I get lots of emails and some of them strike a cord deeply in my heart. This one did:
Hi Bob, I am a 56 yo woman and will be living in my car soon. I’m scared to death. I have a Toyota and I believe all my things will fit with a little room left for me to sleep. How can I get over this crippling fear? The economy has left me without many resources. Thank you,
This post is my answer to her, but because so many of us find ourselves in her situation, I wanted to share my answer with all of you.
I know it is counter-intuitive, but I believe the best way to overcome fear is by embracing it. Fear is a good and healthy thing, we need it. In fact, you are doing something that appears and feels so extreme, that it is normal and healthy to feel that fear. Fear is a gift to keep us safe and I think it’s best to be grateful for it.
So I suggest you assume that the fear is a loving message from a friendly Universe that wants only the best for you. Instead of seeing it as crippling enemy, see it as a love message sent to keep you safe. Just like the ghosts that came to see Scrooge in the Dickens book, “A Christmas Story,”, these are warnings to tell you what could happen, but they are not written in stone, in fact, their purpose is to give you the chance now to take steps to see the happiest possible outcome to your new way of life.
Just like Scrooge had to make changes after he saw the dreams, you too must do work and cooperate with the fear. Make a list of all the negative things that the fear is telling you about living in the car. But instead of seeing them as a reason not to do it, see them as a loving warning message of things you need to be extra cautious and sure of.Starting with the biggest fear, take a very realistic look at what bad things could happen. But instead of being terrified of it, imagine it happening in your mind and look for all the things you could do to prevent it from happening and for all the ways you could minimize the harm that could come from itSome potential fears:
- Running out of money
- Breaking down
- Being assaulted by a bad person
- Car accident
- Being lonely
- Being embarrassed and ashamed of living in a car
- Feeling like a failure
- Health problems
Now use the full power of your imagination and try to see yourself with each of those things happening to you, and not just once, but often. Go so far as to actually meditate and ponder how it might happen and what will it be like afterward. Then, answer these questions:
- How do you feel when you imagine it? Don’t run away from the feelings, just sit with them.
- How likely is to really happen? Is it a real risk, or an imagined risk? Do research and study to see just how unlikely any of it really is to happen
- What can you do to prevent it from happening? Visualize taking concrete actions on a daily basis to see it never happens!
- If it does happen, how can you prepare for the worst so it does you minimum harm?
Picturing it in your mind should take away it’s power, but more important, it should allow your imagination to find ways to prevent it. Knowing how and why it could happen should give you ideas to take to prevent it.Next, and most important–DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE PARALYZED! Remember, these are love messages from the Universe to prepare you so you can take concrete ACTIONS now, before they happen, to prevent them, and if they still do happen, will do you little harm.
Starting today, make a list of specific things you can do to address each fear. I’m going to throw out some ideas, but don’t feel obligated to them, they are just brainstorming ideas to get your creative juices going:
- Write a budget and stick to it. (Running out of money)
- Start looking for jobs to supplement your income. (Running out of money)
- Be faithful about all preventative maintenance on your car. (Breaking down)
- Build up an emergency fund (Breaking Down and Running Out of Money)
- Get AAA roadside assistance. (Breaking Down)
- Take a Self-defense class (Being Assaulted)
- Carry a Whistle and Bear Spray (Being Assaulted)
- Develop Situational Awareness. (Being Assaulted)
- Follow and develop your gut instinct (Being Assaulted)
Those are just a few ideas I’ve thrown out there for you, but for each fear, there are dozens or hundreds of real steps you can take to minimize your risk. Your job is to start doing intensive research on the best ways to prevent your fears from coming true. But research isn’t enough, you MUST take actions!!! START METHODICALLY DOING THOSE THINGS!!From now on, when the fear assaults you, embrace the fear! Sincerely thank it for such a loving warning! Then go-over the list of things you are doing to take away the risk from living in a car.The way to overcome fear is with Faith and Confidence!
You are going to build up faith and confidence in the concrete actions you are taking to keep you safe!
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