- Someday Lesson: Fear often leads us to create the outcome that we fear the most.
Fear can be an insidious little weed that camouflages itself and then chokes out and kills all the plants in your emotional and mental garden. And just when you think you’ve uprooted it all, you see the garden in a different light and realize that what you thought was a pretty ground cover is actually a noxious weed that’s not letting the real flowers sprout.
- What seems like concern for the feelings of others might really be a fear of confrontation or rejection.
- A fear of failure might disguise itself as a love for planning and list-making.
- Or, the tendency to ask for many opinions or feedback from others might hide a fear of decisions or a lack of confidence.
Caring for others, planning, and soliciting feedback all sound like good things, so how can I call them noxious weeds? Let’s start with the idea that a weed is merely a plant in the wrong place and in too abundant a quantity.
Therefore, yes caring for others is a good thing, but not to the point that you smother what’s growing within you. Same with planning and feedback – great in the place, but they should not block action. If they do, then they are weeds.
Not sure what I mean? Let’s look at an example…
Say you’ve decided you want to start eating in a healthier manner. You have a genera idea that means more fruits and vegetable and fewer fatty and processed foods. However, you don’t feel confident changing your eating habits without knowing some details.
Fair enough. Asking for help is a good thing, definitely.
So you ask your sister what she does (she’s into this kind of thing) and she tells you about this amazing book she just read and shoves a copy into your hands. You read it and the book seems to make sense to you and you think about trying it out but your sister has always been a bit fad-crazy, so you ask a friend who is a gym-nut. She says that the book is total rubbish and that studies have shown it can cause long-term health problems. She tells to throw the book out and gives you a copy of the meal plan she uses.
Great! Here’s something concrete from someone who knows what she’s doing. You’re later telling a colleague about this near miss and saying how excited you are about the new plan. He asks to see the diet and tells you that unless you’re doing an hour and a half a day of heavy workouts, this diet will only pack on the pounds, which is totally not what you wanted. He sends you to a nutrition website run by his favorite magazine.
Now you’re getting depressed. So far you’ve put four different plan(t)s in the soil and haven’t cared for any one of them. The flower you really wanted to grow (a generally healthy diet) is getting strangled by the three other plans you’ve let grow up around the first.
About this time, your annual medical checkup comes around and you go to the doctor who tells you: just eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer fatty and processed foods.
Instead of going to the doctor (the expert) in the first place, you let yourself get distracted by the advice of others who looked at your situation from within their perspective only. Your fear of making a wrong decision led you away from what your intuition told you was the right choice.
Likewise your fear of upsetting someone can lead to actually upsetting them more and your fear of missing a detail in your actions can lead to not acting at all.
In what other situations do you think we plan the weeds of fear?