Fear of moving forward????

Yesterday Unpickled posted a blog post that made me stop and think. (must learn to link to other blogs).
In it she mentions trying an activity called “Best Possible Self”. The general idea is that you just write down what your future would look like if you realized all your dreams.

My immediate though was Now. My life is just how I would have imagined in a couple of years ago. I am sober. My family life is fun and fulfilling. I like my job and have found a new joy in yoga. I have stopped starving and excessively exercising. I no longer hate myself. In fact, I look in the mirror every morning and tell myself – I love and accept you. And I smile because I really mean it. I feel good in my body and my mind is at peace. I am generally happy and deeply grateful for all I have.

BUT, the idea of looking forward makes me uncomfortable. It feels like it is a criticism of me today. I KNOW that isn’t the point of this exercise. So why do I feel that way????

In trying to figure this out I have had a few thoughts. One being that I am very careful with myself. I try not to put rules or expectations in place that might push me into self destructive behaviours. I still have a lot of fear that those behaviours, that I clung to for so long, are still in there. I struggle with trusting myself enough to do what is best for me. I still feel fragile.

It seems like I am still in the “being” phase, if there is such a thing. I am appreciating today for what it is. And when I have ideas for future plans I am trying to only actually make them if they seem to be supportive of me today. For example, I am going to see Wayne Dyer with some friends in May. This is a chance for some girl time and an opportunity to listen to some inspiring people. A positive plan.

One plan I did not go through with is to go to 12 step yoga training. I want to, and am interested in learning more about this, but I have stepped back from training to do more or to learn more, to allow focus on enjoying what I am doing now. I don’t want to make my life change into a job. Not yet, anyway.

Sigh. I think I am looking for approval to be me. And acceptance that becoming a better me doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me today, just that we always have opportunities to grow. Self awareness is hard.

Stillness and peace.


24 thoughts on “Fear of moving forward????

  1. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for your post. ‘I think I am looking for approval to be me. And acceptance that becoming a better me doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me today.’ Yes… both. :-/ But somehow I’m in the mourning part of it. Hoping to find a way to the part where I’m happy about it. 🙂

    xx, Feeling

  2. I find a tension between staying sober “one day at a time” and actively pursuing some thing or another that is “out there.” If I am too future-focused, I run the risk of crippling anxiety; if I live with blinders on and never look up from my feet, I begin to feel my life has no purpose. I suspect after I have some more time behind me, I will be more confident setting goals further out on the horizon. For now, it is enough that I continue to move forward.

  3. Honestly, if I could reach the “being” phase, as you call it, and be happy with myself in the moment, I think I would be happy with that for the rest of my life.
    One of the darkest and most self-destructive people I have ever known (I wrote about her on my blog once) was literally obsessed with being “better”. She was constantly posting motivational quotes, going to motivational talks and reading motivational books. It has made me very wary of all that stuff. A lot of people make a lot of money out of telling people they need to be better, when perhaps living mindfully and enjoying the moment (in a healthy way) is what we should be aiming for. Just my thoughts on the whole thing.
    I love your description of how your life is now in this post. Keep enjoying it.

    1. You are right. I also read all those books. Had the posters. And perhaps that idea of no pain no gain or if you aren’t doing you are dying just sank in a bit too deep.

      So many of those books played on the fear of being ok.

  4. “Sigh. I think I am looking for approval to be me. And acceptance that becoming a better me doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me today, just that we always have opportunities to grow. Self awareness is hard.”

    I get this.

    Self-awarenes is a gift we have, but it can also feel like it’s heavy at times. I guess on the few times I feel it’s a burden, I think of how much more burdened I would be with all sorts of resentments and fears and all weghing me down and not knowing why I was being a right jerk all the time.

    I struggle with the approval to me too. I think once I get past that, things will open up more for me. But I see nothing wrong with the state of “being”. Now, certainly we have plans to make. Taking it in the day is all well and fine, but the reality is that we have financial goals and plans to make, future engagements to figure out, plan things out for practical terms. So it is certainly possible to do that and still be in the moment, you know? I am not sacrificing today for tomorrow, as long as I am not spending time worrying, for example, about that thing in the future.

