We're not talking fear of heights and spiders.
We are talking the really scary stuff...
Jen is terrified.
She woke up at 3am with a little voice saying to her "You're fat Jen. Ugly. No-one is interested
in you. You are boring. That's why you won't get that promotion. That's why you're lonely. That's why you're worthless."
She tries to throw it off and get back to sleep.
But she can hear the truth in it.
She knows she is fat.
She is definitely boring.
And she certainly doesn't have any friends.
Her eyes pop open.
She stares at the ceiling through the darkness at the stark reality of her waking nightmare.
She has lived like this for as long as she can remember.
Endless days of the same routine doing a job she hates, to pay for a house she hates, full of things she hates (but she tells herself she loves).
She cannot recall the last time she felt joy.
Maybe joy is a lie she ponders, just for movies and Instalies.
'This is absurd' she mutters to herself.
And rolls out of bed.
She had recently started journaling, not in the middle of the night normally, but she was feeling like it was helping.
She flicked it open and started writing...
'I am afraid'.
She closed it again.
She had no idea of what she was afraid of.
She clicked her pen.
Tapped it against the journal.
Click. Tap tap. Click click. Tap tap.
She did know.
But she was so afraid of her fear that she would rather pace the house at 3:09am than be honest with herself.
This is no good.
I have to do this.
I have to.
She reopened her journal.
Clicked her pen and started writing.
'I am afraid...I cannot change. I fear change. I fear the discomfort. I fear the unknown of change. I am frightened of the commitment that change takes and that I might fail. I might push through the discomfort to change and end up exactly where I am right now. What if I try to lose weight and still feel unattractive. Or worse, what if I feel really attractive. No one pays me any attention just now. I think maybe that's just how I like it. That way I don't have to try, and if I don't try I can't fail. No one can reject me if I don't let them get close. I honestly doubt I would enjoy the promotion. It would be a lot more responsibility and people would have to do what I say, seems to me that that is more trouble than it's worth.'
The words vomited out of her onto the page.
A long flowing river of negative coated word vomit.
All her fears and the justification of them.
Put her pen down and starred at the negative river of fear that had just flowed out of her.
The truth of her inner demons confronting her.
So much negative language.
Did she really feel those things?
What did Jen do?
The 3am journaling set Jen off on a journey of facing up to her fears and taking action.
She sought out professional help.
Googling for a personal trainer.
A life coach.
And a new job!
It all terrified her.
But she knew that she had to stop doubting her self and step into her fears if she wanted to change.
Her life was pretty awful, so she reasoned, how much worse off could she really be?
At least it would liven things up!
She searched out new entertainment via podcasts and self help books.
She started meditating.
She stopped wasting her emotional energy on stupid TV shows and the carefully curated 'News'.
She realised it ALL mattered.
She practiced replacing negative habitual language with positive language.
She bought clothes that made her feel amazing, things that didn't make her invisible.
She found she loved lifting weights.
Being strong made her feel something new.
She quickly found that it was no single thing that made the difference.
It was all the things.
And once she started making changes and reaping the benefit, she couldn't stop.
She turned down the promotion because she wanted to follow her passion of cooking.
She started providing home made, healthy, protein rich meals to a local gym and its members.
Her life changed beyond all recognition.
And she only woke at 3am now to mull over her gratitude for having such a great life.
In order to change, first you have to admit that you need to change.
Then you have to acknowledge you can change.
Then you take action.