Facing Uncertainty, Depression and Fear with Intention
One of the toughest things to bring into being is action while facing uncertainty. The ability to do so defines much of what we call discipline. For some, it appears to come quite naturally while others struggle greatly. A few appear unfazed and uncaring about what they could or couldn’t do and ignore their own possibility. Some fret and wring their hands as they feel duty-bound to action the whole while fearing failure when already leaps and bounds ahead of the curve. Still, others calmly undertake challenge with steadfastness regardless of the terrain. Action is what brings potential into being and it defines and shapes our life in the form of adventure and the values expressed through behavior. Only through action can we give life meaning and find purpose in our existence. Think about it: someone takes up running in hopes of completing a marathon; a painting is started on fresh canvas hoping a worthy painting will emerge; a young high school graduate pursues college in hopes of a diploma; you start preparing dinner from the loose assortment of ingredients. The list is endless because any endeavor worth its salt involves uncertainty as part of the journey and requires meeting this uncertainty head-on. So, if action and discipline are so valuable, why is it so difficult sometimes?
Depression and anxiety can significantly lead to the avoidance of putting ourselves in motion. They are close cousins and speak hopeless messages about our abilities and future. They make any attempt seem worthless in the face of challenge and they speak detrimental messages to sparks of passion. Soon, these voices and well-rehearsed beliefs become well-worn paths in the brain traveled by default and each time we take the trip the path becomes more entrenched. You cannot have a thought without a feeling and these negative beliefs are consequently paired with feelings such as hopelessness, doubt, insecurity, overwhelm, and more. What follows is avoidance of discovering our potential within challenge and avoidance of pursuit due to fear of failure of or the felt futility of initiation. Consequently, a strong feedback loop is created moving people further away from life and potential.
As a therapist, it’s important to explore what in a person’s past may be leading to habitual self-denigrating beliefs and fear of setting foot on unexplored ground. It’s also important to explore what thoughts and feelings are becoming part of the above feedback loop so they can be quickly identified and challenged by the client. But, equally important is to have a behavioral plan of action every day towards a client chosen goal. The plan must be manageable and the roadblocks to success must be identified in the form of negative and irrational thoughts, counterproductive feelings and any logistical and concrete hurdles that must be cleared. Then, you can break down the task into daily and identifiable steps and assess performance daily and compare yourself to where you were the day before. And, what clients start to notice is they feel better, more confident, more able, more motivated and more alive. This action, in turn, starts to shape the person into not just who they could be but who they are becoming which is an expression of who they are. Dreams become who you are and are becoming instead of who you wish you could be.
I’d love the chance to help support you acquiring the tools to move through life with more purpose and meaning. Feel free to contact me today or schedule an appointment! I’m located in San Diego.