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On Fear...

It has been way harder than I thought to write this blog post about fear. I hope it can help you, or at least you find it interesting.

Let's start with why I want to write it. I saw this quote "be scared and do it anyway". It made me think of all the times people have asked me if I was scared when I was thinking of doing a particular thing in my life. The most recent and biggest example is when I was deciding to move to Tulum, Mexico permanently by myself. I had already lived here temporarily and then visited a bunch of times. I had bought land and now was going to build a house. Included in this plan was to quit my good but difficult job (RN in an emergency department), rent my apartment in Vancouver permanently, sell all my things, leave my amazing friends and support network and all of the other 'security' that my life definitely had and leave for the unknown. I had spent time here, had friends-not my friends of 10-20 years- but a circle, I did not know what I was going to do for work, or how anything was going to turn out. But in my head I just had to do it. Does that mean I was not scared?

Seeing that quote, and wanting to write this blog really got me to reflect and analyze that question for myself. "Aren't you scared?"

Interestingly the same people who asked me that question, were many of the same people who said..."I wish I could do that". To which I usually responded, why can't you?

Let's talk about comfort zones for a second.

Comfort Zone:

a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control.

Ever notice that when we say or hear 'comfort zone', it generally isn't something positive? There is a reason for that.

A comfort zone does not typically describe a life in which you are challenging yourself, growing, learning, or feel satisfaction, purpose, connection or happiness. It defines a life with a manageable level of fear, or none. Other definitions include that comfort zones have low levels of stress (as opposed to moderate or high levels). But this low level of stress is chronic, with people knowing that they are not satisfied or that something is missing, but feel comfortable enough to not want to trade that comfort and low stress, with discomfort and fear, even if the former is permanent and the latter could be temporary.

(I'm going to plug another great book here. When the body says no: the cost of hidden stress by Dr. Gabor Mate.) {you can look at or buy it here}

I moved to Tulum in September 2017. In May 2017 I came to visit and to be here when they broke ground for my house. A friend of mine who I had met through a friend a year and half earlier came to Tulum to visit me from where he lives in the next state over. In that visit our relationship changed and we became a couple. In the summer before I moved he came to Vancouver to visit for six weeks. When he saw my life with his own eyes, and being Mexican had a way better idea of how different it would be when I moved he literally asked me if I was crazy. "Why do you want to leave all this and move to Mexico, are you crazy?". At that time all I said was that I do not deny that I have a good life here, but I also know if I stay here my life will stay like this...and I drew a long straight line in the air with my hand. By the end of his six week visit, he completely understood why I would want to leave, and at least try something else.

I had a very, very comfortable life, but the fact was that was not enough for me. There were things that were missing, and even more important, the possibility of 'different' was missing. I had a friend who moved to Vancouver from France and absolutely loved it but always felt like there was something missing and couldn't put his finger on it. One day he said he had figured it out. He said that life here (Vancouver) is beautiful...but it is just so predictable. That really rung true for me. He had experienced life in both ways and so knew how both felt I, on the other hand just had a feeling in my gut of some random emptiness.

I saw another quote "everything you want is on the other side of fear". As much as I love this quote and do believe it to be true, I feel differently about this specific situation. I was scared of my move. But, I have never been a person who has let my fear control me. As I was growing up I don't remember my parents ever using fear or danger as a reason for me not to do something, they would just tell me if I could or couldn't and if they gave me a reason it was not fear mongering. So, I did not learn to use fear as a part of my rational in decision making. I imagine that is a huge part of this. But staying, as good as my life was, and living the same life, with all the safety and security in the world, was way more scary to me. That is what I understand now, after reflecting.

I am not saying that you have move countries to challenge your comfort zone. I think that anyone who has true life satisfaction is never in a comfort zone very long and instead are constantly doing small or big things to move out of it. As soon as they feel that they are in one, they push themselves out of it and on to the next awesome thing. This could include learning something new, finding a new hobby, trying things you have not done before, facing a fear, having a tough but important conversation with someone, working on things you do not like about yourself, volunteering, finding a new job that you love, or taking a class or lessons in something. Anything out of your norm that challenges you and that could enrich your life, and keeps you moving forward is a step out of your comfort zone and everything starts with a step. Here is a fun, light 30 day challenge to get you used to doing something different everyday. I am going to do it too!

I wonder what people would have said to me if my answer was, 'yes I am scared, but staying here and living this life forever scares me way more'. It was a chronic fear that I wasn't even aware of, that lead me into three depressions. I am quite certain I will not have another depression, but at the very least I have eliminated my fear around it, by changing my mentality. How I did that, depression, and what you can do about it will be the topic of a future blog post (soon). In the meantime I will leave you with this gem...

Be well and all the best from Sinergia Wellness, and remember... be scared and do it anyway!

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