Fear is what immediately comes to mind. Who likes being afraid? I don't. But what provokes fear in me? In the past, I have had times in my life, living in the hands of the gods, that I have felt without fear, knowing full well that I would be able to get through any problems of my life all right, even if it's hard temporarily. At the time, I felt able to see the beauty in all things, leaving me ...safe.I don't quite feel like that now. Right now, I feel trapped in the American way, and wonder where I left my sense of freedom and security. I feel overwhelmed with the heaviness of my responsibilities. Sometimes it is worse than other times. Last night, I felt this weird feeling and I could not place it. After a while, I realized it was anxiety. I am not an anxious person, but apparently, I am, at least on occasion.Part of me feels intimidated by putting any more effort toward anything else in this moment. I feel I am already maxed, mentally and physically, and how dare anyone put any more demands on me!? Fuck you! But I want things to change in this life. I feel a slave to this system, and my kids are born into this slavery as well, and I don't want that for them. I want to create, right here and now, a world that is worth the effort of living, that is inviting of the next generations to want to exist and flourish.The thing I fear most is not having the trust in myself to take the steps I want/need to take in order to free myself. What is stopping me? My own mind (and yes, some outside pressures too!). I fear the opportunities arising, and my failing to notice them, or failing to have the courage and trust to follow through on my intentions and ideas. There was a time in my life when I could shout from the rooftops that I felt further from slavery than most, but not now. I have found myself firmly in the grip of the American dreaming, and I don't like this trap.Now, to draw exit doors and escape hatches! If I can. If I can own up to my fear of these opportunities presenting themselves.~carey
I’m afraid that I can’t do things on my own, or that if I do things on my own, I will fail. I doubt my own abilities, I doubt that I’m good enough and that I can trust my intuition to know what’s right for me. I know what the sources of these fears are (the way I was raised, without boundaries, with enmeshment and codependency and so much fear), but I have not fully worked through/exorcised/healed them. The problem is, I often don’t try new things, or don’t do things I want to do, and then I feel like I’m missing out (because I am!!). It also creates a dependency that I find suffocating, and I do it to myself! Consequently, the more I don’t try things on my own, the more I believe I can’t, and the more suffocated I feel (and probably the more needy I get toward the people I’m closest to). Historically when I set goals for myself, I often self-sabotaged. I still struggle with making goals and working toward them. I am very careful about who I make commitments to, because part of me believes that I am not capable of contributing (to a conversation, to a project, to a friendship, whatever).However, I don’t want to stay stuck and I have been working on this stuff, gathering awareness and seeking courage, for a few years. I’ve made a lot of progress, but it still takes concerted effort to do things on my own, and to take risks. It may seem small, but I took myself to brunch a few months ago and it was a big accomplishment for me. As I’ve recovered I also have called people into my life who challenge me to grow: a sponsor who only leads me to care and take responsibility for myself and won’t hear any excuses, a partner who has excellent boundaries and encourages me to do things on my own—the opposite of the people I used to attach myself to. Working through this fear and the behaviors that come with it seems to go in waves, where I’m doing the things I need to do to care for myself, to find my own path, and then I get feeling good, and then I self sabotage and stop doing those habits for a bit, but I never completely regress. It is definitely progress not perfection.
Roxanne, this resonated with me a lot. I grew up with a lot of fear drilled into me, as my gramma (who raised me) was convinced that if I did anything but sit in front of the tv, I would accidentally kill myself. You'd think after raising 8 kids, she'd have gotten that out of her system, but no. I had a ton of phobias, some I am still shedding.When I separated from my first husband, I did a lot of life challenges. For me a life challenge is putting a constraint on my life and seeing how things change. Like, what happens if I unplug my microwave? What happens if I don't have a car? Or, most pertinent to this conversation, what happens if I do not say no, but only and always YES? I was rather amazed, at always saying yes to whatever came my way, that I was able to do a lot more things than I thought I ever could. And enjoy doing them! It was incredibly empowering! But also, I found my limitations. I am afraid of heights, not as bad as I used to be, but I climbed a ladder to fix the gutter on my house, as it had been broken forever, and I got halfway up the ladder, and my legs froze, and it took half an hour of standing there on the ladder to get my legs going again, DOWN this time. I didn't consider this a failure, though, just realizing that I am not omnipowerful!That period of my life was very exhilarating, and I think I was only able to do it because I had incredible support from a wonderful community of folks. Now, I don't think I could say yes with such abandon. I just don't have the mental or physical reserves to do so.Realizing what we fear, I think, is a really huge step in getting over those fears. It does take a tremendous amount of courage and trust, and baby steps are wonderful first steps!