Someone is coming after me.
I don’t know who, and I don’t know why. They have a weapon, but I’m not sure what. I’m running around the house, trying to escape, but I never actually leave the house.
I wake up out of breath, eyes bugged even though it’s dark in my cozy bed. I assure myself it’s only a nightmare, and it’s not real.
It’s all in your head. Go back to sleep!
I fall back asleep, but that someone is back. I can’t escape, and I’m constantly looking over my shoulder for them to finally take me out. I’m ready to succumb.
I jerk awake again. I’m frustrated because I know it’s certainly not real, yet I keep returning to the same nightmare. I’m paralyzed with fear and can’t take any action.
A couple weeks ago, I was rereading one of my favorite books of all time, the Four Agreements. The part on fear particularly resonated with me: “Our personal dream can also become an ongoing nightmare where we suffer and live in a state of fear.”
I truly believe I’m living my best life, but I’m starting to realize that I’ve disciplined myself to do so out of fear. I anticipate the worst so that I can do my best. I fear losing my job, my income, my apartment, my Chicago life, my friends, my family, my capable body, and even simple things like being late. I live in a nearly constant state of anxiety based on internal fears.
As a high achiever, I am driven by personal goals, but they are not always coming from a place of love. I’ve internalized my deepest fears to perform at ridiculously high standards. Even when I know my fears aren’t real, and I shouldn’t constantly fear losing my job, I still can’t get myself to leave the (internal) house of fear. I’ve locked myself in.
This realization was major for me, and when I woke up from those nightmares, I realized it was time for a change. It was time to have faith in myself.
Coming down from the high of my book and my promotion at work, I’m setting new goals for myself. I’m reflecting on the root of these goals and whether or not they’re gentle on my fears. Self-love is so much easier said than done, and I think it’s important to discuss the challenges that come with it.
How do I push myself outside my comfort zone without doing so in a way that’s encouraging self-aggression? How do I challenge myself while loving myself?
When I lead foam rolling exercises in my fitness classes, I remind members that there should be mild discomfort, but not pain. Recognizing the difference and finding balance between the two can be hard, but it’s not impossible. It also takes practice.
Whatever goals you’re working towards right now, I hope they’re coming from a place of love. Always be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods. There are so many ways to achieve your goals, and we might as well do so faithfully.
What are you working on right now? Share with me and speak your goals into existence! I’ll be rooting for you and sending love your way.
++ Mary K