the gym and working out in general. The reasons why are not as important as beginning again, in the now. I'm careful not to admonish myself for not working out, it's just not helpful. Instead, I first think about getting back into a routine, I remember how energized and grounded I felt, and then I decide. I decide to start. At first I hesitate as my inner protector begins to speak, wanting to shield me from ANY pain; "you'll be so tired, sore, you won't be able to keep up with the workout class, blah, blah, blah ". There may be some truths in that little rant, however, it's really trying to talk me out of it to avoid either perceived pain, which is really FEAR.

The element of fear is meant to keep us safe from harm. Think about that intuitive feeling you have when you sense real danger. It’s a natural built in instinct. However, what is unique to humans is that we place danger on situations that may not be harmful at all. We do this based on our personal history, looking for evidence that something did not work in the past. In order to avoid feeling failure, disappointment, or sadness, hesitation sets in. Fear can stop you in your tracks from moving ahead.

If you’ve been thinking about starting something such as a healthy lifestyle, work project, an event, anything that feels big and overwhelming to you, look for these signs that fear is in charge:

  • Negative self defeating talk – “you can’t do that, it’s too hard, you’ve failed before”
  • Procrastination – “you can begin later"
  • Comparing – “other people have it easier, they are more talented”
  • Complacency - Doing nothing is a habit.

Here are some ways to get yourself at the starting line once you’ve decided to begin:
  • Do your research and have a plan in place. Name the main goal and then create smaller attainable goals to keep overwhelm at bay.
  • Imagine how you would feel if you began something you’ve been putting off.This usually results in feeling a sense of calm, accomplishment, increased self-esteem.
  • Gain support and cheerleaders along the way.
  • Write down your goal and post it where you can see it everyday.
  • Celebrate yourself for starting with a healthy reward.

Beginnings can be filled with excitement and fear, as the unknown offers a plethora of possibilities and fear offers only one; perceived safety. Consider starting something you’ve been putting off and open yourself up to learning and growing. And remember, even if you slide backwards, you can begin again in the next moment. Life is a series of starts. Be gentle with yourself and decide to start living even more fully, right now.

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist & Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

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