So, I invited the “paper tiger” into my life this past weekend while driving home from Indianapolis. I’ve always had an extreme fear of being between two semis while on the highway…hell, who wouldn’t. Because of this, I usually avoid that situation like a diabolical dictator with a vial of anthrax. I wanted to feel it this time. I wanted to feel the fear and know that I could navigate through the situation if it ever showed up unexpectedly. Right there in front of me was Pandora’s Box ripe for the opening: Two semis on either side of me. It menaced for a few seconds, as I contemplated my strategy for getting through the ominous tunnel the moving metal created. “Just go for it, Kellie,” I said to myself loud enough to conquer the Pink song on the radio.
Seconds seemed like minutes during my self-test. I stayed in the center of my lane and hoped they did the same. Then the “thoughts” came. Oh, shit! What if they swerve? What if they don’t see me? What if I sneeze? What if…? What if…?
OK…SCREEEEEECH…STOP THE MIND REEL!
I wanted to see and understand what this type of fear does to me and how I react while in it. I suddenly and so emphatically got the “aha” moment I sought! Fear is a paper tiger that we feed with equally transparent and lifeless scraps of paper. So, instead of being really super cautious and slowing down, I sped up and moved past the metal death trap faster. Hmmmm…another epiphanic point poked my ass. We want to move through pain, fear, and discomfort faster even if it doesn’t seem the smartest thing to do. Occasionally, however, intelligence and Wisdom have a need to separate during times of threat. “If I drive faster, I will be clear faster.” Seemed like wisdom to me… Hey, at least I didn’t close my eyes.Fear is a paper tiger that we feed with equally transparent and lifeless scraps of paper. Click To Tweet
As soon as got past the semis, I started to recite all the reasons I will continually make it through tough and scary situations.
I am resourceful.
I am smart.
I am strong.
I am excellent.
I am creative.
Wow, that felt so much better than reciting the “What ifs” from before. The thing is, we have to encourage ourselves to move past the fear and doubt before it chokes the living shit out of us. And if we find ourselves in difficult or uncomfortable situations, we can use our resources (skills, wisdom, savvy) to move out of them safely (fast or slowly, depending on the acute need) and with our heads held high.We have to encourage ourselves to move past the fear and doubt before it chokes the living shit out of us. Click To Tweet
Just so you know, I didn’t do this little extremely dangerous experiment just for the hell of it. It had purpose. Sometimes we have to feel the fear to understand it. I get it now. We are human and fragile, but we are also intensely more capable than we think we are most of the time. Those changes you want to make in your life…you know, the ones that feel like nooses around your neck or a spider crawling up your leg? Paper tigers, my friend. Just paper tigers.
STOP FEEDING THEM PAPER EXCUSES!
All those avoided “situations” are the very ones that change you, that make you see who you really are and what you are made of. They build you up not tear you down. Those paper tigers want to be ripped to shreds and thrown up into the air like celebratory confetti. Change that you are ready for will happen fast. Just warning you…it can feel like a bullet train. I’ve experienced this lately. If you are just stepping into this zone and need some time to acclimate, then take it. Your time will come if you keep purposely driving between the semis of your life. Oh, and BTW, don’t Google the phrase “between 2 semis.” And don’t go and really drive between two semis unless that situation presents itself to you and you don’t have a choice. Mine sort of showed up at the right time for me to overcome my fear. I don’t have to worry about it anymore. My extreme was a lesson for me. Your lessons are your own.
What “scary” situations have you experienced that ended up being catalysts for the life change you needed and wanted? Please do tell…