For a while I’ve been struggling with putting myself out there. By this I mean, there are things I would like to do but I let my fear, insecurities, and self-doubt get in the way.
I would like to:
- Meditate daily
- Practice yoga daily
- Attend AcoA/ACA weekly
- Eat a better more balanced diet daily
- Get more sleep daily
- Get out in nature with my camera at least once a week
- Take part in a Meetup group (can be a little tricky with my schedule)
- Connect with like minded people
- Finish my degree
These are just some things I hold myself back from. I can’t fail at any of them if I don’t try, right? Right, but I’m also relatively unhappy with my life. I love my job. I definitely feel like this is the field I am meant to be in. It’s pretty amazing, but can be a bit heartbreaking at times. Other than my job though, I don’t do much of anything, at least not in the way of socializing. I do plenty to keep myself distracted from putting any actual work in to myself and my recovery.
The list above is so completely intertwined. I know if I meditate, practice yoga, eat a balanced diet, and get more sleep that I will feel better physically as well as mentally and emotionally. If I’m feeling better in those areas I will have more faith in myself and less self doubt, insecurity, and fear.
I think the biggest fear I have, when it comes to going to a meeting or to meet new people, is that I will be rejected. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t belong? What if no one talks to me? What if I’m not good enough? What if I let them down? What if I’m not as smart as them? What we don’t connect? What if I’m a fraud, and I’m so good at being a fraud that I don’t even realize I am? If I am a fraud, what if they see right through me? What if they see what kind of mess I really am? I fail and I disappoint, I always have. Because this is how I view myself and the way I think about myself, I let it get in my way. I let fear, insecurities, and self-doubt get in my way.
I contacted my therapist last evening and expressed concerns I had about failing her and disappointing her. That I am afraid I will lose her due to my inability to take a more active role in my recovery such as attending ACA meetings, meeting other people, balanced diet, meditation…I fail and I disappoint. I come close to success and then I self sabotage. Not on purpose, not with intent, but it happens.
In response my therapist sent me a link to a video. As she always does, she found a speaker who seems to speak directly to me. In this video Tara Brach, PhD talks about leaning in to fear and she poses a question to all of us, and I will pose it to you.
Ask yourself, “Who would I be if I didn’t believe something was wrong with me?”
Really take a moment to gain an awareness of what holds you back from doing the things you want/need to do. Bring to mind things you keep putting off; why do you keep putting those things off? Is it fear? Is it self-doubt? Is it insecurity? Is it feeling “less than” or not good enough or unworthy? Once you’ve got an idea of what it is that holds you back, your belief that “something is wrong with me”, then imagine who you would be if you were free from whatever your belief about yourself is.
If I didn’t believe something was wrong with me this is who I would be:
- I would meditate a minimum of 20 minutes every day; fear of failing myself holds me back
- Daily yoga practice; again fear of failing myself
- I would spend more time in nature (hiking, camping, photography) fear of bugs (spiders and ticks) and snakes holds me back.
- I would have my BA in either Individualized Studies with an emphasis on Mindfulness or in psychology; fear of residential classes and having to interact with so many people, possible group projects, and presentations hold me back
- I would attend ACA meetings weekly. Fear of being rejected or that I don’t belong (which is ironic because it’s most likely a room full of people who feel the exact same way).
- I would be more active outside of my home. Do more in the community. Volunteer. Do charity work. Take part in Meetup groups when my schedule allows. Organize events. Tend to my Meetup Group. Here again, fear of rejection, not good enough, don’t belong all hold me back
- I would learn all there is to know about having my photographs put on canvas, framed, and the like so that I could sell them at craft/art fairs, and online. Fear of failure holds me back.
- I would be a Life Coach with a focus on adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families, and addiction. I would also work with people who have experienced trauma in their lives. I would work to guide them through what holds them back from being successful in their lives. I would create a network that would include other Life Coaches, Therapists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Sponsors, a list of AA, NA, ACA meetings localized to my clients. I would specialize in mindfulness practice with my clients Fear of failing holds me back
- I would obtain my Master’s in Psychology and get licensed to be an LPC with a possibility of getting my PhD or PsyD. Same fears as finishing my BA as well as self-doubt.
My life would be very different if I would lean in to fear instead of heading for the hills when I feel it. It would also help if I would stop believing what I tell myself about myself. Which leads me to the next thing I took away from Tara’s video.
Tara also talks about “Real, but not true” thoughts/beliefs.
I often say that I am not a people person. I say this because of my fear of being rejected and/or feeling like I’m not good enough. It feels “real” to me to say that I am not a people person, but it’s not true. I am very much a people person once I feel comfortable with the people in my presence or if I am in my space.
We do an awful lot of self talk and in turn we do an awful lot of believing what we tell ourselves. In many cases this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in cases where people have suffered trauma in their life, on some level, what we tell ourselves and believe about ourselves can be very damaging.
I’m going to try to make an effort to be more aware of my “real, but not true” thoughts. I’m going to try to make an effort to lean in instead of running. I’m going to try to overcome my fears so that I can be who I want to be and stop letting fear and self-doubt control my life. Baby steps, one day at a time. The mess that is me wasn’t made overnight, I can’t expect it to change overnight.