We are all human beings, which in definition, means we are imperfect. Being imperfect opens up opportunities for improvement and change – being stagnant and in a state of inertia is not conducive to a fulfilling and happy life. We must always strive to change, to improve ourselves, to make ourselves feel uncomfortable – being uncomfortable will allow us to thrust ourselves up into a stratosphere of freedom. Safety zones and comfort zones should only be used as a rest area – fear and anxiety must be felt in order to learn and to a grow as individuals.
The problem with fear and anxiety is that unless you have been through it – it makes no sense to you and you simply want to smack the person experiencing it and say, “Get over it!”
If only it were that simple…
The fear of impending doom one feels when in the midst of a panic attack is indescribable to others who have never encountered this silent band of demons. Think of it as if having a revolver pointed at you from ten different angles while the piecing sounds of rebel yells are coming at you in maximum surround sound clarity. Reality has nothing to do with the scenes you are experiencing, but to the person in the throes of the attack, they are as real as the heart that is pounding in your chest.
In order to learn to defeat these authentic yet countrerfeit scenes of doom and impending disaster – one needs to become more aware of the emotions they are suppressing or impressing upon themselves.
Find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable speaking with. Judge for yourself – do not base your judgment on the diplomas on the wall or the advice of loved ones. You need to feel you can trust the therapist to listen and to guide you through this process. Be patient though, it takes time for the walls you have built around yourself, both internally and externally, to come down.
It’s quite possible that you have been suppressing feelings your whole life. I remember when I was a kid of 12 years or so and I said I wanted to be an actor. I was laughed at and told that there is no future in acting and that there were “millions of unemployed actors” starving. I felt ashamed and foolish. That experience would stunt my pursuit of any dream that I would have. Writing, acting, singing and even stopped me from pursuing women, sales and friends.
I never expressed my shame due to the initial response I received as a 12 year old. Whether it made sense or not it stopped me whenever I chose to express my feelings. What ever dreamed I had was tucked in the back of my brain and suppressed.
What “real you” are you hiding within yourself? What part of you are you suppressing out of fear of being revealed?
Just as we are impacted by others reactions when we are children – we are also impacted by others fears, likes and dislikes. When I was a kid my eldest brother hated onions. So, trying to emulate him, I hated onions. Hating onions was one thing we had in common. When he went away to college he came back and told me that he had eaten raw onions and now loved them. I felt betrayed and angry. I was 9 years old or so and to this day I cannot eat an onion that is in sight. If it’s cooked into the meal and it’s out of view – I am ok with it. But whenever I tried to eat any visible onion, I get a feeling of disgust.
In the case of fears – I remember when I was around 8 or 9 years old, someone I admired was telling me how much she was scared of heights. When she described her fear, she was animated and mimed the fear on her face and in her eyes.
It stuck with me but I was cool with heights and even went to the top of the twin towers and the empire state building several times. But. once I began feeling anxiety, that all ended for me. When I would think about a high floor, I would get anxious with the vision of that lady in my head filled with fear, it would cause my stomach to flutter. Once I experienced anxiety, I would avoid any sense of putting myself in a compromising position. I was anxious about having a panic attack. This would cause me to feel anxious days in advance and then I became addicted to the comfort zone. I avoided meetings on high floors, lost out on meeting new people and missed out on some cool parties as well.
Another trigger for anxiety is guilt. We feel guilty about feeling happy, having thoughts that others may find repulsive or anti-social. It’s simple to say, “Don’t feel guilty.” It’s another thing to actually find yourself graduating into the realm of self-acceptance. Guilt, in most cases, is a wasted thought which causes major havoc on ones psyche. In some senses, guilt can be a conscience guide which will inspire one to avoid choosing to do an act they will regret later on.
Guilt, like impressions and suppressions – can be used in different ways to navigate through danger and comfort zones.
I have read that the more creative one is, the more creative they tend to define their emotions to extreme scenarios of impending doom and gloom. What thoughts or worst case scenarios have become part of your thought process? Think about that and write down your ideas of what you see, hear or feel internally when you picture yourself in those scenarios.
Once you learn how to identify the origins for your fears you will find that the fears itself are mostly, if not all, not even your own and will slowly begin to fade away. I have found that I do not fear heights as I once impressed on myself that I did.
It all boils down to learning more about who you truly are and what you truly want out of life. Don’t expect the answers to pop up right away or for the fears to disappear like smoke. It will take time but it will happen. The fears will not continue to hold you hostage as long as you get the help you need and you are determined to shake this burden off your back.
I did it and millions of people have done it.
This is why I am putting together a workbook – I have overcome my demons and I want more and more people to follow. Life is too short to feel ashamed, frightened or be held back by these emotional handcuffs.
Richard Bach, the author, has been attributed to the quote, “If you love someone, set them free.” Once you begin to truly love yourself, then and only then, will you be able to truly be free.