The end of the year is often a time of looking back. What was great about the past year? What didn’t work so well? We often find ourselves performing a sort of audit on the past year so we can get a sense of closure prior to moving forward into the New Year. Last week’s post, “Top 10 Posts of 2010” resulted from my reviewing all of the posts I had made to “The Healing Project” in 2010 and determining which ones represented my best work.
I conducted a similar audit on my life as a whole and came up with 15 serious personal and professional wins for the year (including regular blogging!), as well as three key areas of my life which didn’t go as well as I would have liked. This audit created a firm foundation for my 2011 planning and I highly recommend that you do something similar.
The start of a new year is generally a time when we look forward instead of backwards. Many people set goals for the coming year, which are commonly referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions.” While such resolutions get a bad rap from many people (often because they are typically broken within a few short weeks), I am a fan of designating areas to work on in one’s life. In fact, this blog resulted from my wanting to change various areas of my life during 2010.
“Fears are merely thoughts, and thoughts can be released.” – Louise L. Hay
The quote above begins Chapter 4 of the “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book,” the chapter which focuses on fearful emotions. Although I have been diligently working through all of the exercises in this book, I have decided to only post on those that are most impactful to me and which I feel will be most relevant to my readers. In this post, I share some of the exercises and my responses from Chapter 4, as well as some insights for you to use in your own journey to facing and overcoming fear.
The Price of Fear
Fear impacts all of us. We let fear stop us from pursuing our dreams, speaking our minds, sharing our love, and fully living our lives. We experience fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of the future, fear of intimacy, and even fear of success. Some of us literally become paralyzed by our fears.
We all have a voice inside of our heads which tries to tell us what to do, how to act, and who to be. Sometimes this voice is productive, such as when it moves us out of inertia and into action. The voice can also help us to do the right thing, even when the right thing is not the easiest or fastest thing to do. That is the positive side of the voice…
The Dark Side of Our Inner Voice
However, the voice can also be counterproductive or even destructive. It can be so ubiquitous in its presence that we are unable to experience even a moment of peace. It can relentlessly order us to be productive in each and every moment, to always put the needs and wants of others above our own needs, and to prove our worthiness through action many times each day. The dark side of the voice is where “should” often resides. Have you ever heard the expression, to “should” on yourself? The mental imagery evoked is apropos in that this application of should is akin to showering ourselves with garbage (or worse…).
I am a long-time fan of the reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” I’ve watched all but one of its nine seasons and I frequently find myself in tears as I watch this truly inspiring show. Last night, as I watched the penultimate episode of the ninth season, I was moved to write about my appreciation for this show I’ve come to love.
The four remaining contestants all went home for a month, where they trained to run a marathon while continuing to focus on losing weight to vie for the title of “The Biggest Loser” (and the accompanying quarter million dollar prize). Two of the contestants were still close to a hundred pounds overweight when they left the Biggest Loser Ranch. Yet, they all returned and finished the marathon! The final two marathon finishers ran across the finish line hand in hand, and I bawled like a baby while watching this touching moment.
Last week, I wrote the post “Overspending,” about a recent shopping trip that resulted in my spending too much money and feeling that I had acted in a compulsive manner. Although there were important lessons inherent in that individual experience, it also raised the issue of compulsive behavior in general. This post is geared toward examining compulsive behavior, getting to the root of why we engage in such destructive actions, and looking at what we can do to begin to turn it around.
Compulsiveness Takes Many Forms…
I shared about my shopping and spending issues, but these are far from the only forms of compulsive behaviors with which I’ve struggled. I’ve also engaged in compulsive overeating, dieting, and exercising, and spending too much time working or surfing the internet, among other things. You may have grappled with similar issues, or you may have had problems with drinking, drugs, gambling, sex, or any number of other maladaptive behaviors. It doesn’t matter which of these behaviors has plagued you, the problem is usually rooted in the same causes.