Befriending your fears sets you free
Day 47/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: Satisfied.
Figuring out how to allow and befriend my fears was singularly the most important skill I learned when it comes to self-mastery.
If you're not living your dreams, then there's fear lurking in the background somewhere. Don't despair. We all have to wrangle with fear.
If you're serious about creating a better life for yourself, and you're prepared to rediscover and explore your dreams, then you are going to meet with your fears.
Today's challenge is to allow those fears to surface.
I love this quote: "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." J. R. R. Tolkien
Our dragons are our fears.
Well, in my case, it was a different sort of reptile. My nightmares were always about snakes that were chasing me or beneath my feet, and tall buildings that I was going to fall off.
Today if you feel fear as you imaginate those dreams, simply note any fears that surface. Become familiar with them.
It took me a while to figure out where my fears were. What were my fears? How would I recognise them? How did they show up in my life? What could I do about them?
As a person who was fairly risk averse, I had a couple of very creative strategies up my sleeve.
I made sure my life was pretty darn predictable so that I didn't feel fear, and
if something difficult showed up I would make a quick decision that turned out to be my old trick, running.
With these 2 strategies, I never had to experience my fears.
When my fears came too close to the surface, my coping behaviours would activate. Disguised as becoming dissatisfied with my job, my boss, my community, my home, I'd move onto greener pastures. At the first sign of recurring conflict in a relationship I'd check out of it.
It was later when I became really serious about sorting my life out that I realised that each and every time I felt disharmony of any kind, whenever I experienced resistance to anything that was going on in my life, that was a sure sign that there was fear hiding there somewhere. It was this discovery that turned my life around.
We are very adept at adjusting our behaviour so that we don't experience fear. The only really important fear that we need to experience is if our life is in danger. However we've become super sensitive to anything that might single us out as being different.
We've learned that it doesn't pay to not conform, and in this day of social media notifications going off every few seconds, that message is louder than ever. It's a courageous person who will dance to their own tune, yet it is that dance that we must do if we are going to create a meaningful and fulfilling life.
The first step is to allow yourself to experience your fears. Let them surface. It feels as though you are going to die, but a quick reality check will tell you that your nervous system is in overdrive and this situation is probably not going to kill you. Now that you have that straight you can begin a more logical examination of your fear.
If you find yourself making lots of excuses about why you can't do this or that to step towards your dreams, know that this is fear talking.
Managing your fears is an important early step when you are moving towards self-mastery. It's so important that I've included a process in the Towards Self-Mastery workshops as part of my mentoring programme.
Remember that your fears are not going to kill you. It just feels like they are, because when your nervous system is activated with fear, it's going to make you feel like running, or fighting, or freezing on the spot. You may even find that you become desensitised and can't hear, think, or feel anything. That was my particular modus operandi.
Learn to recognise the signs of your fear response, and learn to talk it down. Tell yourself it's going to be ok, allow your body to go through it's paces and breathe deeply and slowly to support yourself until your nervous system has calmed down. Get support and professional help if it's too much for you until you get better at knowing your unique signs.
Get to know your fears really well. You'll discover that they are just old stories that you've been telling yourself and that they really are no longer relevant to your life here and now.
Those fears lose their power as you become more familiar with them. Anything that your body is capable of doing, your mind is capable of working with. And that includes your fears, and your fear reactions.
Once you get good at working with your fears you are opening the door of that prison and setting yourself free.
You are welcome to get in touch if you need help.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.