The Fear Funk

The Fear Funk

I have a lot of faith But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me – that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. – Anne Lamott

There are times in my life when, despite the significant changes I’ve made, I get in a funk. The truth is I sometimes lose that spark, that fire in the belly that fuels my passion. As is my usual method of dealing with being out of balance, I spend time in reflection – trying to sort out what’s holding me back; what’s holding me in place and preventing me from moving forward.

Why the failure to launch?

Why so much procrastinating?

Why so much resistance?

Is it Fear of Failure?

Fear of failing seems so obvious. After all, how many times do we stop ourselves from taking the next step; making that one change out of fear that we won’t be successful? That all our hard work will be for nothing? The big flop.

Is It Fear of Success?

Less apparent is a fear of success. Who in their right mind would be afraid of being successful? Isn’t that what everyone dreams and aspires to become? Logic dictates we shouldn’t be afraid of something that brings us all the favorable trappings of success: money, status, a sense of accomplishment, but the truth is we can fear it.

The Disconnect

If you’re like me, when you procrastinate it’s due to a disconnect between how you see yourself and what you really want.

When it’s due to childhood messages from the significant people in your life who repeatedly told you that you weren’t good enough or that you’d never amount to much, these negative judgments continue to nip at your high heels. They have an amazingly long shelf life.

Despite the fact that you’ve reached an age and place in your career and life where you know better, under stressful or new situations these messages become remarkably louder.

When you decide to take a risk or engage in something that’s outside your comfort zone, the alarm in your psyche goes off. The outdated messages go into overdrive. They are in your face – causing you to doubt your abilities, your talents, and your desires. They leave you feeling metaphorically naked and vulnerable.

Of course, who you are based on those long ago negative judgments is not a true indicator of who you are today or what you’re capable of achieving, but the disconnect leaves you frozen in place.

Where you are is not where you want to be. Yet how do you merge these two diametrically opposing viewpoints?

You don’t.

You can’t.

One no longer serves you. It’s a vestige of the past and requires you to find a way to leave it there and put your faith, your effort, and your energies into growing the other – the positive affirmations that allow you to move forward and embrace not just the concept, but the reality of being successful (whatever that means for you, specifically).

Until you find a way to do this, like me, you will continue to bump up against procrastination (a.k.a. fear); will continue to rationalize all the reasons why you aren’t getting ’er done or moving forward.

I’ll admit it’s a continuous struggle. There are days, even weeks when I can’t see – really see – the woman I’ve become. The vision in my mind is blurry, obscured by the doubts and fears that overtake my mind the way clouds obscure the sun.

The Reconnect

I used to beat myself up for these side trips down memory lane, but I understand now that it’s important to be kind to myself and let the wave pass – because it always does. It passes now because I’ve learned that who I want to be has more intensity, more significance than any false definition of who I used to be.

So now when I find myself with my feet metaphorically stuck in the muck, I stop resisting long enough to quiet my mind and release the messages that fight to keep me stock still. I work to turn this feeling of stagnation into positive reflection, with all its hopes and possibilities. The old messages quiet, they lose their hold on me, and I take that first step forward with anticipation.

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