Fear is one of those feelings that can and usually does stop us dead in our tracks. In fact, it’s the number one thing that prevents us from doing what we say we’re going to do. How many times have you made the decision to take that next big step only to never take it? Yup, there’s fear showing up again.
I often read very compelling and informative articles about how horrible fear is and how we should get rid of it. I completely agree that fear is a very uncomfortable feeling to have and unless it’s there to let me know I’m about to face some imminent danger to my body I don’t know that I want it hanging around. I take a slightly different approach and in fact don’t believe you should try and get rid of fear. In fact, I think it’s impossible to get rid of all fear from your life and doing so will not only be futile but will be a complete waste of time. First of all, fear is responsible for anger, anxiety, worry, guilt, shame, and resentment. While those are generally not feelings I like to keep around, I can’t imagine how realistic it is to expect you or I could or would ever void ourselves of all those feelings.
Fear is not the problem. The response to fear is.
Feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are. But we judge them to be good or bad and as a result we respond to them. Fear is a feeling that we associate very negatively with and it’s one of those feelings that can overcome our entire body. Often times we have physical sensations in our bodies as a result of feeling fear. This can be very paralyzing and as a result we often times avoid any activity associated with that feeling.
What if I told you there were 3 things you could do, not to get rid of fear, but to free yourself from its grip? After all, you probably wouldn’t mind feeling fear every now and then if you were still able to live your life’s dreams, right? Well, I’m confident if you follow these 3 essential rules you can live your fullest life and still have your fear!
Rule #1: I am. I feel. I am not what I feel.
You are many things my friend but you are not an emotion. You have emotions. In fact, you are the Producer, Creator, and Director of your feelings. If you are the source of your feelings then clearly you must be something other than them. The problem is we confuse who we are with how we feel. We feel scared and we become scared. We feel alone and we become lonely. We feel anger and we become violent. We feel sad and we become depressed zombies.
So here’s something new. I want you to affirm you are something other than your feelings. I want you to affirm you are your inherent qualities. These qualities are never changing, you were born with them, and they don’t fluctuate depending on your mood. Some of those qualities include lovable, precious, strong, magnificent, intelligent, beautiful, and creative. You get to be all these things all of the time. This is who you are. But you are not your feelings, you HAVE feelings. See the difference? Therefore, you get to be strong and feel scared. Therefore, you get to be intelligent and creative and feel scared.
The only way you’re going to “find yourSELF” is by separating how you feel from who you are. This is a very challenging thing as we’ve been taught to self identify with our feelings. In fact, most of our language supports this. I am angry, I am sad, I am upset, I am frustrated are all ways we affirm who we are. The problem is we are not our feelings but when you place those feeling words after your “I am” statement you’re essentially affirming that’s the case.
Today, I’m going to invite you to HAVE your feelings AND acknowledge you are not them. The best and easiest way to do this is with Rule #2.
Rule #2: Hello Fear!
This is actually a fun rule to put into play and works with all your feelings. I’m hoping by now you’re seeing how we confuse who we are with how we feel. You should also be realizing how doing that sets us up for failure every time the feeling of fear shows up. Implementing Rule #2 allows us to further separate who we are with how we feel. Doing so will free you up to live the life you want. I Promise!
Calling out our feelings (yes, out loud) is not only funny as heck but it really works in helping to pull you apart from your feelings. The exercise isn’t designed to get you to not feel your feelings. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We only want you to have them and not allow them to have you!
Okay, so the next time you feel scared/worried/anxious/fear, etc. I want you to say out loud, “Hello Fear!”. You can even embellish a bit and say, “Oh Hello Fear, I see you’ve decided to show up again.” Giving yourself this extra bit of distance allows you to remain whole as you are AND still have the feeling. What? No one told you, you could do both? Of course! You can be whole, strong, courageous, smart, and everything you have always been AND feel fear at the same time!
Saying Hello to fear allows you to push just far enough away to remain grounded and centered. Don’t you think you’ll make better decisions (ones that are aligned with your fullest self) if fear wasn’t at the drivers seat?
Rule #3: Take Fear on a Ride!
Now that you have a sense that your feeling of fear is floating somewhere outside of your body you have some room to breathe. Notice that the fear is very close but it’s not sitting smack dab inside of you, consuming your entire being. You know that you’re the creator of your fear and that it’s not who you are so you get to decide what to do with it. You get to choose how to respond to the fear.
Ideally you can do this exercise standing up, feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and slightly bent at the hips. Got that? Well if you’re not doing it perfectly then celebrate that too! Woo Hoo! That’s right, you get to do things wrong around here! LOL Okay, so put your hands out in front of you like you’re holding an imaginary ball. Now place all that fear into your hands and imagine yourself molding it into a nice ball.
Make sure you’re doing some nice slow and deep breathing while you’re doing this. The ball should be getting smaller as you’re molding it in your hands. Can you feel it getting more compact and tight? It’s probably the size of a small ball now. Okay, so take the ball and put it in your pocket or attach it to your hip. We’re going to honor the fact that you’re feeling fear. We’re not going to make pretend that it’s just going to go away. However, if that does happen that’s great too.
Now, go take that next step you weren’t able to take before. When you make that step look down at your fear. Do you notice something? Notice how it’s smaller than you? Notice how you’re carrying it and not the other way around? Notice how you get to have your fear and still live your fullest you?
These 3 Rules have made an incredible difference in my life. They do take time to incorporate though so don’t give up if after a few tries you find yourself having trouble. Remember, you’ve likely spent your entire life (as I have) under the wing of fear with little room to move. Practicing these 3 rules will slowly (but surely) allow you to pull away enough to take back your power.
Remember, you are many things, and many wonderful things, but one thing you never were nor ever will be is your feeling.
With Gratitude and Appreciation,