Fear…… the feeling of panic and nausea, your heart racing out of control, hot sweaty hands and formless words.
Fear can overtake you at the most inconvenient of times, and it is something that you most likely avoid if at all possible. Yet when was the last time you felt truly alive, the sensation of your body tingling with a sense of new found power and accomplishment? Just think and find it before continuing.
I would imagine that it was right after you did something that you found frightening something that was outside your comfort zone!?
Life just would not be worth living if it wasn’t for a good dose of fear. Think about any novel you have read or movie that you have watched. If it doesn’t have some sort of fear inducing scene one where you want to know what happens would you read or watch it? Of course it is a lot easier to experience the fear of lost love, rejection, failure, death, etc. through a book or movie than it is to live through it and if it gets too much there is always the option to switch off or close the book, yet it is in conquering the feeling of fear that we get to feel truly alive and free. Would you not agree that fear traps you and limits your life?
Now for the science: Fear is actually just another emotion. It is linked to the reptilian part of the brain which triggered activates your flight fight and freeze mechanisms. This means that fear feels incredibly real due to the physical sensations that accompany it. Fear is a very important mechanism to ensure we don’t kill ourselves. If we didn’t fear big scary animals our species would have died out a very long time ago. The challenge is that in our modern society we have learnt so many new fears that we can find ourselves trapped in a life that is blocked by fears we have created. As I mentioned in my first blog HOW WE OPERATE your unconscious mind develops programs to keep us physically safe and it uses emotion to write these programs. So if you once got a fright when someone screamed because there was a spider (or you saw a scary spider movie) you would be telling your unconscious mind that spiders are scary it had better quickly write a program to protect you from spiders. After this each time you see a spider your unconscious mind would trigger your reptilian brain and your fight flight and freeze mechanisms will be activated, and when you respond in a fearful way you are strengthening the program and confirming it and so it goes on. I mentioned that we learn most of our fears.
When we are born we only have 2 fears:
· Fear of falling
· Fear of loud noises
The rest we create. Picture a baby learning to walk can you imagine what would happen if it was scared of failure? It would crawl around forever fearing that if it tried to walk it might fail so never trying. Well thankfully babies don’t know the fear of failure so they don’t mind falling down a few times!! If you weren’t so afraid of failure what would you try and fail at a few times just to you could enjoy doing it for the rest of your life?
It is important for us to realise what fears are real and which ones are in our way. A fear of snakes serves you if you live where there are poisonous snakes yet a fear of rejection will most likely stand in the way of you having fulfilling relationships.
Our top fears are sometimes things we are not even aware we are afraid of. These are ones that have come out again and again with people I have worked with and they can translate into a fear of heights, public speaking etc. In no particular order:
2. Being alone or lonely
5. Being vulnerable
The scary part of this is that we create what we fear. Let me give you an example. One of my greatest fears is of being worthless. So when I first started using Face Book or even writing these blogs I was almost paralysed by the thoughts of what have I got to say that is important. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? Who am I to be saying anything? Now here is the freaky part. If I had listened to my fears and not ever written or spoken about any of these things that I know then wouldn't I have been being worthless?? The same is true of failure. You are so scared that you might fail so you never try and guess what you have just experienced the greatest failure of all, as you have failed before you even started. I have done this with numerous clients and every time they are creating the very thing that they fear the most.
The way to get past this is by following these steps and using courage.
1. Acknowledge what it is that you are afraid of. I would like to do _______________ but _____________. That but is a very good indication that you have a fear.
2. Ask yourself what would your life be like if you listened to your fear? For me that would have meant that I would not have been able to grow my business and share what I love with others. How would this have affected my life? I would have had to give up my company and ended up working in a job that I had no interest in, earning just enough to get by and no more, I would have had to give up on all of my dreams of traveling with my kids in fact I would have had to give up on life. (The more dramatic you can make it the better, and it does have to be realistic to you)
3. What would your life be like if you conquered this fear? So for me again what would my life be like if I conquered the fear of being worthless, I would be free to share what I have learnt, I would be able to trust what I know and my beliefs, people might value what I have to offer. My life would be open to all sorts of opportunities and to me this looks very exciting!!
4. What actions would you take if you did not have this fear? And then list them
5. To commit to taking these actions and give yourself a time line.
You cannot be courageous if you do not feel fearful. So it is your choice to remain trapped or to be courageous and face your fears.
I have also realised that freedom is on the other side of fear. So it is only by passing through your greatest fears that you will finally find your greatest freedom. My greatest fear is of falling yet my greatest dream is to be able to fly. To achieve my dream I need to conquer my fear. Incidentally flying symbolises freedom for me. I recently made my first step in this direction by doing a gorge jump at Victoria Falls with Tristen my eldest son. I don’t know how I managed to get my feet to move to the end of the very gang plank looking jumping platform yet I was determined. Luckily for me the rope had quite a bit of tension so once I was on the end I didn’t really have much choice but to go. My whole body ceased up as I fell and when the rope caught I was so incredibly glad we had done it. It also formed an amazing bond between Tristen and me as well and giving me huge confidence in other areas of my life. I mean what are a few phone calls when you have jumped off a cliff???? Apparently Tristen wants to do a parachute jump for his birthday and he wants me to do it with him so I guess that will be the next step!!!
What I haven’t mentioned and what we will look at another day is that what frightens us more than the negative things are the positive things like success, true love, being truly powerful or being great.
Good luck and just remember to challenge yourself otherwise you might as well curl up and give up.
Love you lots