I wake up from deep sleep - alert, wondering what disturbed me. It's the darkest time of the night, the bedroom is in almost pitch darkness. Apart from a slither of moonlight darting in through a gap in the curtains.
The light pitches across my room, casting creepy, threatening shadows that belie their benign causes. I am alert to the slightest noise, vigilant for a repeat of whatever stirred me - and then, there it is again "FUD"…
FUD, aka "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt", can permeate even the most logical, organised and calm minds from time to time. It causes restlessness, loss of sleep & a loss of a sense of humour.
More often than not, it is caused by irrational feelings or thoughts, prompted perhaps by something deep down in the subconscious. It can be due to dread or anticipation of something - even something you're looking forward to can unearth feelings of uncertainty, self-doubt or insecurity.
If it's something that you're not looking forward to - an awkward conversation with a partner, boss, peer - this too can be an underlying cause of FUD.
FUD can also have its root in FOMO - an example of an acronym spawning offspring - 'Did I make the right choice?', 'Should I have said yes/no?' or 'What will I miss out on by not agreeing?'
Even the most confident of us will inevitably experience occasions where they're taken over physically, mentally and emotionally by FUD.
But how many times have I genuinely missed out? I mean really missed out? Irrevocably, irreversibly? Made a life choice that couldn't be rectified with some backtracking and/or eating a slice of humble pie? None, or in the words of Sinatra, too few to mention.
Whenever I've experienced FUD but made my own choice and not succumbed to the pressure of those around me, I've had almost complete, calm satisfaction.
The doubts and fears have almost immediately disappeared by taking sound judgment. It's the metaphorical equivalent of flicking the light switch to dispel those scary shadows lurking in the corners of my room.
It's essential to look at the underlying cause of the FUD and establish if it is internal or external. If the latter and this may sound tough, suck it up as there's nothing you can really do about this.
If your colleagues didn't invite you for drinks after work, or you were passed up for that promotion by your boss, ultimately it was their choice. Yes, perhaps some introspection as to whether there was something you could have done or said better - but don't wallow in self-pity - move on.
If the FUD is coming from an internal place, well, there's probably more that you can do to help yourself.
Breathe - take some deep, slow breaths. Calming yourself, you'll be able to see this is temporary 'This too shall pass'. You'll see that the anxiety passes pretty quickly once you focus on your breath - the FUD dispels soon enough in the cold light of day.