Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Doing 'what we fear and hate to do'

Last week I traveled to England for work. It was my longest flight, with about seven hours in the air between New York and London. I had never been on a larger plane (a 767), and I had never traveled outside of the United States (except for road trips to Canada).

I was nervous before leaving--not only because of the flight, but I would be in a new country. I excused instead of accused myself, recognizing that any person would be anxious in such a situation. Instead of working myself up, I worked the situation out by conducting online research about what to expect when traveling to the UK. I acknowledged that anticipation is often worse than realization.

There were some uncomfortable moments during my travels, but by not allowing my fears to take control I was able to get through the experience--and even enjoy my time there. I endorsed myself for challenging myself and tackling my uncomfortable symptoms.

When nervous people are faced with a new or unexpected event, our usual reaction is to respond that "I can't do that" or "I won't do that." Yet a person in Recovery recognizes that obligations need to come before inclinations--in my case, traveling internationally when I'd prefer not to because I would be uncomfortable. And when we do things that we "fear and hate to do," we can be surprised and delighted about how much we can do, even when we are anxious.