People have a habit of projecting their fears onto others. We know this. But recognizing it doesn’t mean we become impervious to people’s projected fears. Being aware is just the first step.
When I decided to quit my job and travel internationally for three months, people’s reactions were to frantically pummel me with unwarranted projected fears. Because I was in a place of uncertainty, I found myself starting to feel insecure, vulnerable, and re-question everything I was doing. I had previously committed to the decision, but after all of the “are you sure” “what if’s” and “but’s,” I started to wonder if I was making a grave mistake. And just like that, I started adopting their fears not only as truths, but as if they were my own. I refer to these fears as IPOF or Insidious Projected Outsider Fears. These are some of the worst types of fears because they are sneaky, often undetectable, and hugely impactful. You’re going to want to read more about IPOF here, because you are probably unknowingly chowing down on it too.
I’ve had a long-standing history of fleeing from any scenario that calls for some type of committed decision despite the perceived magnitude. I dodge, duck, dip, dive and.. dodge so much I received the nickname “Maybe I’ll Show Up Marchesa.” Yet, in recent years, I’ve been working on this aspect of myself by trying to firmly commit. So now, when I do commit to something, I (naturally) waffle back and forth on the decision I’ve committed to least 100 times, until I feel like I’ve simultaneously made the best and worst decision of my life. This pilgrimage was no different. So the last effing thing I need in life is someone else’s fears on top of my own. I’m okay with the waffles but I’ll pass on the drizzle of IPOF.
However, by trusting myself, I ended up sticking to my life-altering committed decision and embarking on my international trip.
It was one of the best, if not the best, decisions I have ever made.
I want to be clear on one thing: The support of my friends and family during the periods of uncertainty and heavy servings of IPOF were invaluable. I’m not sure if I would have had the confidence and self-trust to be able to follow through with those decisions, if it weren’t for the words of encouragement and helpful reminders. They helped rebuild my confidence and remind me of the reasons why I had made the decision to embark on my traveling pilgrimage in the first place.
Regardless of where you fall on the scale of decision neuroticism, (super waffley, some waffles with a side of IPOF, or even no waffles) encouragement and support from trusted sources can be vital in moments of uncertainty and insecurity. Even though it seems like such a small act, the impact is larger than you may realize.
With that being said, I understand that some people may not feel like they have a solid support group around them or may simply need a gentle reminder of things they already know to be true. In any case, I wanted to share some thoughts from my immediate circle that really helped me when I was feeling unsure about the life changing decisions I was about to make. I encourage you to use them in any way you see fit.
We all need a little love and encouragement sometimes, so hopefully this can be that for you.