Fear of Anticipated Suffering

“It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.” Epictetus

Fear and I have been in relationship for as long as I can remember. A quarter of a century ago I had an experience that unveiled to me just how much Fear had been making the decisions in My life.

This week I had another head to heart epiphany around my old buddy Fear. Unfortunately there aren’t enough words to describe what went down, mainly because it was just a massive head conversation including offshoot thoughts about how I didn’t feel afraid of dying – but I was afraid of being in pain or being permanently impaired.

After MANYMANY twisting turns in that headchat, my head said, as it has so often before, “it’s a mindset, you are ANTICIPATING suffering… suffering that is probably not gonna happen.”  My heart finally got it.

My current BIGGIE Fears include a) one relationship in particular, b) money and c) my canine boys. When I shine the light of mindset on them, though, they are 98% “anticipation of suffering” fears. The K9s are fine, I can cover the bills that are due today, and the relationship isn’t physically hurting me. What IS hurting me is worrying about how I’m going feel or how I’m going to handle either of the K9s dying or getting hurt (neither of which is imminent). What HAS got my guts all topsy turvy is fretting about how I’ll pay next month’s bills (uhhh I’ve covered them for about 30 years). What I AM freaking out about in the relationship is how much I might suffer if I walk away from it.

The thing about the relationship – anticipating the pain of walking away – is that this particular relationship currently feels like it’s causing me quite a bit of real emotional suffering.  Simultaneously, I worry that walking away from this relationship might cause MORE suffering than I already feel.

The big shift this week was What If – What if, just for a moment, I stopped anticipating the pain of walking away from this relationship. What if – What if all this flurry around the possibility of suffering was just that – a possibility. What if – What if any suffering that happens from making a change is LESS than what I anticipate or, even better, LESS than what I’m currently experiencing???? See what I mean – MINDSET. Fear is all mindset. False Evidence Appearing Real.

In the spirit of transparency – I did NOT go right out and:

Set the dogs free in the street (so they could run and be dogs),

Charge up all my credit cards (like I don’t have financial obligations),

End the relationship.

What I did do is

1) begin to notice when I’m making a decision based on my anticipation of suffering,

2) reflect on past decisions, how many were fear based and where I might make different or new choices now, and

3) occasionally contemplate how much more FUN might happen in THIS moment if I stopped worrying about everything and anything that might cause me pain in the future.

It’s a journey.

How’s your journey?

big love and fear free hugs,

Please let me know how I might be of service. My passions include:
plant based nutrition (especially busting the myth of how much protein we really need ;),
TRX (it’s helping me move forward on my American Ninja Warrior dream),
reminding you of your awesomeness (cuz you are, you know),
the undisciplined girl’s guide to successful dog training (you just gotta play with purpose several times every day),
books on CD (my “capped” mebomian glands make it difficult to read paper books these days),
and connecting with optimists and optimist-wannabes.

feel free to email or find me on FB


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