“Remember that underlying our fears is lack of trust in ourselves.”
Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®: Dynamic techniques for turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love

I’ve never been much of a self-help book fan. Who needs to read those books anyway? I mean, I want to help myself so I will just do that. No need for a book to tell me what to do right? Wrong. I’ve only ever read The Rules and He’s Just Not That Into You. I don’t know if I’d consider them self-help but I was curious.

Two years ago, a friend recommended this book. I was a bit wary at first.   In my mind, only “losers” needed to read self-help books. Why would I need a book to instruct me how to live my life? It’s not as if I needed special skills like computer programming, playing an instrument or baking a cake. Everyone knew how to do it and I sure as heck don’t need a book. But I was in a bit of a pickle in my personal life and the book title said it all. What have I got to lose? I’m in!

I’m first to admit that I’ve had a cushy life. I’ve never really had to work too hard for anything. As a student, I had good grades with minimal effort. At work, I had a good job. I made friends easily. Even with other talents, I’m somewhat good at it. I wasn’t great at it, but I’m good with minimal effort. The only thing I admit to being a total ignorant of would be in electric stuff. I could never understand why plugging a 220V to a 110V outlet would destroy the appliance. Or it could be the other way around. Anyway, you see my point. I was comfortable in life. Which is good. That also meant I was in my comfort zone and every time I tried to step out of that zone, I’d be so fearful and afraid. It was like stepping into the great unknown. I didn’t have control and I was afraid of all the negative things that could happen.

Reading the book made me realize that I tried to exercise control in order to resist being uncomfortable. And that was why I wanted to be in control of situations in most areas of my life (personal, professional, emotional, etc.). I would almost always try “rigging” it to my favor or avoiding dealing with it altogether.   I was deathly afraid of failing. I was afraid of being pitied on and laughed at. I was my own harshest critic. Self-confidence comes from knowing that you can handle things that are thrown your away. I guess I wasn’t. Confident, that is.

I had to change my mindset with regards to “failing.” There was some sort of narcissistic element in thinking that I can do no wrong. I wasn’t perfect. Why should I keep on beating myself up over every mistake? I did come out of every situation knowing what not to do next time. Over time, I’ve gotten used to minimizing the volume of the fearful voice. Not full on mute, but enough to get out of analysis paralysis. I try to prepare myself as much as I could by anticipating what could happen. Even then, all I can do was adopt a “CAN DO” attitude. If I never did it, how would I know I could? I had to ask myself what would I fear more. The fact that I didn’t do something, or that I tried but the outcome may or may not have been what I had originally intended. The answer was pretty obvious.

Every time I feel the fear and come close to succumbing to it, I have to keep on reminding myself what the author, Susan Jeffers, wrote. “Shift from being afraid of making a mistake to being afraid of not making a mistake. If you are not making any mistakes, you are not learning or growing.” And I do want to learn and grow. Whatever gets thrown my way, I WILL HANDLE IT!

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