“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” ~Unknown
As the days have continued on past the beginning of the New Year, my discontent has been growing as I've been thinking (or worrying) about how unmotivated I feel.
The holidays have come to a close, the New Year began, we made wonderful goals for ourselves, and yet, I've begun nothing. I wanted to write another article, keep up with my blog(s), organize my house, work on my finances and my fitness, and start new projects.
The holidays were rough to get through this year, but they are over now, and though I know it's early in the year so I shouldn't be too hard on myself, I still feel a sense of urgency and disappointment that I'm having trouble getting started.
This created more discontent and frustration. What could I possibly share with anyone with my head in this state? So, I did the only thing I thought I could—I let it go.
Sometimes realizations hit you like a ton of bricks, and this one did. Once I let that urgency go, I was able to approach the situation more calmly.
I was then able to realize that I was forgetting one of the most important lessons I've learned on my journey to better living: everything is happening as it should be.
This does not mean to live life with complete inaction.
You can’t, for example, bring in your mail, toss the bills on the table, and “let it go.”
The universe isn’t going to pay your bills for you. But letting the fear that you “don’t have enough” to pay your bills keep you from opening them, so as to avoid the scary situation inside, will only help you dig a deeper hole for yourself.
The “letting go” that I am referring to here pertains to the fear and worry.
No matter what the situation is, try to let go of the fear of what’s going to happen. Know that you really do have the power to take care of it. There is always a solution. You are not powerless.
What do I know about it? Plenty. I’ve been in this very situation, three years ago when my husband lost his job. It was so overwhelming that I went into avoidance mode with everything, even as the creditors hounded us.
I fell into a depression, and I caused myself a lot of unnecessary harm by handing myself over to my worries and becoming a victim of my fears.
I could not face the bills, the calls, and the responsibilities.
Once I learned to let go of the fear of what was to come and trust in myself, I was able to see that those big scary problems weren't so scary after all. And if I had faced them earlier, instead of letting my fear paralyze me, I would have been fine, and not in the 100% worse situation I found myself in.
Inside those envelopes that I was afraid to open there were actually reasonable settlement offers. If I had just stayed calm and faced the problem head-on, it would have been much easier on my credit and my mental health.
I now know that worrying about the future is unnecessary torture. Most of our fear comes from worrying about how much work it will take. Work on ourselves to become better people, work on our finances or to get more organized, work to get that better job, work to build better relationships.
And it does take work. But the more relaxed I became, the more faith I was able to build in myself and the smoother the flow of action became. The fear dropped off, little by little, as I realized I could do it, I could accomplish my goals; the problems I was facing were not going to destroy me. I was capable.
It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. You can start small:
- Today I will sort the mail (or be grateful for one thing).
- Tomorrow, I will look at the bills (or take a few moments to center myself in the now).
- On Thursday, I will look at my finances (or start a gratitude journal or meditate for 10 minutes).
- On Friday, I will file my receipts (or be more kind to myself and others).
- This weekend, I will practice it all together and begin my new start.
Break it up; you don’t have to be trapped by an “all or nothing” point of view. Doing one thing each day is better than doing nothing at all.
When each task is completed you will feel accomplished, and your confidence will grow and show you that tomorrow, you will be able to tackle whatever that may bring.
Just remember to be mindful of today; keep this moment, this day’s task in your awareness. Don’t put too much effort into tomorrow and you won’t get yourself too overwhelmed. All you ever really have is this moment.
It took me quite a long time to finally realize that all of my “problems” did not define me—and that even if things are tough, I will be okay.
When you remember that you will always be okay, no matter what, and let go of obsessive worrying, all of your problems start to seem far less overwhelming.
So, as I struggled with my writing, for example, I realized I was blocked because I was striving too hard to force it out of me; I was doing too much.
We all do that at times. We are always striving to get someplace else when what we really need is to just be and trust that answers will come.
I am still astonished whenever I realize this. The universe is perfectly in sync with us if we just trust in it and allow ourselves to be.
So, when you are overwhelming yourself with need and urgency, stop. Breathe, close your eyes, decide what is most important in that moment, and focus on only that. Picture the rest just falling away, like a dandelion shedding its seeds.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go follow some of my own advice.
Photo by AlicePopkorn