"When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go— carving you a path. 'The Things which hurt,' Benjamin Franklin wrote, 'instruct.'"
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
WHY IS FEAR A FRIEND?
I wrote this note to myself to help me reflect on the uncertainty that comes with taking a new direction in life and not being able to know what will come from it. For the most part, I look forward to having a big shift--relocation and finding new work, in my present case. Under the surface of my conscious mind there is a voice of fear that resists the unknown. This voice wants to know everything that will happen in advance so that it can feel safe. It’s this voice that gives me dreams about naked, shell-deprived turtles and hanging men that wake me up and make it difficult to fall asleep again.
The entry below was written as a letter to myself to help me focus, to find some perspective beyond the nagging voice of fear and self-doubt.
Hello dear self,
If there is something you wish to do but you doubt your ability to accomplish it, then it can actually be an opportunity to show yourself that you can do something you thought you couldn't. If you shrink away from it, you feel diminished. If you embrace it, despite your fear, you can grow from it. When you attempt this, three results may occur:
1 YOU MAKE A MISTAKE
If you make a mistake, you learn something you didn't know before. It might not be easy to endure, but you can use the mistake's knowledge to refine you approach. The mistake becomes a guide.
2 YOU REALIZE IT ISN'T FOR YOU
Before you attempted this task, maybe you weren't sure if it was really the right move for you. Maybe you wanted a change and you thought this direction might be the change you want, or it might not. You’re curious but unsure. In your mind, you ping-pong back and forth between doing or not doing. Then you do it. You make that change. And you realize, "Oh shit. This isn't right for me at all. This is not what I want."
Actually, that's great.
Before you made the attempt, you had so much doubt and fear. You asked yourself, “What if it's right? What if it's not?” If you hadn't tried, there might always be a whisper in your mind wondering what would have happened if you did try. The doubt or regret may linger. If, on the other hand, you make the attempt, and you realize it's not for you, then you know with certainty that it's not for you and you will have a clearer sense of what is right for you. Learning what doesn’t work will bring you closer to what does work.
3 YOU DO IT - AND IT WORKS OUT
You do the thing you thought you couldn't. Not only do you realize your greater capabilities, but you also develop a different attitude toward the other wishes you may think are impossible or too scary.
You realize that the tasks you imagine to be impossible can be challenged and tested. With each seemingly impossible challenge you take on, you strengthen your ability to do so.
If you enjoyed this post, please stay tuned for regular updates to my blog here. Writings about art, dreams, tarot, psychological constipation and liberation, and how all of these things can be relatable and practical.
- Magical Thinking