By: Shan White
Fear is a normal human emotion. We all experience it, know what it feels like, and have, at times, been overcome by it. So, you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you.
I remember when my ex-husband left me six years ago and I was frozen in fear. With little notice, he left me with the bills, the house I couldn’t afford, the kids (furry ones, but still my kids), the car, and the new responsibilities of maintaining the home. I was scared out of my mind — I didn’t even know how to change the filter on the furnace or start up the lawnmower; he did all that!
I looked to people at work for empathy and support, but my boss didn’t seem to understand why I struggled. From her point of view, I should simply get over it and get on with life. The disdained look in her eyes said it all. In non-verbal ways, she communicated the message of “Why can’t you get it together?” and “What’s wrong with you?” After all, it had been a few months now and I should just get over it.
In my head, I screamed back at her, “My whole world has fallen apart and I don’t know what to do! How do you just get over it as if you just lost your shoe?”
You see, I was frozen in fear, a debilitating, pervasive, all-encompassing fear. I didn’t know at the time that there is a process in working through and reconditioning the fear I was experiencing. Here’s what helped me, and I hope it will help you:
Start with being silent and going inward. Acknowledge all of the negative emotions you are experiencing. It’s not an easy task, but allow yourself to just sit with them.
Then ask yourself the question, “Why am I experiencing this emotion?” For example, what is it that I am truly afraid of? What is it that keeps me from moving forward and taking action?
2. Re-frame Your Perspective.
Look at the emotion, such as fear, and ask yourself, “What beliefs about myself cause me to be afraid?” Am I not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, or creative enough to deal with this situation?”
And, more importantly, is it true? One of my mentors once asked me this question: “What if you are believing a lie about yourself, and what would it feel like to know longer believe that lie?”
Rehearse to yourself affirmations, visualizations, and new emotions that align with a new belief about yourself. Also meditate on future successes like where you will be, what you will be doing, who you will meet. Bring all you senses to the scene — what do you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell?
Release your fears by:
- Creating an action plan of what you will do to move forward.
- Creating a contingent action plan of what you will do when things don’t go right.
- Commit to your new plan in advance.
As you grow, change, and evolve, revise your plan as needed.
Fear is a normal human emotion that doesn’t need to cripple you and keep you from becoming everything you dream of being and doing. If you are willing to address it, find out what’s behind it and take active action. You can take control over it instead of it taking control of you.
Life doesn’t get better through chance; it gets better through change.
Please share with me by posting in the comment field what has gripped you with fear and what can you do right now to dethrone it?