“I took steps to overcome my fear of elevators.” Ha-Ha funny play on words. But, what does it mean?
You took action steps to work towards being able to ride elevators? Or, you’re being sarcastic and you “overcame” your fear by avoiding elevators and taking the stairs?
Which is true?
- Your life will be better if you take action on the things you avoid.
- Your life will be better if you avoid unpleasant and seemingly dangerous things.
There’s no way avoidance can make life better. Right? Hmmm…then why do so many people avoid unpleasant things? Why do people procrastinate? Why do people avoid triggers that cause anxiety?
Avoidance must make life better! Otherwise, why do people do it?
I searched the Internet for evidence that avoidance makes life better. It’s what people do so there’s got to be value in doing it. Right?
I Googled: “How Does Avoidance Makes Life Better.” Here are just 6 of the 28,000,000 results. They all say the same thing:
The list goes on and on. But, I could not find any bit of research to prove avoidance makes life better.
Every shred of evidence pointed to the fact that it makes life worse. Not the anxiety, the avoidance. The avoidance makes life worse.
So what to do? Become AWARE of the truth!
I saw this acronym for AWARE at Uncommonhelp.me:
Accept the anxiety. It’s here to stay. Live your life with anxiety.
Watch the anxiety. Don’t evaluate it as good or bad. It just is. It’s not dangerous. Only your reaction to anxiety can be dangerous.
Act normally. Act as if you don’t have anxiety.
Repeat the above steps!
Expect to handle whatever. Whatever happens, happens. You’ll handle it.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s easier to avoid than confront. It’s too hard to “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”
If you’ve been avoiding for awhile, of course it seems easier to avoid than confront. Hello Captain Obvious!
But, if you could remember the first days you avoided, it was hell. You beat yourself up. You lost sleep over it. You were torn up over what to do. It was so hard to get it perfected. It was hell!
Try this challenge:
Walk through your house for 72 hours touching nothing and nobody. Nobody can be be in the same room you’re in at the same time. Be very careful not to brush up against anything. If you think you brushed up against anything, go back out of the room and come back in. Don’t sit down. You can only squat. You can only eat Cheerios using chopsticks. When you sleep the only way you can be in bed is if you first wash the bottom of your feet while sitting on the edge of your bed. And you can only sleep, no matter how cold you are, on top of the covers looking up at the ceiling, with your hands folded behind your head.
The first 24 hours you do this, you’ll be agitated and stressed. The second day, it’ll still be hard but you’re getting better at it. By the third day, everyone around you is properly trained to stay away. You’ve figured out a few tricks to make it easier to avoid. You’re tolerating this kind of life better than you were the first 24 hours. Imagine in two weeks how much easier it will be.
Avoiding is only easy because it’s what you’ve been doing. It didn’t used to be this easy! You’re tolerating avoidance better now, than you did in the beginning.
The same can be said about confronting. At first it’s anxiety provoking. You’ll feel indecisive and lose sleep. But, in time, it’ll get easier and you’ll tolerate the anxiety.
You get good at what you practice. You can teach yourself to tolerate anything over time.
Don’t say, “Confronting my fears is easier said than done.” Once upon a time avoiding was hard. But you did it anyway.