We all have things we want to do in life but fail to take action on. The biggest cause of this procrastination is usually fear, of one type or another.

This week, I had an experience which reminded me that fear is never real, only imagined. Afterall, how could it be real when we are focusing on something which may not happen?

The eye problem

For the past six months, I have had an issue with my left eye which has needed monitoring. We are very lucky in Ireland that we have a fantastic hospital in Dublin, called the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital which specialises in treating eye and ear related issues. This hospital provides the highest level of care for patients from all around the country. 

On Tuesday of this week, I was having my latest check-up at the hospital when my doctor decided that some further action needed to be taken. Over the past 6 months we had been hoping that the issue would improve on its own but that is not happening. She decided that it was time for me to receive some injections to try and resolve the issue. 

I'm a big boy and I have taken my fair share of pain throughout my life. I have had many reasons to have injections throughout the years in various different parts of my body. I have never been one to get worried or stressed about the need to receive an injection. However, this all changed when I realised that I was going to get an injection in my eyeball.

Anticipating the injection

As I queued up outside the injection room and waited for my turn, I was filled with a sense of dread at the thoughts of a needle going into my eye. I'm not ashamed to say that I was a little bit frightened. I am normally very trusting of doctors and so don't tend to worry too much about the possible negative outcomes but on this occasion my mind ran through all the things that could go wrong. 

After approximately half an hour waiting outside the room, it was now my turn. I entered the room and took a seat. As one of the nurses (there were 2) raised the seat I began to lay back realising that there was no turning back now. Before I knew it my eye was being clamped open and anaesthetic drops were being administered to my eye. My eye had been thoroughly cleaned inside and out. 

1 nurse stood in front of me holding a pen to demonstrate where they needed me to look so that the necessary part of my eye was available for injection. As I looked at the pen I could hear a second voice in my ear telling me this is going to sting just a little. Then suddenly I felt a mildly painful little prick in my eye and just as quickly as that happened it was all over.

After the injection

The nurse who was standing beside me administered some antiseptic drops and asked me how I was feeling. I was then given some eye drops to use that night and following morning to ensure that my eye was sterilised and clean following the injection. Then I left the room and went upon my way towards the train station to return back home. 

For about an hour after the injection my eye stung from the antiseptic drops. This was made worse by the fact that I forgot to bring some sunglasses to protect my eyes from exposure to the light and my eyes had been dilated. But other than that there was nothing really painful about the injection.

It was all in my head

What I learn from this experience is that my mind makes potential pain far worse than the real pain. Naturally, I have a little bit of sensitivity about my eyes. I think of them as being far more delicate than other body parts but at the end of the day my eyes are just another body part and it is just as natural to receive an injection in an eye, as it is in an arm, or a leg, or your back etc. 

When I think about everything that was going through my head prior to the injection it reminds me that our worst fears are often a long way removed from reality. By focusing on the fear we make the pain real in the moment. But it's not real. It's pain caused by our thinking about something which might never happen. In that sense it is completely and utterly unnecessary. Our mind which brings so much positive to our lives can also be the source of our greatest pain. 

Tuesday's experience reminded me that you cannot just blindly trust your mind. If the thinking that's going through your mind is causing you pain or to feel bad then you need to question that thinking. You’ll often find that the arguments your mind makes will fall apart with even the slightest challenge.

Putting it into action

Taking a step back, taking a few deep breaths, and examining the thoughts that are going through your mind is a powerful way to ease the pain when you are anticipating what lies ahead.

Why not take some time to identify the things you really want to do but are failing to take action on? Identify the key fear which is holding you back and challenge it. You will soon find that it is all in your head.

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