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Crossing Thresholds

Posted May 22 2009 11:55pm

Southern Spain

Just a few words today about change, newness, and the unknown. We tend to fear it. We tend to think that because we are changing to something different (job, challenge, city, country, relationship, environment of any kind), or doing something new, or going to some type of unknown element in our lives as opposed to what we have done to this point, we will have difficulty with it or even fail. The new aspect can even be something such as changing a behavior, exchanging one way of doing something for another, because we have come to recognize that it is better (for example, when people learn to set boundaries (see also Do Your Relationship Boundaries Contribute to Your Well-Being? ). So when they do this, people are generally fearful at the beginning of putting this new behavior into practice, because even though they see its great value for their own psychological health (and that of any of their relationships), actually doing what it takes to have healthy boundaries can be daunting when one has not been doing it.

But the real point of today’s post is to discuss the fear.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of the untried. Fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone (see also Leaving Your Comfort Zone: Fear of Emotional Expression.

What exactly does this fear tell us?

First of all, welcome it. Recognize that it is the hallmark of growth to come. Fear of this type signals that as you cross a new threshold into a new arena, you will be learning something that will move your process of growth up a notch.

Secondly, recognize that you have been in this place many times before, with all the other things you have done or lived through for the first time in your life in the past, and now you are totally at ease and comfortable with them. You passed over the threshold when you did whatever it was for the first time, and now you are in a totally new place. But since you are already comfortable with whatever it was that once caused your fear, you no longer view it as something threatening and fearful. Use that "success" experience (the Germans call it Erfolgserlebniss ) to help you cross the new threshold. Use the knowledge that what was once so far outside your comfort zone, has now become your new comfort zone. Recognize that the fear you feel indicates that you are in the process of expanding this comfort zone once again, and that this will bring about new growth.
In other words: fear that is felt before starting something new could in fact be a good sign, because it means you are on the road of growth again. Your life and your world are expanding, and you are vital and vibrant and alive in this process. In such a case, fear could be defined as your friend.
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