If we are truly honest with ourselves, we would realise the lowest common denominator (apologies for the math ref) of all our decisions, is based in fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of failure. Fear of physical pain. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of death. Fear of being judged. Fear of lonelines. Fear of not being loved. Fear of loss.
Hands up if you feel like you can relate to any of those fears? I’m right there with you. Having moxie doesn’t mean you don’t fear anything. Fear is part of being human. We’re emotional beings. We do what we can to gain pleasure and avoid pain but fear can also hold us back from living our lives.
We all have our “baggage” to deal with; our deep and bottomless Mary Poppin’s carpet bag of complex insecurities, doubts, frustrations and disappointments, all stemming from fear. And it’s holding us down. But fear is really just a protection mechanism for our lives and our feelings. We like to stay safe and warm and cosy in our evade comforters and matching elude mittens, because the alternative is too scary.
We avoid what we fear at all costs. We take the safe route. We give up on our dreams. We convince ourselves that it’s not for people like us, you know…happiness and life fulfilment and what not. That we don’t have the skills or talent and we don’t deserve what we want anyway. Why try when you’re just going to fail, right?
Or we say we’ll do it later, knowing full well that that day will never come. Instead we work hard on blending in to the background like wallflowers. And subsequently are left to wonder ‘what if..’ What if I wrote that book I’ve always wanted to write? What if I started my own event planning business? What if I took a chance on the love of my life? What if I never get another chance? We end up ultimately living with regret.
Fear creates a cage that we live in, never going too far from our comfort zone. It’s only when we step out of our comfort zone, that we truly grow. And if we’re not growing, then we’re basically just dying, or waiting to.
Where does fear come from anyway? How many of your fears are actually implanted in you from your parents, teachers, your religion or partner?
When we’re told as children that we’re bad, that we never do anything right or that we’re a disappointment or worse, a mistake, we sometimes take that with us to adulthood. Especially if we remember hearing it a lot or strongly connect emotionally with a particular event or situation. We’re impressionable as kids. We trust the adults in our lives. Sometimes they fail us.
Verbal and mental abuse are the younger twin brothers of mind control and brainwashing i.e. we’re talking serious torture and interrogation techniques, you guys. They get away with a lot more because they often fly under the radar. If you’re the victim of an abusive spouse or partner, it’s actually never about you. It’s more a fear of their insecurities that you’ll leave them. They feel they have to make you weak and submissive so they have power and control over you. No one should have to live like that.
Sometimes, it’s our own minds that work against us. How many of your fears are embedded in you from the media? The person afraid of flying might be afraid of being trapped in a confined space, unable to escape or they might just fear the plane crashing. The person afraid of sharks may have a fear of being ripped to shreds. The news and movies contribute a lot to these fears, so thanks to them, you don’t need to be a former victim of a plane crash or a shark attack to have said phobias.
But get this, there are actual phobias associated with the fear of the colour yellow (Xanthophobia), fear of falling asleep (Somniphobia), fear of losing mobile phone coverage (Nomophobia) and fear of bellybuttons (Omphalophobia). We may look at these and think WTF, but there are enough people out there that believe in these fears, that there are even official names for them.
Can we then believe everything our mind really tells us?
When we stop believing in our fears, then we stop giving them power. We take our power back.
This realisation, over time, will give you permission to overcome them. You can always reprogram your mind and set yourself free. And don’t believe that you ‘can’t’ do something just because you never have or that you’re “not that kind of person” or that’s just who you are. That’s you giving in to your limiting beliefs and fears.
When we acknowledge our fears and do things anyway, we find that it is never as bad as we imagined. Our minds are always trying to defend us, keep us safe from danger. It’s the fight of flight response. It’s probably already come up with the worse case scenario. It will convince you that the world is a bad place and that bad things will happen to you if you leave your comfort zone, but in real life…much different.
Think about what good will come out of facing your fears? For instance, if you’re afraid of flying and you faced that fear, think of all the amazing places in the world you could visit and the people you could meet. If you wrote that book you’ve been putting off and it got published and became a huge success, think of all the people your words could help or entertain.
As for me, full admission, I fear what people think. Maybe it’s part of being a perfectionist or feeling like I’m never really good enough. I can get up and move to a new country tomorrow without a second thought, but I fear being judged. I don’t like telling people what I’ve been up to or what my plans are. I don’t like to give away too much ammunition for judgement and gossip. But, here I am… writing a blog, where all my thoughts, hopes and dreams, failures and actions are being splayed across the Internet for any and all to see. *breathes deeply into a paper bag*
This is me facing my fears. Finding my brave.
When we take giant bold leaps of faith in ourselves, we spark off chain reactions for things we could never have imagined possible. We just need more self-belief. When we believe with confidence and resoluteness that I am capable! I am enough! I am amazing! And I sure as hell am worth it!…we find our brave.