Five years ago, I was caught always pondering some element of fear. Whether it was fear of some future event, fear of failure, fear of being found out etc. Whilst my mind engaged in these rather senseless conversations, I was neither present nor enjoying all the things right in front of me. I can’t play with my son, or roll on the floor with my dogs, or appreciate good music whilst worrying about the next day, the next week, or next year.
The one thing that is most likely holding you back from achieving your life goals, your business goals or simply obtaining the happiness you are craving, is fear. Fear is a pervasive element that consumes the mind, body and soul. Many people will pass through their entire life never willing to step into who they want to be or what they could be. Imagine being ninety years of age and lying on your deathbed. The question asked to you is “what do you regret”? Right now most people will regret many things, but only a small few can smile and nod to this question. Their smile is the simple acknowledgement that they have already pondered this point at a previous stage of their life. They have made a decision to live a life without regrets. They know that their final breath in this life will be accompanied by a slightly raised smile, a sense of oneness with the passing from this world and into the next. Their secret was to simply enjoy this world, live in this moment and making sure they valued all of the positive things they had with them right them.
A wise monk once told me that you can only concern yourself with those things you can influence, all else is for someone else. Equally those things that you can influence, you must only consider them at a point at which you can impact them. If I worry about a phone call I need to make in three days then this is clearly something I cannot influence right now. If I park the issue until the right moment in three days time, I can then bring it back to my conscious mind, it is then time to consider my next steps. All time between those two points is a simple waste of energy and a disconnection from the moment I should be enjoying.
An example of this may be a problematic client or person in your work life. If you spend time over your weekend reflecting and worrying about this person, you are wasting your time, as you cannot have any material impact on the matter. These actions will however have a material impact on you, your family and your wellness. Equally the person that you are fretting over is most likely laughing, sleeping, socialising or just enjoying their time. By allowing your mind to be consumed by them during the weekend, you create a double negative impact on your health. It is important to arrive home and before you pass the threshold to the entrance of your house, you must place all of the work stresses outside the door - into an imaginary box. Visualise the box and see yourself arriving home, you open the box, place your worries inside and seal the lid. Don’t panic you can pick them up on Monday, but for now they serve no purpose with you or with your family. With this action you are freeing your mind from stress and remaining clear of it until Monday.
It is also important to understand that obligations and guilt play deeply into our fears. I learnt a long time ago to remove all feelings of obligation if they are drawing me into things that do not serve me or if they hold any sense of toxicity. Negative obligations to other people can be forced upon you and you then believe you must fulfil this obligation. What happens if you don’t, what happens if you say no? Generally nothing will happen, all that will happen is that you are free to focus on something that is more positive and wholesome for you. Equally, by avoiding negative obligations, you also start to remove guilt, as guilt arises when you are being drawn into things that you are not truly comfortable with. I never feel guilty when I am doing things that I enjoy, or when I am doing things with people that fill me with happiness. There is no guilt associated with positive actions.
So think about the fear, obligations and guilt in your life, think about things or people that do not serve your wellbeing. Think about those things that have a negative impact on your mental health. Have you ever considered simply removing them? If you had a growth on your leg that was unpleasant to look at, inhibited your movement and drained you emotionally, wouldn’t you have it removed? Equally we need to see negative people, negative events or negative things in the same way. The great news is that you can simply decide to step away from them, not engage with them and start to take control of your own happiness.