To Push or Not to Push

When it comes to fear, we all seem to have our own ways of dealing.  I tend to notice something that makes me uncomfortable or nervous, even FEARFUL with capital letters, and it continues to bother me until I do something about it.  In fact, I get nudged by something inside of me, or outside of me, until I do something about it.

When I was afraid of the water, I figured that the best way to get over that fear was to become a good swimmer, and then once I was a swimmer, to become a lifeguard.  I haven’t lost my fear of the water, really.  It has lessened and changed, so that I can get away with saying that I have respect for the water, and I feel more comfortable in it than I did when I didn’t know how to swim.  But I can’t say that I’m completely not afraid of the water.

Any fear I seek to conquer doesn’t really ever go away.  It changes to I’ve-done-that-and-it-wasn’t-so-bad. And I have to be ready to take it on, or I feel like I’m being pushed externally, and then I lose the incentive to conquer the fear.

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of dealing with fears the way we want to.  Sometimes we’re paralyzed and can’t seem to breathe much less deal with a fearful situation.  It helps to see how someone else did it, or does it, and then it doesn’t seem so hard.

But when I don’t have a roadmap, then I have to push myself – internally.  And when pushing doesn’t work, I fool myself.  My favorite fooling-myself-tool is Future Me.  When I’m pretending I am Future Me, I project myself (not astrally, just mentally) a short distance into the future, after the fearful time.

It’s actually really simple. For example:  When I was going into labor with my third child, I was afraid.  Yes, I had done it before, but my second child weighed 10 lbs 1 1/2 oz and I remember quite clearly that it hurt!!!  The amnesia that women get from previous labors had worn off completely, and I knew that if I was afraid I would tense up and that would make the whole thing harder.  So I became Future Me.

I imagined myself holding my beautiful new baby, an hour after the birth, no longer in pain, and just about to get served a wonderful hospital dinner (the cool thing is that you get to choose where you want to be in the future, and I was starving at the time).  That little glimpse into the future gave me the strength to go through with the birth in a more relaxed state.  It still hurt.

I also use Future Me when I’m negative about the outcome of something.  When I think I really can’t do something, I see a picture of myself in my mind already having achieved what I want. It’s just the internal push I need sometimes.

How do you push or not push yourself?

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