Friday, October 10, 2008

From Economic Fear to Happiness

You may have heard me say, “Be happy and do what you want.” But what if you’re not happy? What if you’re really scared?

The level of economic fear and worry I hear reminds me of one of my very first clients.

Robert was out of work. And he was scared. Walking into a job interview paralyzed him with dread. He began to stammer and sweat his way through the few interviews he forced himself to go. They ended abruptly, putting him out of his misery but leaving him out of a job.

Robert also felt deeply ashamed – of his lack of employment and of his fear.

We sat across from each other at a battered old drop leaf table in an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As a young single parent I had financial issues of my own, but that wasn’t the point. My job is to find the beliefs that fuel those painful emotions, keep them in place and block happiness and success.

I began to ask Robert questions about his fear. He was afraid he wouldn’t find work, his wife would get tired of him, that she would eventually leave him.
We followed his fear to see where it led – into those dark corners where it’s hard to look.

Robert was afraid he’d end up homeless and alone. When I asked what scared him about that he looked at me like I was crazy.

“Could you still be happy?” I asked. I admit, it took all my nerve to get the question out. It sounded outrageous, even to me.

During the long, long silence that followed, I barely resisted the temptation to butt in with soothing words or a positive thought.

Then Robert exploded out of his chair with a yell, “Yes! I could!” He danced around my living room shouting gleefully, “It could be a relief! I could be happy! I could be happy! I could think, Oh boy! We’re having pea soup at the shelter tonight!”

The next week Robert got a job. And his wife had never even thought about leaving him.

It’s still seems outrageous to ask someone (or myself) what about being homeless, or alone, or even dying frightens them. There is freedom in the answers to those questions though. In that freedom we breathe deeply again and focus on what we want. We give ourselves the best chance to move toward our heart’s desire or attract it to us.

Wishing you freedom from every fear and happy solutions to every challenge!


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