Why You Always Trust Your Gut to Overcome Fear
I am a huge proponent of always trusting your gut. Right up until your gut steers you in the wrong direction.
One brief conversation and it’s pretty obvious how much I love to travel. My face lights up and my demeanor changes the moment I begin recounting my latest travel adventures. Quilt shows and events, all things art and history the world over. I love to share my love of travel with anyone willing to listen.
However, what you may not know is I also suffer from extreme bouts of
depression and anxiety. It’s taken a lot of work and many years of
self-exploration and pushing past fears to get me where I am today. Ironically,
my biggest fears are being judged, sharing my adventures with others, striking up
conversations with strangers on the road and, the big one, speaking (and
teaching) in front of crowds of strangers.
One might say the Universe has been pushing me toward this travel blog my
entire life. My first flight was at 6 months old and I’ve been traveling ever
since. Even as a small child I used to play with colored geometric wooden
blocks and put them together in quilt like patterns. And, I wrote my first
short story in grade school. So, you might say I’ve been destined for this line
of work all along.
Part of my goal for this blog is to inspire other quilters like me out of
their comfort zones. I want to encourage you to actually see the places on your
bucket list and to push past anxiety to live your best life.
In doing that, I’ve wanted to also share the ‘off the beaten path’
adventures and places I tend to stumble upon on my journeys. However, as a
serious travel blogger that entails doing face to face interviews and reaching
out to perfect strangers. Hello big red fear button.
So, after long inner mental and emotional struggle I finally decided to ‘just
do it’ and set up my first big interview at a travel park here in North
Carolina. I was terrified. Even more so after they said yes! The night before
the interview I found myself sitting in my AirBnB with all the anxieties of my
past creeping back in. The same thoughts and worries that kept me crippled for
so many years.
However, this time, instead of giving in to those fears and falling farther
down the rabbit hole, I thought back to a book I read not that long ago by Jen
Sincero called “You are a Badass.” In her Badass series she talks about that
little voice inside that is designed to ‘keep you safe’. It’s like a built-in
warning system that says, ‘hey, I don’t think we should do that’ when trouble
approaches. Except, untamed, that voice can get down right stifling.
Most of my life I’ve let that voice run unchecked. Instead of listening to
the warnings, then using my rationality to make decisions, I simply let that
voice decide for me. And it grew louder. And it grew more destructive. It led
me to a place where I was terrified of my own shadow. I questioned everything
and everyone. My fears were running away with my happiness.
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Finally, one day I decided I couldn’t live like that anymore and that voice
had to be put back in its place. So, I did the work. I read the books. I took a
deep look at what was real and what was just that voice’s unsubstantiated
warnings out of control. You know the saying, ‘Things are never as bad as you
think.’ It’s 100% true. Little by little I faced one fear after another. And
you know what? They were never as bad as I thought! I got through them. I
lived. And I started to grow stronger.
Even today. After all the work I’ve done, all the learning about my own
mind, I now know that the worries and anxiety that voice conjures only proves
that I’m doing the right thing. It’s here reminding me how badly I want this.
By bringing up all the bad thoughts, I know that means once I accomplish my
goals and make it through to the other side, I will be able to appreciate my
success that much more because the warnings showed me the worst.
You see, in life we can’t have the good without the bad. We can’t have the
successes without the fear. One literally defines the other. If we never felt
fear, faced our fears and came out the other side, we would never have the true
appreciation and joy that comes with knowing, “I did it.” When you walk through
the fire, you are met with the dawn. The new you that is one step closer to
true greatness. The you of your dreams. Never stop reaching for that person.
Never stop facing your fears. Never stop listening to your gut. Just make sure
you know what it’s really telling you.
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