By: Barbara Brown, Registered Psychotherapist
Have you ever had to walk toward that thing you absolutely DO NOT WANT TO DO… face-forward, shaking in your boots, and resisting it every step of the way? Well, that’s me. Right now. In it with you! I have been a psychotherapist for over thirty years and have never had a website, never written a blog, and never intended to do either. But here I am wondering how the hell I got here – dialoguing with you in cyberspace?
Here’s an idea…take a minute and write down that moment (or moments, if you’re anything like me!). Describe the situation you were resisting. Describe the walking toward. Take your time with it. There’s no rush on this, because, well, you’ve already made it through! Remember what it felt like to be on that side of this “dreaded thing”. For just one moment, see that You, way back then, and breathe. It is hard to be human, isn’t it?
Over the years I’ve had all sorts of reasons why not to put myself out into the cyber-sphere. My workload was already big enough, I argued, why bother? Or, I railed against the PR machine and the control the internet has on our lives. I scoffed. I patted myself on the back for not participating. I ignored. And then, life in her ineffable fashion came knocking on my muscled resistance and said…”You have to do it. Now.” And I was sorely afraid.
If I wanted to move beyond where I was, if I wanted to make a quiet dream that for years lurked in the background actually become reality, I had to do it. Now. There was no disputing my options. It was time for me to act, to make a dream concrete in the world, and risk…
But risk what, exactly?
The weird thing was I didn’t know what I was so afraid of. I knew I was afraid. I can still feel it, to be honest. But I couldn’t answer the question – What is the risk if I take this step to believe in myself and speak? Or write, as it were.
What were you afraid of when your dreams crept in front of your heart? What did you do to push that tendril back into the shadows where it originated from? Are you, like me, an ignorer? Or a great debater that always wins against yourself?
I’ve come to recognize that each one of us has our own styles to make sure we don’t get too uncomfortable. And while that might not seem like good news, I actually think it is. Why? Because if you know how you usually get in your own way, it gives you a chance to get out of the way. Preferably, out of the way of that delightful, brilliant, courageous, over-the-top, ridiculous, and only-you-can-do-it dream!
Stay in this with me just a bit longer and ask yourself a question…From that “dreaded moment” you described earlier, how much of what you feared actually happened? Be truthful with yourself. This isn’t a time to sugarcoat anything, it’s only you coming to know you.
When I look back I see I feared creating a place like Redbird Therapy Centre, this website, and this blog would be a dismal waste of my time. I imagined (and it still might happen) that I would build it and no one would come. I feared losing money and face. Maybe worse than that, having my efforts not ‘land’ out in the world at all and an empty, echoing hollow, swallowing it all up. In this circumstance, only time – and effort, and a little bit of luck – will tell. For you, how accurate did your fear turn out to be?
Let me ask you one more question…If some of your fears proved themselves to be insights and they did actually happen, how did you manage those outcomes? Because the answer to this question is probably the most important one of all. It shows you a lot of what you are made of.
Sometimes we are going to fall flat on our faces, or get scuffed up knees, or lose money, or pride, or connections that are important to us. Sometimes that will happen. We’re human. That’s the thing. We have to write those moments of loss and failure in, even when we desperately don’t want to.
Remarkably, though, we also get to write in ALL THE OTHER THINGS that happened. The times our fears turned out to be wrong. The times we did not-so-badly. Even, and especially, the times we sailed and soared, and were surprised to find the wind at our back, nudging us along. Let’s go back to that “dreaded moment”. Take a minute. Recall the after-you-did-it, faced it, shook in your boots and walked towards it. What happened then?