Stress-Nothing more than Fear in Disguise
October 18, 2015
I have lived the majority of my life feeling a constant anxiety that I had labeled just a necessary “stress” of living. Even in the simple everyday tasks of waking up, getting ready for work, and showing up on time, my mind continually found ways to fear the outcome of how I may somehow mess up or do something wrong: I might take too long, be late, give a wrong answer, or there could be traffic. And for as long as I can remember, I believed that stress was just a normal part of living. It is certainly a very common experience – so common that I believed that stress was a necessary part of living.
Through my work with the Awareness Institute, I’ve started to experience what it feels like to live without the constant anxiety of feeling like I will mess up. There is an ease and flow to life (and even in a joy!) when I start to trust myself and trust life. I’ve started to see that this “stress” is not actually a necessary part of life, but a reaction to life when I am feeling inadequate. When I am in a state of feeling “less than”, I fear the outcome of others’ reactions (most importantly my own) when I inevitably share my human imperfections.
When I label these everyday fears “stress,” I become numb to the fact that stress is a choice NOT TO TRUST. I give up trust when I buy into the fear that I won’t be okay if I’m late, or that I will be rejected if I give a wrong answer or share my vulnerabilities. What is the worst thing that could really happen? Perhaps someone gets upset, becomes disappointed, or doesn’t see my perspective. When I can trust that I am okay and enough, irrespective of the outcome, fear has no role or power over my life.
When I felt “stress” in the past, I didn’t see that it was a choice. But when it’s reframed as a question of “Am I ready to trust?,” I can see and feel that I have choice, and that fear/stress is not necessary. In fact, fear blocks out the enjoyment that’s possible and waiting in my life! In this moment, I don’t choose to live in fear – I am ready to live in the freedom that is trust.