    Self-acceptance is the key, and that is something I still have to get through as well. But we are getting there, and examining this fear in more detail will shed lots of light – often my fear of moving forward is a fear of my authentic self. Fear of success. What will I BE if i am not these other things?

    anyway, great post. I can relate. Clearly…lol.


  5. Hi Anne,

    Here is the beauty in the exercise I proposed – it isn’t really a matter of what you need to change, but what does it look like to keep being you as time passes? Hold all the core values you’ve developed and see them played out against the aging of our faces and bodies, our relationships with our children as they become adults, the winding down of our careers. The strengths you have developed as a sober woman who accepts herself and treats her body with respect are characteristics that serve you well in both the short term and long term – this is at the heart of the exercise.

    My “future Jean” is a woman who moves thoughtfully through the world and fully engages in what’s before her at any moment. She isn’t checking her emails while babysitting the grandchildren, she is on the floor with them rolling out home made playdough. Future Jean skis into her 80s, meditates, volunteers at the hospital, and can afford to travel once or twice a year, although her favourite adventures are close-to-home camping trips in the old VW with the grandkids. She has natural wrinkles and great hair. Her style is current yet age-appropriate. She is trustworthy, respected, and well-informed. She is not a burden to others; she is strong and independent and a pleasure to have around.

    That woman I just described, I am on the right path to be her as I age. When I was drinking, I had the same aspirations for myself but knew that getting drunk every night was not leading me there. My vision reminds me to stay active so I am healthy enough to live the life I envision. It reminds me to plan my finances so I can afford to travel. It reminds me that I don’t need a tummy tuck not matter how much I wish my stomach was perfect. It reminds me to stay sober so that I can be a wise and admirable matriarch, not some sour sad old drunk.

    The goal is not to redirect you away from all you are, but to clarify what’s on track. You are wise to push against ideas of perfectionism and future-tripping – those are not the purpose of this exercise. The question, really, is whether you are heading in the direction you want to go. I think your answer is “yes”.

    1. Holy shit!! Thank you so much for that. My fear of criticism immediately blinded me to this option. Looking ahead to see how I can continue to be happy, fulfilled and content while life changes arounds me!!

      I don’t have to change. I just have to realize how my views and choices inter relate to the world around me. The options might change – I may suddenly have more money to quit work and travel to yoga studios around the world. That doesn’t mean I am not being fulfilled with enjoying yoga in my home town.

      Oh my god. You need to write a book. A big weight suddenly lifted off my shoulders.

      That shift in perspective was just what I needed. Suddenly I don’t feel complacent anymore. Instead of trying to pick apart my life I can look at how things fit together.


      Thank you so much for that.


  6. Wow!
    I really like this whole post and comments!
    Anne, I think what you are doing now will be your happy future!

  7. What a great and thought provoking post and comments… love this Anne! And I’m glad you worked through it through the contributions of the blogosphere. Such a great place, isn’t it? And now I’m going to try this exercise as well!

  8. I absolutely LOVE this post and comments. While reading your post I was saying, ‘yes, you are the you that you need to be right now and always…yes!”….and I feel myself entering a part of my life that I can call ‘content’….I can relax in my body and tell myself I’m ok. This is an astonishing and miraculous place to be…a place where anything is possible. This is the place I want to be. Thank you for your post, your insight, your questions, and everyone’s comments here. They help me so much. xoxo

  9. i’m new to this blog thing and also recovery I am 38 days clean and I am encouraged by what I read I’m still trying to figure out how to follow blogs and be patient with me please I am very happy that I have this source

    1. Welcome! 38 days is great. There is tons of good information and support in the blog world and in real life if you look for it.

      Life is so much better sober and free!


  10. Just more of what you have already seen! Allowing the universe to unfold more awareness of the beautiful, present “you” and reaping all of the pleasures and joys of the woman you have become. 🙂 xoxo

    1. I have an idea in my head of a woman wearing free, flowing clothes, flowers in her hair, in a field, smiling and at complete peace with the world. Never questioning, just going with the flow.

      I told my husband that was my image of myself some day and he laughed and laughed. Apparently I still have a ways to go.

    1. Thank you. That is the benefit of being brave and reaching out for help or meeting people in real life. They know you enough to help point you in the right direction.

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