2 weeks ago, I did something that was so terrifying to me that I haven't done it in 10 years.
Whenever I thought about doing it, I could feel my chest tighten up. My breathing got shallow. My muscles tensed up. My mind went into a tailspin of worry, questioning why I was even trying to do this particular thing again even though I was paralyzed with fear.
And I did it anyways. And it was glorious.
So what did I do? I flew by myself.
To some of you, this might not seem like a big deal. You probably fly by yourself all the time, maybe even flitting from country to country while you see the world. That sounds like my worst nightmare.
I can do a lot of things that terrify other people, like public speaking, which by the way is the #1 thing that most people fear more than death itself! I can stand up in front of a crowd of hundreds of people with no speech prepared or practiced and knock it out of the park. I've never really had too much of an issue with it my entire life, so I can't fully understand when other people have a debilitating fear of it.
That's me with flying by myself ... or that was me, because 2 weeks ago I embarked on an 8-day, 7,686 kilometer trip (for you Americans, that's almost 5,000 miles) with 5 flights to 3 Canadian cities in 3 different time zones. BY MYSELF.
Talk about immersion therapy. #gobigorgohome
How was I able to do this even though I was terrified? I focused on why I was doing it. I was flying across Canada to support my essential oils team, to spread the essential oil love, and to mentor in person with 4 different ladies who I've only ever met over video conferencing software.
Meeting those ladies and being able to give them a real hug is what kept me going when I felt like my anxiety was going to take over. Well, that and certain essential oils that I use to calm myself down, but that's a whole other blog post on it's own.
During this trip, especially on the flights from Saskatoon to Edmonton where I was on a propeller plane (seriously, it felt so Mad Men) with no video screens and nothing to read (#firstworldproblems), I got to thinking about busting through this fear of mine and how I could directly relate it to all the people out there who desperately want to make changes in their life but get stuck doing it.
I'm starting to realize that when someone wants to make even the smallest change in their life, fear always comes up. It might be a super small fear that is easy to overcome, or it might be paralyzing and debilitating. You might not even be conscious of it.
Maybe you know that you need to eat healthier and it makes total sense in your thinking brain, but fears start bubbling up in the feelings part of your brain like "but what if my husband doesn't want to make the changes with me and decides that I'm not the woman that he married" or "what if my family, my rock, starts feeling like I've changed too much that they can't relate to me anymore?". At the core of that fear is probably "what if they don't like me?".
Maybe you need to start exercising because your Dad just dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of 50 and you don't want that to be your story, too. You might have to buy all new clothes when you lose weight, and what if your overweight friends start judging you because they think that you're all into your new body and they can't relate to you anymore? Maybe they start talking about you behind your back. At the core of that fear is probably "what if they don't like me?".
For me with flying by myself, I was afraid that I would have a panic attack on the plane in front of people I didn't know. I was afraid that they'd judge me and wonder who the crazy girl was on the plane. At the core of my fear was "what if they don't like me?".
This quote sums up how uncomfortable change is in such a beautiful way:
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" - Anais Nin
I've come to the conclusion that most of my and a lot of other people's issues is love. Lack of it, using other things as a substitute for it, not getting it from the people you want it from, and, most importantly, not being able to give it to yourself.
I'm not talking romantic love, but true love that comes with no strings attached, no judgement, and complete openness and honesty.
When I felt like I couldn't fly by myself, I was judging myself. Why do I have anxiety that causes me to feel like I can't fly? Why can everyone else do it and not me? What's wrong with me?
Well, I proved to myself that I can do it, and the pride that I felt for myself when the plane took off on my first flight was enough to create an addiction to want to feel that more often. Watch out world, I'm coming for you!
I want you to feel that pride for yourself, too. The feeling that you see on your kids faces when they figure something out for the first time. The utter joy that is so strong in your chest that it makes you want to shout out "I freaking did it!". It doesn't matter what "it" is.
It could be choosing a new recipe this week when you think you suck at cooking. It could be going to the gym when you're 100 pounds overweight and you think everyone is going to laugh at you. It could be getting up and speaking in front of 5, 10, 50, or 100 people when it makes you feel so scared that you're going to throw up and think you might actually pass out on stage.
The key word in that paragraph is "think". 99% of the time, the worst thing that you think is going to happen doesn't. And the 1% of the time that it does? Well, we all survive that, too.
As humans, we have the wonderful and horrible skill of being able to imagine things in our heads. Wonderful if you can create beautiful things that have never been existence on this earth, and horrible if you have anxiety like me and get stuck inside that vortex of what ifs.
It might not be today, tomorrow, or even this year, but someday you will have the courage to deal with the uncomfortable feeling that comes with trying something that scares the shit out of you. Or you won't and your life will never change. Start accepting that if you're not changing what you don't like in your life, it's because you're choosing not to change it.
There's no judgement involved with this statement, no feelings attached to it, just an observation. The moment when you realize that you've chosen everything in your life and when you start taking accountability for it is the moment that you realize that you can change it if you don't like it. You have all the power.
If you're ready to make a change, no matter how big or small, start planning now. I sure as hell didn't take my trip without an emergency stash of Ativan. You know, just in case I did have a nervous breakdown on the plane. I told the girls that I was visiting that worst case scenario I would drug myself up to get there, but I never had to use it.
99% of the time your worst case scenario never actually happens. BE BRAVE.
If you're ready to start eating healthier but want my help doing it, click here to check out my done-for-you, family friendly, 21 day meal plan.
If you're ready to support your body, calm your mind, and get rid of toxic crap in your house, click here to get your free sample of 100% pure essential oils.
I wanna know: what's the one thing that terrifies you the most, and have you ever done it?