Are You Hiding Your True Fears?
If you're anything like me, you sometimes get in a funk about something irrational. But it may not be exactly what it seems.
For example, last week I started worrying about my future security as an American. Things are going great for me right now, but it's easy to imagine different ways that my prosperous situation could be disrupted based on certain political realities served up to me by books and news articles I've recently read. My mind can be a creative tool for dreaming and building, and it can also imagine calamity just as easily. Can you relate?
I couldn't shake my general fear, even though I knew that it was a bit ridiculous. This, my friends, is a sure-fire sign that something more may be at play. I find that when I have irrational fears, the truth is usually that I'm worried about something else.
Can you guess what I was actually worried about? Here's the latest: I have fallen madly in love with a wonderful man, and am opening up and trusting another human more than I ever have before. Our love has become such an important and central part of my life, that it scares me to think that it might end. What if he loses interest? What if it doesn't work out?
That's what I'm truly afraid of, but it comes out sideways. Instead of facing my real fears about trusting another person, I worry about the end of society as we know it. For some reason, that seems safer and easier to deal with to me than to think about love ending.
I used to regret missed opportunities from the past. For example, I regretted that I didn't join the Peace Corps. "If only I had joined the Peace Corps," my mind told me, "my life would be so much better now. I would be in a career I liked more, have better friends, be married to the love of my life, and be so much more wise and mature."
You would have thought that the Peace Corps was a cure for cancer! I could sit on my couch for hours and regret the life I missed by not joining the Peace Corps.
Can you guess what I was actually upset about? The truth is that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my career; I hadn't made any good friends in my city, and I wished I was in a relationship. Instead of feeling the dissatisfaction of my current situation, and figuring out how to make it better, I found it "easier" to just beat myself up over not having joined the Peace Corps. It certainly takes less effort to sit on my couch regretting than to research new careers, go on dates, and plan events with new friends.
What negative thoughts do you feel "stuck" thinking? Are they your real fears, or is there something more significant beneath them? What are you really dealing with? Write me a note and share!
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