How would our day change if we could instantly turn oﬀ unwanted feelings? Feelings of stress, frustration, fear, irritation, or overwhelm. Our days would be bliss. No matter how terrible we felt, we’d bounce out of bed in the morning. We could feel peaceful while also being contributing members of society. I apologise for leading you on, as I haven’t found this superpower yet, but I’m working towards it, and I’ll share my journey with you.
For years I looked in a lot of the wrong places to turn these unwanted feelings oﬀ. I was a weekend binge drinker. It worked initially but progressively got worse to the point I needed to change. The anxiety and depression that followed a weekend binge became so strong that no self-development book, gym session, meditation session or doctor’s prescription could fix it. I decided to stop drinking alcohol for good. It was either to stop completely or continue using up my nine lives.
My choice to finally stop came at the beginning of 2020, right before COVID. At the time, it was the most diﬃcult decision I had ever made. I finally had to ‘sit’ with these unwanted feelings without my crutch. Up to that point, all of the self-awareness work I had done was only education with some mid-week practice. I wasn’t fully living by it, given my weekend escapades. So I accelerated my journey of self-exploration, ready to face all of my ‘stuﬀ’.
The drinking started in my teens to try to fit in. I was funnier, chattier and more confident when drinking (at least in my head). I wasn’t any of these things, and progressively over the years, I became more annoying and arrogant. My self-imposed drink limit was almost always ignored. Blackouts were frequent. I’d then try and put the pieces back together the following week while maintaining a senior leadership position at a global corporation. In hindsight, stopping was the easiest decision I had ever made.
So here’s the solution; LOVE.
There was a day I would have thrown this article in the bin after reading that as a solution. I’m an Irish man, after all, and we weren’t encouraged to speak openly about it. It still feels taboo to me, but it’s true. Love is the opposite of fear. The solution was to consciously practice working my way over from fear to love.
Today’s world is full of self-development tools, tips, techniques and quotes, but it’s all just instructions on how to love ourselves, others, nature, the planet and the universe. It is to trust and practice being present. It is to let go of the ego.
Working from a place of fear to acquire money, stature, likability and fancy things is not the answer. The evidence has been crystal clear in my experience. Occasionally my ego wants to come in and tell me otherwise, but I’m better now at shutting it down.
My journey of self-exploration will never stop, and I’m OK with that. The reward of working bravely through fear is worth it. I’m a better husband, son, brother, friend and coach. I trust I will die at peace knowing I chose the right path.