fear worse than reality?

Remember when you were a child, and the things you wouldn’t do because the thought of them was too scary?  Not wanting to go to bed at night because of the monsters under your bed, or go on that fairground ride, or into the haunted house, or being scared on your first day at school in case the other children didn’t like you?

 

Yet as that child you had no choice but to face your fear.  You still had to go to bed, You still had to start school.  And when you woke the next morning you realised you hadn’t been eaten by monsters, and invariably you came home on your first day and announced to your parents that you’d made friends.  The funfair rides were less of a necessary fear you had to face, however not going on that roundabout would mean losing face in front of your friends, and the fear of that was greater than the fear of the roundabout itself.  And once you were on the roundabout suddenly the fear seemed a bit pointless really, because nothing scary happened.

 

As adults we are faced with fears all the time, sometimes even subconsciously.  And it is those fears which often hold us back from looking forward and facing the changes we want or need to make in our own lives.

 

And just like when we were children, the reality of what might happen is often far different from the fear of what we think might happen.

 

The question we should ask ourselves is “what’s the worst that can happen?”  And then, “and if the worst happened, what then?”  In truth it’s a question and answer we rarely think about, because we are so blinded by the fear of change that we have often lost sight of what it is we’re actually afraid of.

 

So ask yourself, what is it you’re afraid of that’s stopping you make the changes in your life?  How realistic are those fears, and ultimately, what’s the worst that can happen?  And if you put your fears aside, what’s the desired outcome, and how does that measure against the fear which you have been using to hold you back?

 

The difference between change and fear is that change is a reality. If you want it, you can make it happen.  Fear is a perceived reality, a subconscious thought process which prevents you from moving forward into that change reality.  But if you face it, accept it, you can move past it into the reality of the changes you want to make.

 

 

Can you see the other side of the river?

So there are some major changes you want or need to make in your life.  You know what they are, but they seem so far out of reach that you just don’t know how you will ever be able to achieve them.

 

In truth change is usually an on-going process, especially major change.  But often even though the end goal is not yet in sight and you struggle to think how or even if you will ever get there, there are steps you can take to make the bigger changes seem less of a daunting prospect, through the smaller goals you can set to get you to the end result.

 

Imagine it’s like a wide river.  You stand on the bank and try to see the other side.  You know it’s there, you can even imagine what the other side looks like – a beautiful, positive place, yet you can’t see it, and you can’t think of a way to get there.  And then, as you walk along the river you suddenly come to some stepping stones.  Gradually, cautiously at first, you step on to the first stone.  You’re unsure at first, because although you know where you want to go, you’re still not sure whether you can actually get there.  And once you start out on the stepping stones you can’t go back, you don’t want to go back.  But you step on to the first stone and then the next one, until you are gradually making your way across the river.  And the further across you go, the more confident you are that you will make it safely to the other side.

 

Then you realise that your view from the stepping stones has changed.  You’re no longer just looking at the stones ahead of you, now you can see some greenery, trees? Bushes? Grass? You’re not quite sure, but you know you can see something.  And as you get closer you realise that it’s the other side of the river.  And now you’re more confident, your goal is in sight, and you know that all you have to do is make it across the stones to get there.  And then eventually you step off the last stone, and you’re on the other side of the river.

 

Those stepping stones are the small changes, the small goals you reach in order to get to the other side of the river, which is the big change, the ultimate goal you wanted to achieve.  Every stone is a goal.  And every time you reach one of the small goals, you are a stone closer to the ultimate aim, the other side of the river.

 

Are you confident enough to step on to the first stone?