If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, likely you’ll have noticed all the self-help books I’ve been reading since the start of 2017. I’m intrigued by different people’s value metrics and means of coping with life’s challenges and all the other angsty things I write about here on Anxiety Ink.
My current read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, is a bit out of the box for me but I’m finding it rather compelling. I read an especially relevant sentence today that stuck with me for hours:
“There’s a kind of self-absorption that comes with fear based on irrational certainty.”
The chapter in which this quote is found is all about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the false narratives we inadvertently live by due to our fear of the unknown. For instance, I work as a customer service rep at the day job. Five days a week I haul my butt out of bed and do that job to the best of my ability. Over the years, I’ve let the writing slide further and further back into the hobby category. I’ll admit that I’m a person who suffers from a fear of failure, sometimes to the point that I’m paralyzed to try. I’ve overcome this fear in some ways, not so much in others. Manson’s point is that I’m using that fear of failure as an excuse, I’m absorbed with that tale of myself because it’s easier to stay in the rep position and have a dream then to take that dream by the horns and possibly fail at it.
Yes, the fear is real. My reaction to it needs a reality check. You can’t do anything if you don’t try. I know that. So why do I allow myself to wallow in the fear so consistently?
Because it’s easy.
Yes, the quote I read is kind of a kick to the knees—no one wants to think of themselves as self-absorbed or irrational, those are not complementary adjectives. I would not characterize myself as someone who takes the easy route. I like to be challenged and I like to try new things. That’s my general stance on life. Lately though, with the increased anxiety, I’ve caught myself holding back. Putting myself in situations that normally wouldn’t be an issue have become an issue. I realized this quite awhile ago but shaking off that narrative is difficult. It’s easier to hold back then to step out of my comfort zone.
Am I certain of any outcome of anything? No. So there’s no point in not trying. I’ve been so caught up in my own life story that I’m stuck in a loop. Even my meditation app has a meditation specifically called “Drop the Storyline” to help you acknowledge strong emotions and then move on so you stop feeding into them and become unable to get on with life.
I’ll give myself a break because it’s been very difficult fitting any fiction-writing time into my schedule with the amount of work my courses require. However, there are people out there who are much busier than I am and seem able to write multiple novels a year. We’re all different. I can try better.
Big life changes are easier said than done, but I’m really feeling this topic. Fear has been on my mind a lot lately and it feels like I was meant to read this chapter. I feel inspired. I’m ready to kick that fear of failure to the curb and drop my storyline.
*I quoted page 140 of my HarperOne paperback version published in 2016.