We have all been in situations that make us extremely uncomfortable. A new job, an unfamiliar city, or an environment where we do not know anybody. The question is, how do we overcome fear?
Recently, I was away at a conference where I was totally out of my element. I was nowhere near my comfort zone. I knew almost no one, at least not well enough to rely on for company. At several points during my trip, I contemplated retreating to my hotel room during breaks or mealtime, or at other times when there was no set program.
After all, we always have the choice to avoid. This is actually the most common response. It is a lot easier to leave a situation or circumstance which makes us feel vulnerable or uncomfortable rather than immerse ourselves in it, face it and grow. For some people, however, the thought of immersing themselves could be almost too much to bear, accompanied by feelings of overwhelming anxiety and fear.
But I fought those thoughts of running away. Instead of avoiding to deal with my own discomforts, I chose to throw myself right into them. After all, I went to the conference to learn and grow professionally, and ultimately meet others in the field who are all there for the same reasons. If I avoided them, what would be the point of this adventure? And how disappointed I would have been with myself for letting those fears get the better of me.
As I try to do in my personal life, I always encourage my clients to take risks. Facing a fear or managing an anxiety provoking situation, is not only an opportunity for personality growth and maturation, but also ultimately helps us with our sense of confidence and security.
So what techniques can we use to face and overcome fears instead of choosing to make a run for the hills?
It is not easy putting ourselves out there. But I have learned, both from personal experience and within my own practice, that in the long term, the rewards of taking the risks far outweigh the disadvantages. So stop running, and just deal with it.
To my dearest sweet daughter,
So I write this letter to you on your last night of summer holiday, as you settle down to get ready for bed.
Tomorrow is a big day for you. In fact, this whole year is going to be huge.
You have graduated from primary school and you are moving on to middle school. An enormous accomplishment within itself. But you have already left your mark sweetheart. You have amazing friends. You are a remarkable person. You are sweet and loving and caring and you are always thinking of everyone else’s needs, even before your own.
You are so mature beyond your years. I will never forget when at 2 years old, you were acting as hostess and offering to clear plates at our parties. When your sister was born, you did not hesitate to rock her to sleep in her car seat. You are a natural. It seems like you were born maternal and kind.
And here you are, ready to embark on an adventure that you have been looking forward to for some time. You have earned it. Tomorrow for the first time un-chaperoned, you will be taking the bus on your own. You have a key to the house and you are responsible enough to let yourself in and stay home by yourself. I trust that you will make good decisions for yourself, but more so, I know that if you need help in any way, you are not too proud to ask for it.
Over the course of your whole life, Daddy and I have taught you about street safety, stranger danger, and being aware of your surroundings at all times. And although we know you are nervous, we also know you are extremely excited to have these grown up responsibilities. Yes, you have your share of the sillies and the crazies, but when the need arises, you always step up to the plate.
You know how to comfort your sisters when they are sad or hurt. Most often without being asked to do so, you initiate helping them. You bring them band aids or icepacks and are always available for a hug. You let them tag along when you have friends over because you know how much it means to them, even if you would rather be left alone.
If anyone is ready for this adventure, it is you. We have faith in you sweetheart. I promise that Daddy and I will be ready too, but it might take us a little bit longer to get there. When you are a mother, I am sure you will understand.
You are growing up right before our eyes into a beautiful, responsible and compassionate young woman. And Daddy and I could not be more proud.
So enjoy this time, honey. Take it all in. Have fun, yet keep a clear head. Trust your instincts, but also find ways to relax. No matter what, always know that Mommy and Daddy are here for you. To dry your tears, boost you up, cheer you on, help you out, and give you encouragement. Never, ever forget that. And always know, you can tell us anything. We will always be here for you, no matter what.
I love you sweetheart.
Love mommy xoxo
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