It’s a new month (one of my faves!) marking a transition into September and, of course, the chaos of back-to-school, back-to-work (for me) and back-to-a-new-routine (it sounds a little oxymoronic but bear with me). All of this newness can cause a little uncomfortability.
New things are great, new seasons provide new opportunities, change can bring growth (and blah, blah, blah) which is all true but that doesn’t diminish the uneasiness.
If you’re like me change produces an unhealthy amount of fear – of the unknown, of failure and anxiety – fear’s first cousin.
But (if you’re like me) I’m challenging myself to embrace change, well, because, change is good.
What would life be like if every single day was exactly the same? Boring, right?
The same old routine and the same old monotony day after day after DAY… sounds a little insane to me.
So, why is it so hard for us to embrace change? And how do we stop it?
Do Things that Scare You
Now, let’s talk about this thing called fear.
By definition, fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat. Note the keyword perceived which means it’s not necessarily true. The thing we make up in our minds may or may not happen and (if we’re honest) probably won’t. To combat fear (anxiety) steep yourself in reality.
Fear makes you believe the worst will happen (is real) and 99.9% of the time it will NOT. (Free yourself). Think about it. When is the last time one of your fears actually came true? It’s a lie, fam. One that is holding too many of us back! So, start doing things that scare you, that’s the only way to overcome fear. Do what scares you and do it often.
Fear Never Helps
The fear of change, the unknown, and failure creeps up on me more than I’d like to admit. And recently, a lot more given the amount of change I’m getting ready to experience.
I’m beginning a new position soon (woot woot) which is going to require more time. I’m also starting grad school in a few weeks (black girl magic) to attain a Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing. And to add to that, I’m working part-time at my school (to pay for grad school) and I joined a mentor program to help young girls have the tools to succeed in life. There are definitely a lot of firsts for me which is causing excitement as well as hesitation mixed with a little dread.
The sneaky feeling of failure peeks its head up in several ways: what if I’m not smart enough? What if I let my mentees down? What if I let my students down? What if I fail? What if I’m not as strong as I thought?
Ground Yourself in Reality
The reality is there is a lot on my plate but I know I can manage it. My days may seem endless and some nights may be sleep less but it’ll be worth it. The reality is I love my job and my students look forward to seeing me and I’m making a difference. The reality is I am more than prepared to begin my master’s program and I know I will succeed. The reality is I may fail, more than once, but I’ll get back up and try again. The reality is I am on assignment every day and I can’t afford to let my fears control me.
Friend, we have to ground ourselves in reality when fears, lies, anxiety pick apart our soul. It’s not enough to hope it will go away we have to look at the reality (what is true) of the situation. Now, this isn’t to say that we look at the reality and wallow in it. No! We look at the reality and settle our worrying mind on what we know is true; instead of fearing what may (no, will!) never come.
A Little Fear is Okay
I know I may be contradicting everything I just said. But a healthy (I want to emphasize healthy) amount of fear is good.
Studies show a little fear before we do anything challenging causes us to perform better. It also causes an enormous amount of relief after we accomplish something that once seemed unclimbable, boosting our confidence and simultaneously dwindling that negative voice inside of us.
I’m a pretty level-headed person (so I’ve been told) so I have to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Change.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be at the same place mentally, emotionally, physically, academically or professionally a year from now. So, in order to grow, I have to change and change requires me to do things that scare me. And it doesn’t mean that all of my fears just magically disappear (I wish) but I do it in spite of my fear. And no matter how much I say it, nothing compares to actually doing it. Definitely easier said than done.
Friend, my hope for is that you do things that scare you. I don’t believe I’ll ever be completely freed from fear (I’m only human) but I don’t have to let it control me. And neither do you. Force your fears to run scared. Force your fears to work for your favor. Instead of having fear practice having a little faith in yourself, your calling, and your destiny. And watch you grow into the person you were made to be (your glo’ up). Ground yourself in reality and watch your fears fade. Remember, a little fear is okay, force it to propel you forward. And celebrate how far you’ve come. In short, just keep going.
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