Day 19: Why are we so afraid to try new things?

As I set out to write my day 19 post, I was wondering why so many of us are afraid of trying new things. So, to set things off, I just googled this very question to see what came up. Psychology Today claimed spot number 1 on google. According to this blog post, studies show that people fear outcomes that are uncertain more than they fear outcomes that they know will be bad. The unknown of a new situation is what we fear. Trying something new can cause us to grow and to change, and change is never easy. I wonder if what we feel when we try something new is the loss of an old self, the pain of transition, and the fear of an unknown, uncertain future. This doesn’t seem to go through our minds at the time, but I personally enjoy the poetic possibility.

Today, I decided to cook up some sweet potatoes on the stove along with cauliflower florets just to have some veggies at hand for meals this week. I was filled with SO many concerns and fears. I think about doing this sample kind of task all of the time, and I overthink it every time, usually abandoning the effort altogether. I have never been super comfortable in the kitchen. When I cook with someone else that fancies themselves a good cook, the experience elicits a lot of negative feelings. In my experience, someone sees how I am cutting a vegetable, holding my hand, or doing something else that a more experienced cook wouldn’t do, and I am shamed. I can honestly blame others for a lot of this. If I am going to burn something, let me burn it! Especially if you aren’t eating it and no one and no structure is going to get hurt in the process! More times than I like to admit, I have let situations that cause me to shrink away from a fuller, bigger, better life. I think many of us have.

Alas, in this case, I did decide to cook up the food I wanted to cook. I was alone, and it was really enjoyable. I loved it in all honesty. If I hadn’t been alone or if I thought someone else might eat it, I might not have done it. How sad is that! The food tasted really good to me, and I felt proud that I made enough food for the week and that it was food that I wanted to eat, regardless of whether someone else wanted to eat it. Sometimes I find it hard to focus on me, as I have mentioned in previous posts.

Lately, though, I have been working hard to prioritize myself and my wants. I don’t answer the phone if I am doing something I care about, and I don’t stop everything I am doing to nurture a relationship that might not do the same for me. I am also on week 6 of a workout program, and I haven’t missed a day! So, I am not perfect at this point, but I am getting better. And my sweet potato magic of this evening is just one more drop in the bucket!

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