The scariest part of transformation!Blog
Transformation is hard. Especially while you are doing it.
The hard part is that you can’t see the full picture while in it. You are overwhelmed with emotion and therefore feel more than you can articulate and rationally think about it.
The fear in your mind before you do and tackle things is the worst. The pain created by the thought, produced by the fear, is often so much bigger than the actual pain you experience while you do the challenge once you get to it.
We often imagine the perfect life for us in the future. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it hold in store for me? It gives us hope, something to look forward to, something to dream and fantasies about when the reality is just too hard to manage. I am not talking about the little things we are looking forward to, I am speaking about creating a perfect vision of our life, which seems more of an illusion because reality and the dream are just so far apart from each other. It doesn’t seem real due to the distance between the now and then. But in order to pull that perfect life closer to the present, we have to go through change, experience fear, uncertainty, fear and those kinds of emotion.
The image we see in the distance, the dream, we are going for is so positive and wonderful that the feeling of pain, anxiety, and uncertainty just doesn’t fit the picture we have in mind, what we want in the future and all the positive feelings attached to it.
And so we go back to the old. It may not correlate with the perfect picture in our head but at least we don’t get disappointed. We know what to expect because the gap between both creates so much doubt and disappointment nearly unbearable to handle.
Our brain loves routine. Why: because it permits it to go into auto mode. It requires less thinking. Change means (initially) hard work, it means high demand for energy, it means danger!
Have you ever slept in a hotel room or a new room? The first night we are usually aware of every little noise: the heating system, the door squeaking, a person walking up and down the aisle, a dripping water faucet.
It’s our body- prepared to protect us- making sure to be ready to react and act when there is a danger.
Another example is little kids being afraid of new noises, hearing the birds chirping in the tree, the train, the microwave…Why? Because it is all new and they haven’t categorized just yet if it means danger or not.
At this moment it seems too much to handle. There are too many impressions, too many things to worry about.
Just by going through them, experiencing the moment (the fear) we can then see that we are saved, and most of all it isn’t as scary and terrifying as it seems. The hardest part is to accept all these emotions that appear in such situations. Welcoming them, because we know they are here to protect us, but at the same time don’t let them take over and leading to a situation where we go back home, back to the old, never ever going on vacation again.
As you can tell I am talking in metaphor!
Dealing with a problem, or something you wanted to change for a while: a disorder, an addiction, something that is simply holding us back from achieving our dreams and goals requires us to go through the situation and to feel all the emotions that come with it.
It is hard! It is scary because we think about them before we do it and they seem unbearable to handle. They appear so incredibly big and overwhelming. But by doing exactly that I realize more and more that nothing is as scary as the thought before the actual action. Don’t get me wrong: Once you do it, it is still incredibly challenging- but again nothing compared to the thought which creates such intense pain beforehand. I think it is because we feel hopeless because we don’t actually take action. We feel trapped by the pain and overwhelmed by the emotions crackling down on us! We imagine the worst scenario possible. We feel the anxiety rushing through our body, the exhaustion, the lack of breathing and we can’t handle it. How should I deal with this situation in reality and go through it, if I can’t even think about it?
But if we are forced to do so by life-threatening events or we actually follow the little voice, called hope that just wants to believe so badly that we can actually do it, it is incredible to see how doing so can benefit us so greatly.
Walking over glooming coals seems scary. Again, you imagine the worst: The injuries you can contract. The consequences it will bring with it. The fear creeping up on you.
And again: This fear is here for a reason, to warn us, to protect us. But let’s not run away, let’s feel the fear. What are you here to tell us? Let’s say thank you for the warning. I prepare myself, make myself aware of potential hazards and common mistakes. I act mindfully and then do it. Don’t try it. Go all in. Know you can do it and you will! Go through the emotion and the experience with pure openness and awareness instead of resisting it You will realize it isn’t nearly as bad as you thought. Focus on the long-term goal. If we stay focused on the perfect picture, the ideal goal may hurt a bit but it will never turn into a full burn a severe blister, devastating injuries, anxiety or panic. And believe me, it’s actually over so much quicker than imagined!
Walking on fire wasn’t such a tough challenge for me – I did it. But it showed me even more how much smaller the challenge is if I just DO it and don’t obsess about it beforehand.
Another big aspect that holds us back is the all or nothing mindset. While often helpful, it can hinder is from archiving things as well. Tomorrow I start fresh, tomorrow it will be perfect: I stop smoking, I stop procrastinating, I stop drugs, I run daily, I workout more, I drink water, I eat healthy all the time, I go the bed early, It will be perfect.
Or any other issue you wish to address. Like the New Year’s resolutions you create a picture in your head you may have about the perfect life and the perfect you: you get excited, you start but after a few days old habits creep in, you stay up late, you had a cheat meal, you feel disappointed and you give up and go back to the old.
But growth happens when you do it when it gets really hard when circumstances are not ideal when you have every reason to stop and go back to the old (that didn’t make you happy to begin with, but at least you know what to expect). You ate way too much, drank way too much? And now: Get up and do the workout, it is worth it. Not are you back on track much quicker than giving in entirely to the negativity, the giving up modus, the disappointment in yourself but at the same time you have a positive, rewarding, empowering emotion that kick starts you for the next day. Finding that strength while already on the road to failure and getting up despite all ods is hard. It is so hard, again in our mind unbearable to do, so many excuses and convincing reasons not to, but starting fresh tomorrow. But once you do it, turn the flow of energy around in the downward spiral it releases an unimaginable force and power in you. Imagine even if you improve % of your habits daily, you will be so much further than the person who promises himself every day tomorrow I will do it perfectly!
What I am doing now, the challenge I am currently tackling is finding peace with food and my eating habits. It is crazy hard to go through all the emotions but the more I allow them to be, accept them, let them be, the sooner I go through them. I realize how strong I have become mentally. It shakes me, it hurts me, I doubt me and my capability. But I can actually handle it and I am rewarded with so much pride and confidence ready to tackle the next. And to draw fully from such hard challenges and obstacles and gain the full benefit from it: I celebrate. I celebrate fully. To let my brain experience all the positivity attached to going through pain. Nourish it with confidence and joy. I dance, I sing, I pat myself on the shoulder and I feel free – creating a new beneficial habit!
This is recovery, this is healing! This is doing it – even though it doesn’t feel anything like it to begin with!!