Does your voice of fear have a VIP backstage pass to your everyday thoughts? Join the club.
How is it possible that doubt, hesitation, and worry seemingly interweave themselves in our daily lives even without having a specific trigger?
Sometimes it seems like Ms. Fear (my voice of fear is female- what about you?) is everywhere: distracting us from getting things done, burdening us with worst-case scenario pictures that look all too real, and blurring the love
we deep down yearn to feel toward ourselves.
I’ve been thinking about fear and its trump cards (worry, anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, hesitation, apprehension, distrust) a lot over the last few months. Since graduating from grad school last May, I’ve been working on growing my own coaching business.
Particularly in the beginning, I had what I like to call “internally-rainy” moments where I suddenly discovered an uneasy feeling in my stomach and a quiet voice sharply whispers: What are you doing? Are you sure you won’t fail at this? Perhaps you’d be better off getting a real job that pays you monthly?
Maybe your voice of fear says something like this:
- What if the work you submitted today sucked and your boss still won’t be satisfied? Everyone will think you are stupid and unprofessional.
- Are you sure you can trust that he really likes you? It might just be like it always is and you will be alone after all…
- Do you really want to wear [or say/do] this or will other people judge you as lazy/arrogant /ugly/too sexy/provocative/careless/slow…
Typically, we judge fear as bad and something that needs to be eradicated completely.
It’s impossible to get rid of our fears by force. What we can do is befriend and reframe them.
Think about it: love and hate are not really opposites. They’re neighbors! It’s so much easier to have feelings of hate toward someone you once loved. Your emotional sensors are already heightened towards that person, so if you’re able to hate someone it must mean that that person’s character carries enough charge for you to engage with it in the first place. The real opposite of love is indifference.
In a similar sense, your voice of fear is merely a reminder that you deeply care about something. Fear and engagement are also neighbors.
If you begin to think about your fears in this friendly manner instead of in a hateful enemy-kind-of-way, you will be able to see beyond the surface and discover that:
- You agonize over looking unprofessional at work, because you strive to make intelligent, well-thought through decisions.
- You are afraid of being abandoned in a relationship, because you care about being in a genuinely loving relationship.
- You worry about what people think because you want to make an impression that will set you up for having positive relationships.
In my case, my fear of failure is merely a reminder for how much I want to succeed. Of how much I know I have to offer. Of how much I want to not only have my own business but lead my own passion to a flourishing state with all my enthusiasm, sincerity, and heart engaged.
If I didn’t care about the outcome of my endeavors, I wouldn’t be afraid of failing in the first place.
Reframing my fears like that immediately put me at ease because I was able to meet what was already going on within me with compassion and understanding instead of a harsh scolding front that told me not to do something that I was doing anyway.
Once I created this field of harmony within myself, I was able to let go off fear driven thoughts about what I don’t want and actually refocus on what I DO want. This is a language the universe hears, speaks, and responds to.
What does your voice of fear say? How can you reframe it so that you can get unstuck and move forward as a complete harmonious unit inviting in the positive instead of dreading the negative? Let me know in the comments below.
And pssttt… don’t forget to treat yourself kindly… always.
Published November 19, 2012 at 7:14 AM
About Caroline Zwick
Caroline Zwick is an Authenticity & Goal Setting Coach. Through her own experience of a spinal injury, Caroline developed her unique focus on personal authenticity, which she employs to support her clients in distinguishing their own voice from external expectations. She is the creator of “Find Your Voice & Speak With It Too,” a 10-step program during which she guides her clients through a series of exercises to unveil self-limiting beliefs, identify personal values, and set goals in health, work, love, and play that grow out of the client’s personal authenticity.
Caroline holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she wrote her M.A. Thesis on how women experience emotion –specifically anger, sadness, and joy- in their bodies. Watch her video here .
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