Wine and the Art of Conquering Fear

Morning chaps :O) I have a question for you. Have you ever been in a situation where you had no idea what the outcome would be but you put the brakes on because the thing that stood between you and your final destination scared the bejeezus out of you? What was at the end of the road could have been amazing or terrible but you never got to find out because you just couldn’t get past your fear?

Morning chaps :O) I have a question for you. Have you ever been in a situation where you had no idea what the outcome would be but you put the brakes on because the thing that stood between you and your final destination scared the bejeezus out of you? What was at the end of the road could have been amazing or terrible but you never got to find out because you just couldn’t get past your fear?

If the answer is yes then can I just take a few minutes of your time to tell you what happened to me last night? My best friend and I had popped over to Nice for a great dinner of savoury crepes with guacamole (yum!) and, as is the norm in summer we’d taken his motorbike (I love speed and am always a willing passenger despite the havoc that a crash helmet plays with your hair when it’s 26 degrees C) . As is my wont I had a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner.

I was expecting to go straight home but we headed off into the mountains and stopped at the edge of a narrow path. Now, I should tell you at this point that common sense is very much the order of the day around here so most of the smaller mountain roads don’t have barriers; the idea is that, if you are sensible, you’ll look where you’re going and won’t fall off!

This is a bit of an issue for me because I do like to have something between me and the edge of a cliff, I’m funny like that! So, there we were, umpty ump hundreds of feet up a mountain, on a little path with no barriers, in the dark with just the light of a phone to guide our steps.

At this point I was on the point of bottling out as I really, really don’t like heights and I knew that a few people would be pretty pissed off if I plunged to my death. However, I had been previously fortified by just enough alcohol to overcome my fears but not so much that I couldn’t safely put one foot in front of the other.

IMG_5705I carried on, stumbling occasionally and wondering what on earth we were doing up here in the middle of the night but then we reached a small platform at the end of the long, windy and slightly treacherous path. Oh My GOD!!!! The View!!! I just cannot tell you how unbelievably beautiful it was (the photos do not do it justice). I literally just gazed with my mouth open and my eyes like saucers.

To top it off, as we stood there, a huge firework display started in the middle of Monaco (some sporting event or another was going on) and we had a birds eye view! It lasted for about 15 minutes and was absolutely spectacular. What an amazing experience!

The moral of this story is that, if I hadn’t overcome my fear of heights, I would have missed all of it. I didn’t know what was at the end of the path and it would have been so easy to just give in to my terror and turn back; I would never have known what I was missing but, oh boy, what I would have missed!

I can’t say that, from now on, I’ll be grabbing each adventure that comes my way without fear or worry but I do know that I won’t be letting fear stop me from having those adventures. Maybe I’ll even get to the point where I’ll be having them without the aid of a glass of vino, who knows ;O)

Please let me know if you’ve ever missed out because of your fears or even just if you like wine (at least we know we’ll have something in common), I’d really love to hear from you

Lisa x

 

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How Many of You are there in there?

I’ve found that the only thing that really works for me is to be aware that, from time to time, a bunch of negative nellies try to work their way into my mind and, when they do I just say these few simple words to myself…….

I realise that I may sound slightly crazy asking this question but have you ever had an argument with yourself? I find myself doing it quite often and am constantly searching for ways to stop. It’s usually when I’m stressed about something; when I’m calm there is only me in my head but when I’m anxious it seems like there’s a whole bunch of other people who want to get in there with me. The worst part of it is that they all tend to speak at the same time and they’re often, without to put to finer point on it, a real pain in the ass! They have nothing positive to say to me and seem to be constantly looking for ways to make my life difficult.

Now before anyone starts looking up numbers for psychologists for me to go an visit, I am perfectly well aware that I reside in my cranium alone but it’s the only way that I can really explain how stress and over-thinking are connected. To give you an example, when I know that I’m going to be meeting new people, I’d really like to be able to be able to show them the ‘real’ me right from the off but my inner dialogue kicks into overdrive:

Me: “Just be yourself”

Cranial interloper 1: “What if they don’t like you”

Cranial interloper 2: “That’s their problem”

Cranial interloper 3: “What’s wrong with me? Why won’t they like me?”

Cranial interloper 4: “There’s nothing wrong with you but they can’t be very nice if they’re going to be all judgy”

Cranial interloper 5: “I don’t think I’m going to like them if they’re going to be like that”

Me: “Shut up the lot of you, they haven’t even opened the bloody door yet!”

HS2599And so it goes on; because the ‘they won’t like me’ scenario has been run through my head like a movie trailer the memory of it (if you will) stays with me and I find myself adjusting my character to try and avoid it becoming a reality. I try to be super pleasant and friendly, probably overly so and often come away from new meetings with a headache and jaw ache from smiling all the time. The problem with over-compensating like this is that:

  1. People I meet for the first time don’t get to see the real me and therefore any judgement they make is based on something other than the genuine article
  2. By trying to connect with them and please them rather than engaging with them on an equal footing, I risk losing any chance of a real friendship with them
  3. It’s very difficult to sustain a ‘faux’ personality for any length of time so, at some point, my real personality will break through and it will be perfectly clear to the other person that the relationship they thought they were building was, in fact, just an illusion.
  4. I’m well aware of what I’m doing and why and so my confidence takes a bashing from the cranial interlopers who gave me the problem in the first place.

In love in parisUnfortunately this is the way that the human mind works. It attaches emotion to past experiences and then uses the memory and the emotion attached to it to prepare us for future, similar situations. When the system works well we ‘look forward’ to things. Maybe you fell in love in Paris and walked hand in hand past the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur feeling nothing but happiness and complete contentment. If so, when you think about going back to Paris those feelings and happy memories will resurface and you will look forward to any future trips with great anticipation.

However, if the next time you go, your flight is delayed, your luggage is lost and it rains every day, it is likely that the negative feelings that have become associated with Paris could start to erode your earlier wonderful memories. If you arrange a third trip your mind will have two sets of memories to choose from and, it’s at that point that you will probably start to stress out and your cranial interlopers will start bickering:

“Just remember how wonderful it was the first time!”

“Yes but look what happened last time, it was awful”

“I know but it could be like the first time this time”

“But what if it rains again?”

And so on and so forth.

lost luggageThis means that the wonderful memory and mental images have been a little tainted. So, before you’ve even booked your flights you’re wondering what you can do to make this trip better than the last and that’s if you’re a positive sort of person! If you’re negative you’ll probably throw your Paris snow globe in the trash and forget about ever going there again.

In my quest to rid myself of the cranial interlopers I’ve have tried untold number of different things; thinking positive didn’t work, at least not by itself. You can tell yourself that Paris will be sunny and warm and romantic as much as you like but if, when you get there, it’s chucking it down and the hotel have no record of your booking, the disappointment will be twice as bad than if you had resigned yourself to the trip being a disaster. It’s better to be positive when you’re actually in the situation: I’ve lost my luggage so that means I can go shopping – that sort of thing.

No, I’ve found that the only thing that really works for me is to be aware that, from time to time, a bunch of negative nellies try to work their way into my mind and, when they do I just say these few simple words to myself…….

“SHUT THE F*** UP!”

It seems to work pretty well ;O)