“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” ~ Guillaume Apolinaire
Do you believe in your ability to fly? More importantly, are you flying? Or are you stuck?
One of the biggest (if not the biggest) reasons for not living your dreams and realizing your potential is fear.
Fear is a basic and primitive emotion. It can be a protective friend alerting us so we can respond to physical danger.
But it can be our biggest nightmare stopping us in our tracks—trapped and unable to take meaningful action towards our desires. This is the type of fear we need to face so we can break the status quo cycle and move in a new direction.
The first step in any change is to accept where we are. In this case, identifying what we’re afraid of. Then doing something about it.
My friend Tess Marshall released a new course about fear. Today I want to share with you some of my thoughts and experiences about fear. I also did an interview with Tess about her new program Take Your Fear and Shove It. I hope you find the information useful.
A holistic view of fear
Personally, I don’t think we need to crush or launch war on fear. What we need is to accept where we are. We need to look within to understand how our fears emerged and how we can move through them.
Here are the main points I want to highlight about fear.
Fear is not necessarily an isolated emotion.
Sometimes fear is just that. We feel scared of something and we don’t know why. When I was a kid I had a paralyzing fear of cats. I can’t tell you why I had this fear.
But most fears are related to other emotions and negative experiences that our mind amplifies to fear.
For example, fear of rejection can stem from an incident (or incidents) when someone said no to you. You might’ve projected that into a blank statement that I’m not good enough. Then found evidence (we find what we’re looking for) of that statement till it became a deep rooted belief.
Also you might’ve developed resentment for the person who said no to you. The resentment is stronger when the person has significant presence in your life like a parent, a sibling, or a friend.
I experienced this when I was around 10 years old. My father said no to me more than a few times. For the longest time I believed that I’m not worthy.
One can say some fears (failure, success, abandonment …etc.) come in a package of emotions and limiting beliefs. It’s important to dig and find out as much as we can about all the emotions and beliefs in the package.
Fear is costly.
As much as our mind tries to justify our fear, we know fair well that we miss out on opportunities of growth because of fear. The cost of opportunities can be financial, physical or social.
But the highest costs are internal: a sense of peace, wellbeing and faith in our own abilities and worth.
Reality is kinder than our imagined fears.
Fear is not subtle. It amplifies a negative outcome to the nth degree. Fear does rob you of believing in your abilities. Fear is like a fire that consumes anything good in your life and emits more insecurities and reasons to be afraid.
But when we step out of fear and face the situation in real life, it usually isn’t as bad as we thought. We manage better than we ever imagined.
To face my fear of cats, my mother got a cat and that was that. I freaked out for a bit, then got used to it—way easier than my fearful thoughts.
Action is the most effective tool to face fears.
You can’t put your fears and abilities to the test until you do something—anything.
My fear of cats was put to test after living with a cat.
Small changes are all you need.
It’s a misconception that when we face fear, we need to force ourselves to take big action steps, jumping into the abyss of the new and unfamiliar.
While it’s possible to take a giant step to handle your fears, you can take small steps and get effective results. I prefer this approach because it doesn’t rattle our protective lizard brain—i.e. less resistance and excuses.
For example to deal with the fear of rejection, I formed new friendships. I asked for help from others and I offered to help others. Is my fear completely gone? No, but I’m getting there, step by step.
How to be bold and shine bright by overcoming your fears
The course Take This Fear and Shove It is quite comprehensive and can be a great resource to deal with your fears, in a gradual step by step process.
It covers a wide range of topics in the following 8 modules.
- Understanding Fear
- Four Methods to Dissolve Fear
- You Are Stronger than Your Fear
- Manage Your Fear
- When Bad Things Happen
- Step Into Your Power
- The Fearless Life
- Living Love in a Culture of Fear
After going through the course material I had the following conversation with Tess.
You write about fearless living on your blog. Offering a detailed course on fear is a natural progression to the evolution of your message. What inspired you to have a platform dedicated to the message of overcoming fear and living boldly?
I think people are more fearful than ever due to our economic times. It’s so easy to fall into negative expectations for our future. If we can work through our fears, we can step up to the plate and offer the world our gifts and talents. That’s a better use of our energy.
The ones who play big and walk boldly into the future are going to be a big part of creating the solutions everyone is looking for. I want to be a part of creating a better way.
What’s the most important aspect of fear that you want to bring to our attention?
That fear is an illusion. We hold back because we want to be safe, but there is no such thing as safety. Who knows what will happen in the next moment, hour, or day? Nobody.
We only have to examine our thoughts, look for the story that we’re telling ourselves. Then we can change our story. We can train our minds to expect the best.
Your course is different from anything I have seen. It goes beyond understanding and dissolving fear. It extends to other areas of human potential and happiness. Why did you add these parts and how do they relate to fear?
Thank you! I think it comes from my work as a therapist and my own personal growth. When we spend our time living in fear, anxiety, and doubt it’s impossible to be happy. When we are coming from a state of love, happiness, and joy it’s impossible to be afraid.
Every moment we make a choice on how we are going to be. And we get it wrong, the beauty of life is that we can choose again, as many times as we want.
I’m far from perfect. Want to hear something funny? Hubs has been proofreading all my guest posts. When I get myself worked up over nonsense he says, “I was just reading about that somewhere—guess where. Then he gives me my own advice back! We’ve really had fun with it!
When you give the people around you permission to hold you accountable in a gentle way it can work wonders for your relationships.
How can living in the present moment dissipate fearful thoughts?
I think it’s very difficult to be fearful in the present moment. Think about how strangers help others in dangerous situations. In the present moment they don’t stand around being afraid. They will jump in freezing water to save a drowning man.
You speak a lot about love and kindness in the course material. You actually describe other emotions as derivatives of either love or fear. How can love help us in dealing with fear and moving past it?
This is an example…When I’m in a state of fear it’s easy for me to get in my adult children’s business. In a fearful state I think I know what’s right for them.
Wrong! At that point I can catch myself and realize I don’t know what’s right for myself half of the time, how can I possibly know what’s right from them? So instead of saying anything, I can stay in my own business in my own backyard! That’s love!
Who is this course for and what do you hope the readers will gain from going through it?
This course is for anyone who is ready to replace fear, rejection, envy etc. with more joy and happiness. We have one precious life. I want to fill mine with fun and wild adventure. Anyone who wants the same would be wise to get this course.
What is the one action that we can take today to move forward and be bolder?
Buy the course Take Your Fear and Shove It! And while you’re working through it don’t forget to breathe.
I’m very grateful to Tess for taking the time to answer my questions. She walks the talk and generously shares her experiences and knowledge.
I hope you feel motivated to face your fears. The most important thing to start with is to do something.
If you are ready to do something about fear and live more boldly, check out Tess Marshall’s new course, Take Your Fear and Shove It!
“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
It’s time for you to dance—your most special and joyous dance—free and unencumbered by fear and doubt.
Photo courtesy of Or Hiltch