I rushed into the University library, almost running, hoping he hadn’t seen where I was going. I headed for the most obscure, dusty corner I could find and sank down onto a rickety seat. My heart beat hard as searched the grass outside the window; he’d gone. For a moment I felt relieved, then relief turned to disappointment, heavy and hard. Tears welled up in my eyes.
For weeks I’d been enjoying some extra credit classes I had to take because I got to spend time with a man I liked in the same class. He was funny, gentle and clever and we got on well. After the last class of the year we’d walked across campus talking easily until he asked me if I fancied getting a coffee. My heart leapt, of course I wanted to! Then I heard myself reply “Oh, I’d love to but there’s something I really need to do, I have to go.” He looked almost as disappointed as I felt, as I raced off to hide in the library.
Nearly 20 years later I can’t remember the man’s name or anything about him but I can recall the feelings that churned through me. I was 19 and it wasn’t the first time I noticed myself snapping back into my shell and hiding away from something I wanted. An opportunity was handed to me on a plate and within seconds my overthinking had reached new heights of “What if…?”
What if it was awkward?
What if he went off me after one coffee?
What if it turned into a relationship, my first?
What if he turned out to be a dangerous maniac?
The thoughts had tumbled through me in seconds, creating a sense of danger and dread, and I reacted by running away from what I wanted.
Do you know that feeling?
Sensitive intuitives are skilled at seeing possibilities. Possible options leap up and multiply in our minds, idea after idea, the potential spiralling away and around us. This means that we’re also accidental experts in seeing negative possibilities, playing the terrifying, stop you in your tracks “What if…?” game.
You may have seen it show up in jobs, romantic relationships, projects, qualifications, friendships, in fact any time you wanted something but were so immediately overwhelmed by the possibilities – good and bad – that you ran away and missed out.
How can you break the pattern?
A big part of it is learning to trust in yourself and your abilities. It’s not a quick fix solution; it calls for requires commitment from you to building up your belief in what you’re capable of. You’ve spent a lifetime collecting – and sometimes creating – ‘evidence’ that you’re not smart, strong, committed enough and so on. You can now choose to turn around and use your quick perception, creativity and thoughtful nature to gather new evidence that actually you are smart, strong and committed enough to thrive when an opportunity you’ve been chasing turns around and invites you in. Here are three things that have helped me to grow from afraid to confident:
- Try new things, however small, and tell yourself that you’re the type of person who explores what life has to offer, someone who tries things you’re curious about and who is brave enough to have a go. You are curious and growing.
- List times you’ve overcome challenges. Everyone has had to overcome challenges in life, some secret and hidden from the world, some big and obvious. Write down every time you can remember overcoming some sort of challenge and reflect on what qualities you needed to do this, such as perseverance, compassion, acceptance, organisation etc. This gives you immediate evidence that you’re capable and strong.
- Spend time getting to know yourself through silence and loving inner work, so you can sense when you’re acting on fear. Our days are full of information we’re taking in and information we’re sending out, drowning out your honest inner voice. This is the calm awareness inside that knows when you’re making a decision based on fear and when you’re making it for other reasons. Make regular space for it and it becomes easier to hear when you feel under pressure.
With awareness and practice you’ll come to trust yourself more and that will give you a firm foundation for embracing new opportunities that could help you on your path. They could well still scare you because you’re pushing beyond what you are familiar with, but you’ll have the confidence in yourself to make the most of them.