The alarm went off at 3am.
What the hell am I doing up at this hour?
Groggy and bleary-eyed, I rolled out of bed and turned my computer on.
Ah, this is what happens when you procrastinate, I told myself.
I’d let myself go up against a deadline and decided to wake up several hours before the workday so that I could finish my writing assignment. Having been exactly here before, I started the familiar process of beating myself up over a myriad of issues all contributing to my having to sit at my desk at 3am.
“If only you’d gotten yourself organized….”
“You always do this…”
“Everyone else has their shit together, but you can’t…”
You get the idea.
Have you ever stopped and listened to how you talk about yourself? It’s brutal.
Most of us have moments of doubt. New experiences and challenges often brings out our fears, which have a powerful hold on us whether we like it or not.
I recently went to an event hosted by Jillian Michaels where she spoke about how to lose weight, exercise, and build confidence to reach our goals. Interesting enough, although not particularly earth-shattering. Nevertheless, Michaels is a badass and a great speaker to boot, so I followed along.
What caused me to perk up and take notice was this question she asked:
Why not me?
Simple enough and one that I’d heard in some variation for over a year now. But in that moment, it sounded so right.
I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about how you need to celebrate all of the little unique foibles and idiosyncrasies that make up who you are. But I rarely do that for myself, and if I do, I usually dismiss it as being too selfish.
That’s all fear. That I know through and through. How do I break that fear cycle?
Michaels spoke about fear and tore apart the notion that the goal is to be fearless in all of our endeavors. Fear is a normal human response to situations that cause stress. We’re fighting a losing battle if we think that we can just ignore fear and “fake it ’till we make it,” without putting in the work to change our inner dialogue from one of discord to one of compassion.
Fear sneaks up on you. It knows when your guard is down and it keeps you immobilized, especially at times when you really need to move.
At 3am on a Monday morning, I felt that fear creep in as I typed away, until I asked myself:
Why not me?
And I kid you not, the fear slowly faded. My energy levels kicked up. My focus cleared and I felt a renewed sense of purpose.
Years have gone by with me wringing my hands, worrying myself to death over not accomplishing the course that I thought my life would take by the time I hit 30. I built up expectations of what my life should look like and when things didn’t go according to that plan, I very meticulously broke myself down until all I had left was fear and self-doubt.
The truth I’ve come to accept is that there is no “plan”, no one-size-fits-all approach to life that applies to everyone. We’ve created a status quo to follow, and kill ourselves to fit that mold. Creativity is stifled in favor of a life that we don’t want to live, and yet we don’t stop to consider what we actually want because we’re so afraid of going off that beaten track.
Each of us has a gift to contribute to this world that you alone can bring. There are realities that ground us, but by ignoring your inner voice, or worse, giving it a regular smackdown so that you can continue living unhappily, is unacceptable.
I’ve asked myself this question almost daily and each time I find myself pushing a little bit further past the walls I’d built so long ago to get closer to my passion and truth. I’m working harder than ever to accomplish goals and more importantly, I’m taking better care of how I talk about myself.
Instead of beating myself down, I’m choosing to lift myself up, to be grateful and forgiving, to be curious and determined, to be accepting of my fears but balanced in my approach. Some days are harder then others, but I’m investing the time to improve my relationship with myself and that’s worth the effort.
Ask yourself this question each time you experience fear: Why not me?
How do you talk about yourself?
Why do you think we follow a status quo?
What was your answer when you asked, ‘why not me’?
What are you grateful for?