I’ve often seen the question ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ It is even being used in advertisements and billboards. I feel annoyed when I see it because for me it’s too late. The question has now become irrelevant for me because I became ill from stress. The question was relevant last year when I would have answered ‘get out of my business.’
I didn’t realise how serious the stress had become and I didn’t think that I’d get a lifelong illness because of it. I wish I’d had the courage to answer that question last year and to act on it. I was too afraid to disappoint people and to give up on something that I’d been working on for years.
The good news, however, is that my life is now a lot better, even with my illness. I am still recovering so I’m not able to work a full day. But I have actually enjoyed this year of recovery. The illness is no joke and that part has been pretty messy. But I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to step back from something that was causing me harm. I love spending time reading and writing. And I’m loving the peace that comes with the absence of urgent emails and obligations.
It can be easy to slip into a victim mentality and to blame others for the way our life is. But I believe that we are all responsible for our own lives, and that we have what we created. On one hand I have a wonderful home and family. Professionally, it’s time for a change since the source of my stress was work and I can’t go back to a stressful job.
I’m reading Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the a Fear and Do it Anyway. Susan offers practical exercises to help the reader to tackle the fears and in so doing, increase their capacity to handle more challenges. I simply love her thinking around mistakes. She has the philosophy that there are no mistakes, only lessons. And I think that is a much better way to look at life’s adversities. We learn from every experience, especially the difficult ones. So don’t lament the mistakes or the wrong choices. Learn, take action and move on.
I must say I prefer to email someone than to call. I do have to drum up some courage to ask for favors or to alter doctors appointments. It may sound silly and it certainly is to my rational brain. But my conditioning has been not to bother people with my needs or to ask people to do things for me.
It’s no wonder my life needed such an overhaul. I was too afraid to ask for what I needed. Combatting those fears can be hard at a time when I feel weak and tired. But I do think they are worth the expense of energy. I resist some things because they are boring or difficult. And they start to pile up, causing me stress, which I really don’t need.
But how good I feel after I’ve tackled something tricky or something I’ve been putting off. Even that reduction in stress helps me. How empowering it is to complete something that’s been on my mind or something I’ve been avoiding.