Comfort Zones and Anxiety Attacks

I have had so many major life changes these last few years if I were to list them I would need an Excel spreadsheet.  In fact, I did list them out for a counselor about two years ago and she just read it then looked at me and asked if I thought I needed medication.  Ha!  No.

 Change has been such a part of my life for so many years; I have truly come to think of myself like a surfer on life’s ocean.  It’s a visual I have come to hold on too when things get rough or I get in over my head.  Like a surfer, I have learned to float, to ride the waves, watch for the storms, get knocked off my board and go under swallowing water, climb back up, and now and then I get to ride the tide in and walk on the beach. 

 This year I decided to take more chances on ME.  For too many years I have been a caregiver, a people pleaser, a taxi, giving to the point of exhaustion, then giving more without taking enough time to develop my interests, follow my dreams, or having enough courage to try just for me.

 Taking more chances on me sounds great, but it’s hard work.  Even while unpacking and sorting through remnants of my parents’ lives, I have been pushing my limits in different ways, continually doing things that are outside of my comfort zone.  Oddly enough, this has sometimes caused a chain reaction of weird fears and anxiety over strange things. 

 I will be having a good day with everything going along fine and some odd senseless fear will crop up and I wonder “what the heck?” and “where’d that come from?”  The other day a friend of mine asked me to get on Skype.  I hadn’t been on Skype before and out of the blue this stupid fear of the unknown hit me, so I pushed it aside and took the plunge trying out something new.  I am still here. 

I have had a lot of creeping fear and anxiety following me around like shadows lurking, but I have been teaching myself not to give in, not to dwell on it, just see the fears for what they are – more obstacles trying to keep me from moving forward.  I put them in their place and find ways to work past them. 

 The hardest part of facing fear is the actual facing part.  Once you stare fear in the face and denounce it, it tends to shy away or disappear.  I pick up my copy of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers Phd. and remind myself now and then that life is about making choices and taking chances and our greatest underlying fear is that we won’t be able to handle things.  I love her perspective on how to balance the different areas in life and how to face fears.

Then there are my journals.  I don’t know what I would do without the journals, or how I made it without them before.  My journals are a place where I brain dump everything that is bothering me, jot down potential solutions, work out ideas, and keep track of my progress in different areas.  Journals are a valuable resource.

Comfort zones are nice, but I am in the process of changing, adapting and moving forward in a new direction.  I will take the fear and do my best to identify it, then channel it and use it to learn from and grow.  Life is a journey and I’m thankful I am still here to experience it.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

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You Just Gotta Have Faith!

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

I was discussing faith with a friend of mine a few days ago.  How often is it that when we face frustrations and obstacles in our lives, someone you know says, “You just have to have faith that things will work out?”

 It’s something we are taught to say for when we really have no idea what else to say.  We tell people we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers, instruct them to have faith and the day goes on as normal.

 Faith, however, has a best friend.  Faith’s friend is often brought up in other contexts, but not always mentioned beside faith.  I find this interesting since you can’t truly experience one without the other because they go hand in hand.  Faith’s friend is Courage. 

 Now think about this, Mother Teresa, lived by faith and depended solely on God and people to fulfill her needs.  Yet, what is faith without courage?  How much courage did it take for her every single day with all the things she did, the lives she touched, the amazing encouragement and love she gave to the people around her? She fearlessly loved the people and sick children that most would turn away from, picking them up, holding, comforting and kissing them every day. 

 What about Martin Luther King?  It took a tremendous amount of courage to stand up for his dreams, justice, the knowledge that all of mankind was created equal.  Faith was at the forefront in everything he did, and like the leaders of the Reformation he knew that though he might be cut down for his beliefs and stance, he had the courage to stand firm and faith that the idea’s, dreams and the fire that he ignited would not die, but would grow into a flame that would create change in the world.

 Ever think about Moses?  He is noted as one of the Faith Fathers in the bible!  Yet how much courage did it take for him to go in front of Pharaoh over and over? How much courage did it take for him to come up against the Red Sea with all those people looking to him for answers and guidance and to raise his staff and have faith that something was going to happen?

 All throughout history there are people who have made a difference simply by taking these two friends Faith and Courage by the hand and deciding to go forward despite the odds, the obstacles and the naysayers in their way.  Thank goodness!!

 Even in our current times you see visionary’s like Steve Jobs who said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.”  I would say that Steve Jobs put a big ding in the universe and he did it using faith and courage, then gaining the knowledge, the people, the incredible insight he needed

 So the next time you are in a situation and don’t know what to say, and find yourself saying, “you just have to have faith,”  stop, think and change that just a bit.  Don’t forget Faith’s best friend.  It’s okay, Friend, things will get better.  You just need to have faith and courage that the sun will shine again.  Reset your goals and visions for the future and take off in the direction you want to go.  You can do it!

Cherry Coley  ©