Then when you’ve found the bottom, a sparkle makes you look up. And you see there are stars in the sky.
When I quit my job, all I knew was that quitting was the right thing to do. I didn’t have a plan. After quitting, I took month vacation for some R&R and self-introspection and when I got back, Fear met me at the door.
It told me that I made a mistake. Fear held me down, insisting that I didn’t know what I was doing. He would glare at me, silently disappointed. She made me feel small, panicked, drowned.
For months Fear yelled at me about money. They said, “Stop spending so much!” “Save more or you won’t have anything left.” “Hold onto what you have, because where are you going to get more?” She measured my worth based on how much I had in the bank. He told me that all my money would disappear faster than I could imagine and that I would need to go back and make more. Fear insisted that if I wasn’t making any money, I wasn’t doing enough. And when you don’t do enough to deserve love, you won’t be loved.
In my bedroom in the middle of the day, Fear would ask, “Who are you now?” If you don’t know, then you must be nothing. People that are nothing, are worthless, failures, specs of dust. When Fear yelled at me, it felt like the end of everything. Some days I cried. In the kitchen, Fear would yell at me. Sometimes I would ignore them and eat. Sometimes I wouldn’t. Often, I wandered aimlessly – in my mind and in life, only finding more emptiness in between.
“What now?” was always the question. “What do I do? How do I find my way? Who can I ask?”
Each day was a struggle to rise above Fear. She was always there with me. He never left my side. Most of the time I chose to talk to them because it was the best life I knew. They were there from the beginning. Everything I wanted was blocked (had always been) by Fear: the new job, the fulfilling career, the self-worth, and the self-love.
I spent at least 6 weeks paralyzed by Fear. I stayed in bed and cried a lot. Eventually I would get out of bed and try to be productive, but often I would panic and look for jobs in the career I left. I applied to so many jobs that were nothing like what I wanted, just to ease Fear. I got angry at Fear for always telling me I should have known better. The worse it got, the more Unworthiness showed up to tell me I couldn’t handle this.
But I did handle it. Exercise kept me grounded – yoga, biking, rock climbing, hiking. My friends encouraged me and supported me. Don was always telling me that I was making the right decision. I spent a lot of time listening to both Fear and my support. The battle inside is the hardest one.
The book that changed my life was The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Brené taught me that I was worthy. She insisted that I dig deep to unearth the roots of my unworthiness, and I found that everything boiled down to my inability to love myself.
Then I looked up and saw the milky way.