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02/16/2014

The Courage To Change: Pushing Through Your Fear

womanwithlocsHow do you feel when you are about to do something new? Do you sometimes feel afraid or frustrated or angry? Does that make you change your mind? Or do you do it anyway?

These feelings are a normal part of making changes or learning something new. Having the courage to change and pushing through that fear is key to your progress.

When my oldest daughter Kailey was younger she took piano lessons. She was really quite good. But whenever she got a new piece to learn she struggled. She got frustrated with herself, started banging on the piano and often ended up throwing the music on the floor saying "I hate this!" A week or so later and she was playing the piece beautifully.

Often as I approach learning something new I am afraid. I do my best to move forward despite this fear. The feeling of fear is a good sign to me. It means I am about to grow and learn. It is what comes before an opening. Just like with my daughter, once I get past the initial step I feel much better. Actually just the act of starting usually brings me relief. 

As I write this post I am feeling that fear now. I am about to embark on a learning adventure. It is something I have needed to do for some time. While I am looking forward to the personal growth that is bound to happen I am also nervous about what the experience will be like. By the time you read this it will be all over.

I am spending 10 days at a silent meditation training. That's 10 days with no talking or interacting with anyone other than listening to the instructor. We are to act as if there is no one else there. Most of the time we will be sitting in meditation. All day. We get up VERY early. We can't read, write, or do much of anything except meditate. My biggest worry is that my back will ache from sitting. I don't do well with sitting unsupported for a long time. In addition, I have never been successful at meditating. Someone once told me meditating made her nervous 🙂  ! While I can't make that statement, mediating has always been a big challenge for me. 

I know I really need this. I have always had a hard time keeping my monkey mind in check. I am always thinking, thinking, thinking. And doing, doing, doing. While this has its benefits and is useful in the right time and place, I need to be able to sit and just be too. To be able to quiet my mind when I need and want to. But still I am apprehensive.

When you are making lifestyle changes, or learning new ways of eating and making meals you may feel the same way. You may be afraid of not being able to handle it. ("That seems so hard!") Or worried about how other folks will react. ("Black folks aren't vegan!") Or you might not know how to do it and are afraid you won't be able to figure it out. ("What is this dehydrator thing?")

The fear, anxiety or uncertainty has paralyzed many and kept them from taking action. They continue to do what they always have done while wishing things could change.

It doesn't have to paralyze you. You can be one of the successful ones. Here are some tips.

Just Do It! 

The first step, getting started is the hardest. Once you get moving you will probably see that it isn't as hard as you thought. Don't agonize about how you will do it, or second guess yourself too much. Don't worry about how it will work.

It is sort of like traveling down a highway at night. Your headlights illuminate the road right in front of you, showing you the way for the next few yards. Beyond that you can't see what is there or which way the road will go. But as you drive on the next section is revealed. Then the next, and the next and the next.

Take that first step and let the rest unfold as it will.

Pat Yourself On The Back 

Celebrate each little success. Each step forward can ease your mind. Keep a daily journal of your journey. Review it every so often and notice how you have progressed. Remember where you started and rejoice in the distance you have come.

As my daughter Kailey worked through playing her new piano piece she would master one section at a time. Her pride and enjoyment of playing would return. Her piano teacher and her father and I would let her know how nice it sounded. Each bit she learned helped to spur her forward to tackle the next one.

Push Through The Hard Parts

Don't beat yourself up over mistakes or failures. Think of them as lessons. This is part of the learning process. Pay attention to what led to the failure and how you can prevent that from happening again. Each lesson gets you closer to success. You understand more about yourself and how to reach your goal.

As I learned to make vegan and raw vegan foods not every meal was a success. Some were pretty awful really. Through that process I learned (and still learn) what flavor combinations work and which ones don't.

Making changes and doing something new is important for moving forward in life. Whether you are changing your diet, exercising more, learning a new skill, or whatever, you can be successful. Don't let fear or frustration hold you back.

Now it's your turn. How do you approach new things and change? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

10 Comments on “The Courage To Change: Pushing Through Your Fear

jonathan thomas
08/29/2014 at 2:50 pm

With obesity in the black community so high. Their is a need for you right now. I’d remember in the 80’s High school 70 % of the ladies look great were in shape. Well not anybody… I think in black community maybe 30%. A total reversal.

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Ama Opare
08/30/2014 at 3:30 pm

Yes, sadly now folks who are a healthy weight look skinny to most people. I am glad that more and more of us are waking up to the fact that the SAD (Standard American Diet) is killing us! It is time for a Food Revolution!

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Vanya
02/25/2014 at 9:38 am

Thank you, Ama! There are so many parts of this post that resonated with me. Fear has proceeded almost every major decision I’ve made over the past few years, and still bubbles up when I’m attempting something new and really want to be successful. Thanks for the tips and reminder that fear doesn’t have to paralyze you. You can feel the fear and do it anyway!

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Ama Opare
02/25/2014 at 1:07 pm

You go Vanya! You have so much potential. I just know if you push through that fear you will go far.

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Tracey
02/21/2014 at 2:51 pm

What do you know about being a pecs triton

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Ama Opare
02/25/2014 at 1:11 pm

Not sure what you are referring to. Pescetarian? Eating no meat other than fish? Dr. Opare recommends Vegan (NO animal products) as the only suitable diet. Especially now many fish and sea food options are contaminated.

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Doris
02/17/2014 at 8:47 pm

I P.U.S. H through changes—- for better or worse I revolve to pray until something happens in the spirit realm.

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Ama Opare
02/18/2014 at 1:32 pm

Yay Doris! And look at all you have accomplished. Often I find that what seemed like for worse at the time turns out the for the better in the end.

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Pierre
02/17/2014 at 12:02 pm

I made the first step about 7 months ago and I feel great, I am so happy that I found this site or it found me. I received an email from the cool vegetarian this morning and from there looked at a video interview with Aris Latham and now you guys-What a BLESSED day.

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Ama Opare
02/17/2014 at 4:40 pm

I am glad you found us Pierre. Welcome to the food revolution!

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