I returned from my overseas trip last week to find 2 voicemails from my local council as well as a business card after an unexpected visit. I have a chequered history with my local council so I immediately started to feel my heart race, my palms get sweaty and my mind unravelling with a host of horrendous scenarios. My mind was running away with visions of my studio being shut down, large fines being handed out and potential legal battles.
The narrative was getting larger, increasing in negativity and in turn magnifying my anxiety. I had such apprehension that I was unable to call the council for 2 days because I was scared that it would confirm my darkest fears. Eventually, I mustered the courage to call the council as the noise in my head was becoming unbearable and it was affecting my work and relationships.
The reality was far different from the narrative I had created in my head and had suffered pointlessly for. I had made the problem so much bigger than it needed to be. If I had confronted the issue straight away then this torture would have been appeased.
The narrative became more profound the longer I left it. I continued to feed the monster through my avoidance. I needed experience the discomfort of the initial conversation so the greater fears would subside.
Avoidance is not a strategy. Confrontation is the answer. This will quiet the mind of the irrational fears that emerge.
What fears are you avoiding?
What narrative are you feeding that may be irrational or unfounded?
This involves some deep introspection and real honesty.
Once you have identified these fears you now need to overcome them. We do this through the following;
- Confront the fear through creating a realistic strategy to potentially reduce the impact of the stressor or even eliminate it completely.
- Reach out for support. Ask a friend or family member to assist you in this and be a source of strength and encouragement.
- Be patient. It may take time and you do not need solve all of your fears immediately. The best way to eat an elephant is ‘one bite at a time’.
- Reward yourself for taking affirmative action and moving forward with a solution mindset.
This is not easy and will require courage, vulnerability and endurance. However, you will experience a significant sense of liberation and the benefits will be immense.