Ever have a great idea that doesn’t get off the ground? Maybe you’re concerned that the project isn’t fully thought out, or that others may not find it interesting or meaningful, then there’s that nagging feeling that if it doesn’t turn out perfect, negative judgments might occur. Whatever your inner MO, the underlying emotion is fear.
Regardless of how much I may want to do something, if I can’t get past the fear, I’m going nowhere. How do I work with this crippling stalker? Becoming aware of the fear is the first step. Once identified, fear can become an ally. Fear is critical to our survival as a species. Without it, how would we know when our safety is threatened? That makes sense, for cave people. But how can a no-go launch of mine create fear, and what does that have to do with my survival?
Here’s my answer: It is no longer a matter of survival for the self or the species, now days it’s about the survival of self-worth. Without this critical component, I can’t show up and live to my full potential – however magnificent it is.
When fear arises, check in and ask yourself what is at risk. You might hear a voice that says “I can’t tolerate failure”, or “I have to be perfect”, or even “it’s not OK to make a mistake”. These thoughts are simply your inner self telling you that you are about to risk being seen (your self-worth is on the line!), and that can be scary. The other key question is “what are the costs of standing still?”
Holding fast to these two questions at once creates an understanding – I’m going to be afraid whichever way I go. Now you’re ready to practice acceptance! If you can do this, stop and offer yourself credit – you’ve earned it. Next breathe deeply and notice what fear feels like. Observe individual sensations like: dark, pressure, tingly, pain, heat, sharp, dull, throbbing, etc.
Ask yourself to go forward, slowly. That first step is often the most challenging. Remind yourself that failures are usually few, and that you have the power to stop at any time. Periodically check in and notice any shifts. After the first few steps I usually notice that my fear has diminished and in it’s place is joy that nourishes, and helps me reclaim my self-worth. Now, I feel like a million bucks! And I may say to myself, “What was all the fuss about?”