Not the f*cking Important
When I had my travel phobia, one of my biggest fears was that people around me would be judging how anxious I looked and wondering “what on earth was wrong with him?” I would sit there being terrorised by various thoughts and feelings and wondering why I had bothered to even try travelling again.
“What if I was sick in front of them?” This was accompanied by a wonderful interactive movie involving losing control and vomiting everywhere with faces of disgust and horror.
The end result, only really travelling if necessary and having some very uptight rules to use as a crutch when I had to.
This is known as the “spotlight effect” where my brain tricks me into believing that I am being noticed much more than I am. It’s a brilliant trick using the freeze, fight or flight response which kept me in a comfort zone. Travel after all is a luxury and and not really needed for my survival and the more I avoided travel the more I reduced my quality of life.
One of the best ways I snapped out of this hypnotic trance was to remind myself of this;
“I am not that f*cking important!”
The reality is quite simple, no matter what I want to believe the people around me no matter where I am are simply not interested in judging, criticising or focusing or me. Even if someone did for a brief moment, I am going to be forgotten soon enough as most people are entertaining their own stories for their own lives.
By uttering that strong and colourful phrase, I start to laugh at my self importance and work on reversing my anxiety so I can feel calm, relaxed and not the centre of attention.
Here are some common ways our minds use the “too important,” trick by singling you out:
It can increase the chances that out of millions of aeroplane flights today, yours is the special one going to crash.
When going to a show, you are going to be the poor soul out of hundreds of people pulled up on stage and made a fool of.
Everyone else can mistakes, but you cannot.
Why is everyone else so confident and relaxed? Why are you the paranoid one?
Everyone else is ok, living a good life, you are the unlucky one.
Every cough or ache is cancer of course.
If a door, gas or electric switch isn’t checked in some form of ritual then doom is certain
Clients often put in their feedback emails that this phrase makes them not only laugh but works perfectly in changing their state of minds and then their behaviour. That might also have something to do with the glittery crown I often produce to emphasise the being overly “important” role trying to take over as it gets a few eyebrows raised and giggles!
Why be held back by a trick of the mind? Life can be tough enough as it is without quality of life being reduced to the whim of an anxiety injury.
As for my travel phobia, it’s gone, mostly reduced by not caring what people around me are thinking as they never that interested in the first place.