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  • Writer's pictureLouise Carnachan

Breaking Through Fear



In another post I mentioned a bathroom “refresh” project where I had yet to take action—delayed it by years, actually. I didn’t want the disruption or to spend the money. I was overwhelmed by the thousands of options for vanities. And most importantly, I didn’t know where to put the cats’ litterbox…you know, lots of excuses. But when a worn out gasket between the tank and the bowl led to a geyser, my hand was forced and I had to replace the ancient toilet. Within a couple of months, I was ready to admit it was time to make the bathroom a priority. I received help, shopped a lot, found the contractor, steeled myself for the inconveniences and noise, and then the project began.

 

I’m sure you can relate to being pushed into action before you’re ready. Of course, there’s no telling when you’d be ready, but if you stand still, eventually you’ll be nudged. The interesting thing about a dreaded change is that once it’s here and not in the future, a load is lifted off your shoulders. You can stop averting your eyes or mind in an attempt to live in denial. You no longer have to feel crummy each time it’s in your face—or in my case, apologize to every guest who went into that decrepit bathroom. Avoidance sucks an amazing amount of energy.

 

As I’ve thought about what kept me stuck, the bottom line was fear. Everything on my “don’t want” list could have been prefaced with, “I’m afraid of…” Each excuse was another face of anxiety designed to keep me immobile. This project has become a metaphor for my life. What other fears are keeping me from taking action? I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a collection. What are you avoiding with justifications? Are there things you’ve started and then abandoned? Only you know if you need an external push to get going or whether you can make a commitment to yourself and get on with it.

 

You know the basics:

  • Look at examples and decide what you do and don't want to emulate

  • Do your research but don’t substitute endless study for starting the project

  • Chunk it down to manageable action

  • Just start, you can adjust along the way

 

Even baby steps are moving forward, you’re on the journey. After a while there’s noticeable progress and optimism glimmers. You start thinking of other things to tackle because you feel capable and brave. Me, I’m considering the master bath which suddenly feels doable.

 

There’s no assurance that screwing up your courage will lead to problem-free execution. I don’t think there’s been a home improvement project in the history of forever that didn’t include an operatic aria. Thanks to an online product misadventure, I hear the faint strains of an oratorio emanating from the not-quite-completed bathroom…But I have no doubt it will be finished because the momentum is such that it must. And I will be delighted with the results then move onto the next one before I get all twisted up in fear again.

 

How about you, what are you ready to tackle?

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5 Comments


kshawn4
Apr 06

For some reason I kept putting off repainting my bathroom. I would make excuses to my guests, too. I usually get things done right away, but after reading this post I realized I really was fearful that it would be a huge undertaking due to the old plaster. Once I started, it went smoothly and was completed before I knew it. The weight of knowing I had to get it done was wearing on me more than I realized. Baby steps to just get started is a good way for me to think of the next project that has me stuck to get started! Thanks Louise!

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Louise Carnachan
Louise Carnachan
Apr 06
Replying to

I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one! Glad you broke through the fear.

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Roxie Matthews
Roxie Matthews
Feb 22

I'm writing again even if it is darker than I want to put out.

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MaryJean Williams
MaryJean Williams
Feb 21

Oh, I so relate to the bathroom project as an example of, and metaphor for, avoidance, procrastination and fear. The good news, our new bathroom was finished two months ago, and it is divine. Chin up, courage high, and get 'er done. Good luck!

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Louise Carnachan
Louise Carnachan
Apr 06
Replying to

And another one starting at the end of the month...Yes, get 'er done!

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