#1.Fear of feeling. For example, I may put off paying my bills if I have difficulty tolerating the feelings that come up when I face my financial situation. This also applies to confronting difficulty in a relationship when we expect there to be conflict or pain. The survival part of the brain says, “Nope, that doesn’t feel safe. I think we’ll avoid that.”
One of the most effective ways to deal with this barrier is to cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention to everything that exists in this moment (both inside and outside ourselves) without judging or pushing it away. It is allowing our fear to be present, and experiencing it as a something transient that will ebb and flow, change and grow, then diminish. As we watch our feelings with such an intention we learn that no state is permanent and that we can tolerate even the most intense emotions when we realize that they won’t last forever. This frees us to take action, knowing that even if we feel deeply while paying the bills or calling a friend to confront a conflict, we will survive.
#2 Fear of failure. If we never begin something, we can’t fail. If we don’t try, we can’t discover our deficiencies, and sadly, also can’t discover our strengths and potential for success. My mother, a real estate broker had a large poster in her office that read, “Not to decide…is to decide.” She would point to it in silence when a customer was considering whether to make an offer on a home or accept an offer to sell, often a life changing decision. And it’s true, not to decide is to make a decision.
The key to overcoming this form of procrastination involves how we talk to ourselves internally. Most people, who choose not to try, due to fear of failing, are seeing the world and themselves through a negative lens. They have cognitive distortions that keep them locked in self-doubt. Take a look at my first few blog posts for more specific information about how to change negative self-talk into realistic, rational responses that can free us from depression and anxiety.
Check in on Thursday for more…