Most of us hold ourselves to the high expectations. We have a set notion in our minds of how something should look. When it doesn’t happen how we think it should, or it’s more difficult than we expected, we begin to beat ourselves up and sometimes we even give up and quit.
WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID?
Our minds have evolved over millions of years to protect ourselves. When something doesn’t feel right a response is sent from the brain for us to run as fast as we can. Fight-or-flight. This is easy to understand if we’re faced with a dangerous situation, like being confronted my a pack of wolves, but why do we run away from things that seem far less dangerous?
Our body only knows how to protect itself. It does not differentiate between a pack of wolves chasing us, talking to a boy or a girl for the first time, or learning something new. Three completely different examples, and to look at them most of us would agree that being chased by a pack of wolves is the most dangerous. However, the body responds the same to any situation that is either mentally or physically terrifying.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
It’s important to understand that how we perceive something in our minds determines how we will react. We know what real danger is. Talking to someone for the first time or trying something new that we have no idea about is not real danger. It’s scary, yes, but it’s not dangerous. We need to understand that our body is trying to protect us, but it’s our mind that we need to take control of to power through these fears and/or difficult situations.
THERE ARE NEVER ANY FAILURES, ONLY LESSONS
If we see a pack of wolves and ignore our fight-or-flight response the outcome could hurt just a little. It’s important to understand that our body is trying to protect us, but it’s more important to understand how to react to the body’s responses. We shouldn’t run every time our body feels afraid, unless it’s from a pack of wolves.
If we want to talk to someone for the first time, we should do it. As Mel Robbins teaches in her book, The 5-Second Rule, count down from 5-4-3-2-1 and just go for it. There isn’t any worse case scenario. Even if the person doesn’t acknowledge us we are still stronger from that experience, because we walked through the fear and did something new. The next time will be easier, and the time after that even easier.
The same is true for trying something new. I recently finished writing a book, and as part of my experience I chose to edit, format, and design the cover on my own. Formatting a book is not easy. My body became stressed while trying to build my table of contents, but I kept pushing. I used every possible resource that I could think of (internet, friends, and reaching to people I don’t know) until I figured it out.
I’m stronger because I persevered and I have much more knowledge because I chose to learn something new.
Whatever it is we’re trying accomplish we need to remember that the only limits are the ones that we make. It’s doesn’t matter what the task is that we’re trying to achieve, if we want it bad enough there is a way to learn about it. Too often we give up without even trying. We trick ourselves into believing that we tried, but the truth is most of us try until we become stressed and eventually walk away.
Knowing that our fears are nothing more than our body’s response to protect us is important. Knowing that walking through those fears will build us stronger in whatever it was that we feared in the first place. One day we all have that moment when we look back and reflect on our lives. It’s the moment when our time is running out, and we are either happy with our effort or we regret the chances that we didn’t take.
If you’re life were to end tomorrow would you be happy with your effort and the chances you took, or saddened with regret?
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