Pause Challenge: Face fear on a regular basis and see what happens to your life. Let me explain...
A key step toward reaching goals involves having the courage to pause before you self-sabotage. Pausing is hard. Pausing is scary. Acting without thinking is easy. Pausing is facing yourself and your fear.
Picture what self-sabotage looks like for you. Did you decide you should go to bed early so you can get up and be productive? Then pause before you start that next show. Sit into the nothingness for 5 minutes and ask yourself what you really want.
Did you decide you weren’t going to eat crap food, feel stuffed, or have that extra glass of wine? Then before you reach for it, pause. Sit into the feeling. Tell yourself you can have it if you still really, really, really want it in 15 minutes. I often find the urge passes. I just need the self-control to pause.
Did you overload your schedule and make life insanely crazy, pushing yourself to the brink of stress? Then pause before you take on one more thing. Pause and leave some holes in that schedule!
I promise it gets easier the more you practice it! Pausing the first time can be hard. It is facing fear. Fear of success. Fear of reaching your goals. Fear of sitting quietly. Fear of leaving what you know, because even self-sabotage can become comfortable.
The practice of facing fear is relevant to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay at home mom or in a “normal” job leading a normal life, you still choose whether or not to face fear on a regular basis. Facing fear sets us free from the constraints of anxiety and worry. Facing fear helps us enjoy life and be present in the moment. It helps us enjoy our friends and family more without the stress of worry.
Our lives may look different, but I guarantee life is hard for all of us on some level. It’s how we handle that life stress that can make the difference between being happy to truly follow your life’s dreams or finding yourself in circles of regret and self-sabotage. When’s the last time you wished you hadn’t done something or had acted differently? Have you felt betrayed by yourself and wondered why you keep acting a certain way?
Letting yourself down feels uncomfortable. When we feel disappointed in ourselves we often admonish ourselves, reprimanding the disappointing action. This leads to more feelings of disapproval. It’s a hard hole to dig out of when you’re stuck in a self-deprecating cycle. Even if it’s subtle and you simply keep self-sabotaging your bedtime so you can’t wake up and work out, or your diet so you can’t seem to lose those last 5 pounds you want to lose. You’re still stuck in that cycle of self-defeat. Face it!
Facing fear head on helps you move past it. It helps you increase presence in the moment, which encourages better decisions that break the ugly cycle of self-sabotage.
What does overcoming fears look like, aside from the obvious stuff like public speaking or cliff diving? Fears can be subtle and very intertwined in our everyday lives.
I used to struggle with the fear of rejection. I really wanted people to like me. You could say I’m a recovering people pleaser. Social fears of this type leave you always worrying over what others think. This keeps you from being you.
Overcoming my fear of rejection has helped me enjoy life tremendously more and helped ease those cycles of self-sabotage because I have far less anxiety.
In reality, fear is often very self-centered. If you worry about what others think of you and wanting to please them, you assume things are all about you. Which is hardly ever the case. You've got to let that mess go!
Sure, there are people who are not going to like you and assume the worst no matter what you do, but those people are just making themselves miserable and we should feel sorry for them. They can try to make you feel bad and bring you down with them, but you are in charge of you and no one can make you feel a certain way. Only YOU can!
When we moved after my husband's first job loss, I was 8 months pregnant and in a new state with no friends. I love me some alone time, so honestly, those 3 weeks until delivery being alone in a house with boxes to unpack and hypnobabies to listen to was a dream! But several months into the postpartum period I started getting lonely. As you might imagine. I had planned to stay home from work for a little bit to focus on my little one since we had just moved, but I really needed to get out and make friends.
Talking to complete strangers is challenging, but if you look hard enough you can find common ground with anyone. I went up to a stranger in the grocery store because she had the same stroller as mine and a kid about the same age. Sure, it was a little awkward, especially when I asked her if she wanted to do something fun together. LOL. (I’ve always been a bit blunt.) Having the courage to strike up a conversation turned out wonderfully. We ended up becoming great friends. Lots of runs, playdates and couples’ dinners. I took a chance at putting myself out there. Are you in a place now where you’d like to make more friends? Maybe different friends who are a better influence or have different values? Great! Go meet them!! Be brave.
I met another new friend by chatting her up at the climbing gym. I sent her a message on facebook and weeks went by and she didn’t respond. Should I assume that she didn’t like me? Should I assume the worst? No, of course not! I messaged her again. My policy is always assume the best until it slaps you in the face. Turns out she never got the first message, and years later we’re still the best of friends. Like taking family trips together to different parts of the country kind of friends!
Facing fear is much easier when you are put in a situation where you HAVE to face that fear. Like moving to a new town and having to make friends, or needing to give a presentation at work. Voluntarily facing your fears for fun— now that’s what I’m talking about for moving into an entirely different space in life where your goals become your new reality.
Sharing personal information on the internet doesn’t make me feel entirely comfortable. Giving advice publicly is scary. What if someone judges me? What if I get a critic? But conquering fears leads to more conquering, so I put myself out there anyway, even though it scares me.
It puts you into a cycle for winning instead of self-sabotage. I’m more likely to stick to my bedtime so I can feel great the next day to get stuff done because I faced a fear in another area. Go me = Good cycle. We could all use a little more "Go me!"
So, this long post is to share a couple key points with you. Face your fears now!! If you don’t think you have any fears, let me know; I’m sure I can help you find some. I'm really good at saying the wrong thing and being socially awkward, so these ideas come easy.
Face fear for fun on a regular basis and see what happens in your life. You just might find you now have the courage to pause and break that cycle!
- Go to a new gym to work out just for the day. You’ll feel out of place and awkward because you don’t know anyone. So fun!
- Try a new mom class or group if you’re a stay at home mom. The first class the first time is always a bit scary!
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
- Try a new sport. Climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, skydiving, etc.
- Take an acting or improv class.
- Sign up for Toastmasters. (Apparently, public speaking is the #1 fear!)
- Decide not to care what someone thinks about you.
- Share something personal on social media.
- Write a blog post about your feelings. (Are you judging me? 😉 Don’t care. Ok, I care a little, but I’m a work in progress too! LOL)
- Reach out to someone you find intimidating.
Any fun new ideas to add to the list?