How To Survive Existence Fears: Diving Into Uncertainty.
“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” ~ Karl Augustus Menninger
I have arrived at a point in my life where running away from who I am is impossible. The process of big changes is hard. Also, the process of learning and experiencing life and myself through eyes of a newborn is a huge struggle.
My professional path doesn’t make sense to me anymore, and neither do the values which were palmed off on me. I learned to seek safety, prestige, a real job, and to avoid conflicts. Stability is happiness — that is why I was taught that drastic changes only bring troubles into a person’s blindfolded life:
Changes bring uncertainty, uncertainty brings anxieties, anxieties bring unhappiness, and unhappiness sucks. Changes are, therefore, bad.
For me, and I believe for many of us, one of the heaviest struggles in life is having existence and future fears. I went, and am going, through both, and oftentimes I felt or feel unheard and not taken seriously.
I feel like it’s an inconvenient topic because many of us feel unhappy and even stuck, yet still too scared to leap into something new, that probably would make us bigger, more productive and happier. It’s too risky and too scary.
To rearrange a whole life could mean losing everything convenient we’re attached to now. And the thought of something completely unknown terrifies us. Yes, it freezes us. Normally we’re scared of uncertainty, so we pay thousands of euros for insurances, which we never use, and work at jobs we don’t really like for our whole lives.
We often do them because of the fixed salary and the prestige in the societal matrix. In doing so, we pay the price by going against our own desires and talents. We don’t like the harsh truth so much.
It’s even scarier to feel alone in all those fears, especially when we’re emotionally involved in our own anxiety-hell. Other people, even our close friends or family, don’t give us the support we need, because they oftentimes can’t feel through us.
They believe that we’re inventing or dramatizing. Or they are too tired to listen to the same story all over again, on how unhappy we are with our current situation. It’s understandable, that it’s hard to be patient with us. We know that we need to change everything, but don’t know how and where to start.
We can’t blame others because other people have their own fears, struggles and concerns, and their own problems always seem to them much heavier than our problems. So do ours to us.
Also, many people don’t have the courage to question their existence on this planet, so they can’t relate to those who want to express all of the potential, ideas and creativity (which is given to each one of us, by the way). The Beatles sang to us that living with eyes closed is easy. They’re right.
The truth can make us feel lonely and helpless in our own emotional prison, and this is often the reason why the existence and future fears grow and the decision-making process is extended for months, sometimes even years.
The answer for the decision to leap and to change everything or not to leap is normally clear from the very beginning, yet sometimes needs years to make it.
Some would say, “Yeah, then why don’t you just do something else?” Doing something else is one of the most difficult steps. I’m not talking about exchanging one office job for another. I’m not talking about moving to a new city.
I’m talking about diving into a creating process, diving into full uncertainty, being confronted with our power and sometimes powerlessness. I’m talking about building something with our bare hands and ideas. I’m talking about taking full responsibility for our strengths and our lives.
I’m talking about fully expressing our talents and desires without compromising. I’m talking about creating a life where there are no regrets left now. I’m talking about finally facing our own real potential. So my chain rather would look like this:
Unhappiness sucks and it brings anxieties, anxieties bring uncertainty, uncertainty brings changes, and changes always bring about a new opportunity to something much better. Changes are, therefore, awesome.
There’s not much time left until I leave my current, good office job in a well-known company and dive into nothing. During the last few years, I’ve found the strength within myself to see that I’m an artist, a creator, who is slowly dying in the prison of a corporate life, in a prison of social norms and prescriptions of what is normal.
I was writing, cooking, singing, songwriting since I was a child, and instead of enhancing those skills, I was following the societal norms of studying something real in order to have a real job.
Now, without any savings in my pocket and without a clear plan, I made a decision not to follow a corporate carrier anymore, because even if the money and prestige-in-the-society aspects sound inviting, and though I’m used to a certain standard of living, it will never make me happy.
A few days ago, I had a panic attack, because it terrifies me what my future will look like after my last salary. Even if I seem cool on the surface by making such a difficult and courageous decision for a big change, I’m scared as fuck.
I’m scared, because I’m not sure where I go, because I’m going alone, because it might not work out, because maybe nobody needs my voice or my recipes, because maybe I’ve lost my mind and all my ideas are crap.
I doubt everything, and at times I just want to run back to the application processes and interviews in order to have the safe normal job.
If we have to make courageous and difficult decisions, life will throw tough lessons and discouraging people at us to test us. All we can do is to stay strong, and I found it’s easier to survive if we…
- always keep our vision in mind (our Why)
- only listen to the advice and comments of those who live the life we want to live. They will never discourage or question even our craziest dreams which don’t make any sense. Those who are content and confident with their own inner and outer lives will encourage and support as much as they can. These are our guardian angels who will always find uplifting words if we feel stuck.
- always remind ourselves of our greatness and power. Yes, we are strong, beautiful, powerful, enough and whole already. I’m wearing a bracelet as a symbol to remind myself of who I am. It’s a small thing, but it has a huge effect.
- always keep doing what we’re doing, even if we’re taking baby steps. 30 minutes a day makes about 10950 minutes a year, which is 182.5 hours. Trust me, in 182 hours you can achieve a damn lot! And think of 5 years, or 10, or 15… it’s worth it.
- find our tribe, which sees us for who we are and wants us to succeed. They’re not necessarily our friends or family. But if we keep on doing what we love and spreading our thoughts and voices, we eventually attract the right people. I could never imagine how much unconditional help and support I got from powerful people, writers and entrepreneurs, once I set aside my fears to publish my work or to speak openly about who I am and where I want to go. Most people are happy to help, advice or support us. It’s okay to reach out for help — it’s not weakness, but a show of strength by wanting to move to a higher level in life.
- allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel, but always stay positive for the long term.
- support ourselves on our way, and accept all the hurdles which are yet to come.
Nothing can stop us once we make a decision to change our lives. After all, what is the worst that can happen to us? If we fail with our idea, we will learn a lesson and succeed the next time.
The process of changes is the most incredibly interesting process, which shows us our limitless opportunities and enhances our talents, our personal and professional skills, faster than any corporate job ever can. Because we learn from ourselves. Because we’re taking risks and growing.
If we think of all the great people in our world who are making a difference, what did they do? They dared to leap into their potential. So can we. We only need an occasional reminder of who we are. We’re beautiful people with limitless potential and we’re together. We dare to live, to share and to support each other to succeed.
We’re all bound to succeed, if we choose to.
Olga Chirkova was born in St. Petersburg and moved to Germany when she was nine. She believes there is no journey which is more difficult than the journey to your own true nature. It can be hard, painful, confusing, but it’s worth it. It is the most beautiful and honest journey there is. Come with her on the journey on her blog.