What is Stopping You?
The Boogeyman #116
I have many goals, and I make choices to support them - sometimes. Of course, there are good reasons why not: I have to fix dinner, take a nap, read a book, or check out social media.
The article, The Age of the Alibi, grabbed my attention. The author said
Within each of us is a goal to reach. There is no denying it. Something within elevates us above the muck and mire of the daily grind and pushes us toward the stars. However, so few of us will ever reach these stars.
It is far simpler to blame circumstances than to accept our goal and make it a reality.
Whatever the case, the multitude shouts blame at anything and everything. They deflect, placing blame where it truly belongs - themselves.
At the end of the article, he asks “what is stopping you?” While I know better than to blame others, and I know my reasons and justifications are just excuses, there is a boogeyman that stops me cold. I call it fear, but actually it is an amorphous mix of fear, anxiety, and worry.
A NAMI article describes the difference between fear and anxiety.
Core emotions like fear calm down when thoroughly and safely experienced in the body — once a person no longer feels threatened or in danger. On the other hand, anxiety needs to be calmed not only to feel better but to help get a person in touch with the core emotions underlying it.
I took from the article that one way to check my feelings is to ask, “Is anything scary or dangerous happening right now?” The answer is yes if I’m driving on a slippery road or facing a person with a gun. That’s fear. The answer is no if I’m thinking about the future and there is no immediate threat. That’s anxiety.
The Henry Ford Health website says
Worry and anxiety fall on a spectrum. They are different but interrelated.
Worry is specific. Anxiety is more generalized. - Whether you're worried about an upcoming eye appointment or trying to figure out how you can take care of your husband with dementia - the worry is distinct and concrete. Anxiety is vaguer, you feel unsettled but can't pinpoint what you're anxious about - like the future- and that can make problem-solving difficult.
Worry is grounded in reality. Catastrophic thinking causes anxiety. There's a logical component to worry. Your brain is trying to make sense of a real, perceived, and present danger. To make matters worse, people suffering from anxiety may underestimate their ability to cope with a negative outcome.
I took from the article that my fear was a combination of emotions created because I underestimated my ability to cope with outcomes that might occur.
Fear began in earnest while Dan was at home struggling with dementia. I was concerned for his safety - for our safety. I feared he would drive the car and have an accident or wander away.
After he died, I was afraid, but anxiety and worry loomed larger. For 60 years, we did things together. I was anxious about the future and wrestled with a backpack of “what ifs.” I worried about everything, including
making mistakes and wrong decisions
being unable to handle situations
others’ opinion of me
Those three emotions - my fear - were and continue to be a goal-stopper.
In the early 90s, Susan Jeffers wrote the book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I just downloaded it on my Kindle - again. She said
In the article Beyond Fear, the author adds to the conversation. Take a look. He says
What creates fear for us? Where does it come from? The answer is varied: It comes from our thoughts and emotions, certainly, but also from social and cultural programming. Fear infiltrates our lives and impacts us without us, sometimes without us even knowing.
I googled the phrase, “how to get rid of my fears.” 420,000,000 results appeared in 0.53 seconds - so there are many ideas to try.
My goals are simple - to write and to age well. Let’s see if better managing my fears allows me to pursue them more fully.
I wanted to share this article with you.
Living With A Serious Illness - The author tells his story and emphasizes the importance of changing one’s tape from negative to positive thinking. Weekly, he offers guidance regarding the medical profession. I read his newsletter faithfully.
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