Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit that. In our culture, fear is often seen as a weakness, something we need to overcome. If you’re afraid, you’re not doing something right. You need to suck it up, get tougher, be braver, be smarter, do more.
But yet, I’m still afraid.
I’m afraid to live, I’m afraid to die. I’m afraid to fail, I’m afraid to succeed. I’m afraid to be alone, I’m afraid to love. I’m afraid to stay where I am, but I’m afraid to take the leap to live a more meaningful life.
A few days ago, I had an amazing coaching session with the magical Rachael Maddox. We talked about a lot about how fear has been showing up in my life. I came to the session really wanting to stop my inner critic (a.k.a. my fear) dead in her tracks. I have a long history of allowing my inner critic to make me feel shameful, which has really kept me stuck in the same patterns. During the session, Rachael gently led me to ponder, What if I voluntarily checked in with my inner critic every day? What if I was actively in charge of the relationship, setting boundaries and trying to embrace our time together, rather than always trying to fight her off?
That session really made me stop and think. Obviously, as humans, fear will always be present in our lives. However, rather than looking at it as something we need to overcome, perhaps we could learn to love our fear, embrace it as a part of who we are, and learn how to use that fear to get in touch with our authentic selves.
When we try to resist fear, often what we try to resist continues to persist in our lives. The more we resist and try to suppress fear, the longer we continue to live without truly examining it. Thus, we end up giving fear the wheel to drive and control our lives.
So what if we learned to love our fear? What if we put down the guns and became allies with fear instead of trying to fight it?
What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it. -Jiddu Krishnamurti
Are you ready to embrace your fear?
Feel Your Feelings
“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown
Often we manage our feelings, rather than truly allowing ourselves to simply bw with our emotions. Rather than processing your feelings with your mind, try bringing your attention to the sensations in your body. And then… feel it, but don’t think about it too much. What you feel doesn’t need supporting evidence. It just is – let it be.
Learn to Work with Your Inner Critic
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Instead of trying to fight your inner critic, allow it to share what he or she has to say. Often there is wisdom in their words. However, learn to set boundaries with your inner critic. Don’t allow judgment and shaming talk. Instead, thank your inner critic for trying to protect you, but reassure her that you’ve got it all under control.
Be Willing to Be Vulnerable
Jennifer Kass describes the act of becoming vulnerable, perfectly. In her article, “How Highly Sensitive People Can Learn to Be Vulnerbale,” she states:
There’s a misconception that being vulnerable causes pain, but it’s in our vulnerability that we are safe and powerful beyond measure. When we stand in a space of love, we are self-approved, self-accepted, and nothing can harm us. We see through the fear-based illusions of not feeling worthy or good enough. It’s only when we close our hearts and put up protective barriers that we are at the mercy of everyone and everything around us —from this place we become victims of our circumstances and give away our power by letting external things and other people control how we feel.
If you would like some support learning how to embrace fear and work with your inner critic, ponder this question, make notes and send what comes up and comment below with your answer to the question:
What would my life look like if I embraced my fear?