Most people think about their emotions in a very simple way. Things that make them feel good they embrace, while things that make them not feel good they avoid. This recipe will lead you towards fleeting short-term pleasure, but it will not lead you towards happiness and fulfillment. In order to reach fulfillment we must fight, struggle, and overcome uncomfortable challenges internally and externally. You should actually seek out things that scare you and make you nervous.
The Things That Make You Nervous
The reason you feel nervous or fearful is because: 1.) whatever that thing is, it is important to you, it’s a big deal to you, which means in order to find fulfillment you must do the thing you’re afraid of, and; 2.) your subconscious is holding on to past trauma where you disowned a part of yourself in order to appease the tribe (parents, friends, teachers, etc.), and every time you try to do something similar to your trauma you will be emotionally triggered.
When something triggers you – when you become filled with nervousness, paralyzed with fear, and you feel uncomfortable – whatever that thing is, it’s something that has traumatized you at some point in the past. It could literally be anything, it’s unique to you. It could be approaching a person you find attractive, going on a date, public speaking, being put on the spot, dancing, being vulnerable, freely and openly expressing yourself, and many other things.
As little kids, when we receive disapproval we take it as literally being a matter of life or death. When your parents yelled at you for being too loud, your parents were disowning that part of you, and you perceive it as “without your parents you would die,” without the approval of the tribe, your teacher, your friends, etc. you would die. So instead you strive to be a certain way that will receive approval and you disown that part of you that received disapproval.
Fast forward to today, you will have trouble calling upon the parts of you that have been disowned. Maybe that’s the loud and obnoxious you, the romantic you, the courageous and action-taking you, the vulnerable and emotional you, or whatever else.
What You MUST Do
Use your fear and nervousness as a compass. Move towards what makes you uncomfortable. As you repeatedly face your fears you will become skilled at taking action in the face of fear and overcoming your emotional obstacles. You will also become desensitized to those feelings of fear and anxiety.
The second thing you must do is to dive deep into your past trauma, understand how it affected you, gain clarity into who you want to be, and then from a place of self-acceptance and love let go of whatever it is you’re holding on to. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”