Living in fear of tomorrow

“I believe I’m going to get sick and when it happens, it can’t be my fault.”

These words tumbled out of me two weeks ago during a session with my coach.

Out came memories of my dad having a heart attack, aged 40, and all his many attempts to quit smoking. Out came the memory of his death, following a car accident and the story of how doctors fought to save him but his heart was too weak and he died on the operating table.

Would he have lived if he’d managed to quit smoking early enough in his life?

The accident cemented in me the understanding that bad things can happen out of the blue. There won’t always be clues. One moment everything will be fine. The next moment, it won’t. Life will have altered forever and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Until that conversation with my coach, I didn’t realise those beliefs were lurking and I didn’t know the fear I was carrying. I didn’t register that my seemingly positive questions about “how good it’s possible to feel” were rooted in fear rather than a positive desire to feel good. My efforts were all about preparing me for the inevitable day when the world came crashing down.

Seen through this lens, it’s much easier to see why my seemingly positive intentions never carried me all the way to the finish line.

Generally, fear causes us to retreat from whatever it is we’re afraid of – so when your goal is also something you’re afraid of, how do you advance towards it? Answer: you don’t.

I’ve been stuck in this pattern for as long as I can remember – moving towards a healthy lifestyle but never fully committing, never feeling the joy and satisfaction that you’d expect to accompany full health.

Now it makes sense.

I’ve been trying to break the patterns in my eating habits when what I really need to break is the belief that my impending illness is inevitable.

Then, and only then, will my healthy choices be about living today instead of living in fear of what awaits me tomorrow.

Is there a pattern you need to break in order to free yourself?

Photo by Benjamin Wedemeyer on Unsplash

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