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The Big Build-Up

I've known for at least the last ten years that I would eventually need cataract surgery… so I've had a lot of time to build up fear around it… When my doctor told me I couldn't wait any longer, she referred me to a specialist at the Ivey Eye Clinic, one of the best in the world from my research…. but I found good reason to postpone the appointment several times, bought myself more than six months this way – and six more months to build on my anxiety levels… still, I forced myself to keep going, I really wanted to see clearly again… and then finally the day came… even with meds, I didn't get much sleep that night and by the time we were on the way to the hospital, I was in a full-blown panic attack. But then, there I was, sitting in the surgical waiting room with a number of other people… everyone was very friendly and so I began to relax a little. Then my name was called, my turn for prep… again everyone was so kind and caring – and efficient – that I was able to relax enough for them to do their job… in the end, although there was some discomfort at a couple of points in the process, it wasn't nearly as scary as I expected it to be…I had had thoughts of needles in my eyes, stitches and pain… it was nothing like I had imagined…. all that fear through all those years was a waste of time.

Many of us will hold ourselves back in one way or another because we build up so much anxiety around the object of our fears, imagining all kinds of things that "might" happen – so we end up freezing in place, unable to move forward. "I can't" stops us from so many opportunities. But I can't is just another way of saying I'm afraid to try….

By the same token, we can build up a lot of excitement and energy around something wonderful, whether it's a concert, a first date or a wedding, a movie or a vacation…. and also end up being disappointed – we build our expectations so high, that there is little hope for a realistic – and happy – outcome….

Apprehension ends up having the same effect as excited anticipation.

Because I am a genetic worrier, (runs in the family), I have had to learn some ways to manage the anxiety to keep from driving myself crazy… here are a few tips I have learned for keeping your balance when things get scary – or wonderfully exciting:

  • Breathe deeply and slowly, give yourself time to digest and adjust to the change that you have been presented with.
  • Don't overthink or overanalyze the situation, what if's are a no no… do not allow yourself to dwell on it, rather, consider your options, then set the problem aside once you have some ideas for how you might deal with it. Avoid making any decisions about the situation until you are required to… Take action only when you are comfortable with your choice.
  • Love the situation, imagine yourself surrounded in the pink and green light that is Divine Love and imagine this light infiltrating the entire situation, bringing healing and balance… see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • The less said, the better. Avoid talking about it except with a few close confidantes and some expert advisors. Do your best not to add negative energy to the situation.
  • If you feel attacked, don't waste time responding more than once… make one clear statement to defend yourself then leave it alone…. let it go away by ignoring it, refusing to add energy….

Often, just admitting that you are afraid can release some of the anxiety and attract some assurance. 

Although it may be difficult to avoid the big buildup – certainly there are times when this is part of the fun, as in preparing for a prom or a wedding – the issue is when we are unrealistic about the possibilities and create such a fantastic image of what is coming that we are inevitably disappointed – or frustrated with ourselves for letting our fears hold us back from something that would make a real positive difference in our lives.

Take life in stride, take control of your fears – and thus your power. You can avoid a big let down if you choose not to allow yourself a big build up… even excitement around a happy event is often simply a reflection of your fears that something will go wrong… so stay calm, and don't think or say too much…

More on the Role of Fear in Our Lives

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