“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
A few months ago, I was traveling to visit a good friend and was in the airport. Waiting to board my plane, a nice man and his dog walk toward me. They sat right beside me. For me, this is the equivalent to winning the lottery.
Immediately, I internally feel, “thank you Universe, you know I want to love on a cute pup.” I’m sure I let out some sort of squeal of excitement and asked the owner, “Can I pet your pup? Sorry, I’m one of those people.” He shared, “Ok, but he’s really scared.” I gave the pup a pet, but he was not having it. He was in an enormous amount of fear.
I have had my share of fear filled, anxious dogs but this guy topped the cake. He was shaking uncontrollably and stayed this way for far longer than what could have been good for his system. The therapist in me immediately went to: “Oh no, he’s so scared now— I can’t imagine what’s in store for this little guy once we board.”
Instead of taking on all of the anxiety for this stranger’s pup, I decided that the owner probably had it under control and my thoughts shifted the the amount of fear this dog was experiencing. Then something clicked.
How many times have I been paralyzed with fear just to find out, that everything around me is actually safe?
How many times have I almost lost my shit, put a strain on my relationships, or lost precious time due to a perceived threat?
How many times have I turned away from a supportive hug, a new opportunity, or real relationship because fear clouded my judgement?
Far too many times.
Even as a therapist and an obsessive studier of fear and shame, I’m human. I’m human enough to admit that sometimes fear still wins. Little did this pup know, he gave me a ton of courage and insight that day. Although his body was predicting otherwise, he survived the flight.
Can you relate to this story? Do you feel held back from your true desires because of fear, anxiety, or shame? You aren’t alone and more importantly, you aren’t designed to live this way.
I’ve found the tremendous benefit of a daily life that isn’t ruled by fear, old messages, or anxiety. I’d love to help you on this pathway as well!