One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.
~ Henry Ford
Fear is one of the greatest instigators of mental paralysis. The ego mind grips the fear ever-so-tightly and creates an avalanche of stories that can immobilize you. The greater the effort to resist or reject the fear, the longer you are trapped.
My personal relationship with fear has evolved over the years. Shortly after my divorce, I was reading a book about fear and was less than thrilled with the concept that fear is “false evidence appearing real.” I threw the book across the room. I didn’t take too kindly to the idea that what I was feeling was ‘false’. After my little book throwing tantrum, I went to my journal and created a new acronym for fear: Fully Embracing Authentic Reality. This acronym encouraged me to be a little more curious about what was lingering behind the fear that I needed to learn. This was just the start of shifting my relationship with fear. A few more tantrums were still to come…
When the big storms of 2008 rolled through our area and left my basement as a swimming pool, I had a slightly different response to fear. I jumped into action, tackling each ‘next thing’ that came up. This time fear took its grip by me becoming rigid in how I spent my time. I avoided spending money at all costs. (Pun intended…) I became so afraid of not having the financial means to support myself that I restricted myself from little pleasures…a new top…dinner out…going to a movie…and other things like that. In case you’re wondering, it was NOT an enjoyable way to live.
As I was working with my teacher, she suggested I invite fear to the table for tea. In other words, be curious about the fear and get to know it; understand what messages it held. To say that my response was full of irritated aversion is an understatement. The fear was telling me that I was afraid. Any genius could figure that out. And that is why I needed a teacher…
I discovered that I was allowing fear to keep my sense of self very small and powerless.
I was blown away. I had no real sense of the limiting beliefs I held about myself, not to mention the impact it was making on my life. Even as I did a mental rewind of all I had accomplished and challenges I had overcome, I still wrestled with self-confidence and self-esteem. I was utterly speechless when I understood how fear and the ego mind dictated my choices, bringing the sense of feeling powerless.
When I took the time to absorb all of the choices I made that blew my limiting beliefs to pieces, I saw myself in a new light. I cleared away the misinformation and started to open to a different truth about myself. My life reflected this awareness and my career path followed suit.
I am not free of feeling fear, but I am armed with a healthier approach to it. I have come to a point where I recognize what fear feels like in my body. I have learned what my usual response is, which means that I have the ability to make empowered choices rather than falling into something less constructive. I give myself permission to have a little fear pity party and rumble with all of the ‘what if’s’. After that, I take a deep breath and allow my curiosity and passion to guide me. I have a deeper level of trust for what is within me.
I am learning to be in awe of myself.
I no longer avoid acknowledging what I have accomplished or what I have overcome. I give myself the opportunity to be my own best cheerleader. It’s not egocentric or selfish to do this, either. It’s about loving me enough to celebrate who I am and what I am capable of doing. I deserve to see and honor who I am and what I do. So do you.
What has surprised you about yourself?
When was the last time you celebrated an accomplishment?
How well do you know your personal response to fear?
Walking together in light, love, and peace 🙏
When I choose to move through fear,
I surprise myself with what I am capable of doing.