I heard a man say once that he was so riddled with fear that if he got a hangnail his first thought would be – “OMG, I am going to die homeless and alone.” I can totally relate. I know the hangnail was a little exaggeration but when I am living in fear and not in a center place of heart… I too believe I am going to die, homeless and alone and it will probably be in the near future.
My fear reaction occurs something like this:
I see a friend across the room and I try to catch her eye and smile. I think I caught her eye and she doesn’t smile back at me. Suddenly, the inside my head dialogue goes like this – “Why is she mad at me? What did I do? I haven’t seen her in a month, what could I have possibly done? She doesn’t like me. She probably told people she doesn’t like me. OMG no one here likes me. She made everyone hate me. I totally get it, I hardly like me. I don’t know how I can even hold a job. I bet my boss doesn’t like me. I am probably going to lose my job.” And there you have it folks – I am going to die, homeless and alone.
My favorite part of this sequence is when the event is over and this same friend who didn’t smile at me, suddenly realizes I am at the event across the room and she runs to me to give me a huge hug and says she is so glad to see me. The fear then steps aside and awaits another opportunity for me to pull it back out again. It won’t wait long because in my experience there are plenty of events waiting to be interpreted through my fear.
I know even if a person is mad at me or doesn’t like me and even if an entire room of people don’t like me, I will be OK! I am OK! Sometimes people just don’t like us. People are entitled to like, love and loath who they want to. I just don’t like the discomfort of not being liked so I always tried to fix it. I walk through this fear today by not fixing it. Allowing the other person to have their feelings and learning to sit with the discomfort of not being liked. It sucks at first and it used to give me a stomach ache but with time I promise you it gets better.