Have you ever felt like fear is holding you back from achieving what it is that you want? Perhaps the fear of being criticised, the fear of not being loved, or even the fear of being too big? I have, and it has held me back from being my best self.
Being in India for these past few months, I have had lots of time to self-reflect and I have been reminded again how it is me and only me (and not my circumstances) that has stopped me from being my best self and achieving what I want to.
About six years ago, during my psychotherapy training, I was doing some work with my mentor on fear and what was holding me back. When he asked me why I hadn’t yet achieved what I wanted to, I came up with every excuse in the book. But the biggest excuse – something that had plagued me my whole life – was my fear of being criticised. Somewhere along the line I had decided that being criticised was extremely dangerous to my well being. Perhaps it was the prospect of not being liked or having no friends in primary school (the same feeling deep in my stomach that I felt as a child would return when I thought about being criticised as an adult). My mentor simply said to me… ‘If you want to be happy and successful in life, you will have to let go of your fear of being criticised. These two aspects of self cannot co-exist’. It was then that I realised that I had a choice: Happiness & Success, or Fear. It was that simple.
It’s all in the letting go
In my years of working on myself and with other women, I have come to understand that to lead a happy and fulfilled life, we have to be Fearless. To become Fearless, we have to let go of five things:
- What other people think of us. We will never please everyone, and it is not worth sacrificing ourselves to accommodate other’s beliefs about who we should be or what we should do.
- Fear of failing. We will all fail in life. Many times. But in truth, there is no such thing as failure – only learning, and learning is inevitable if we are to succeed. Failure is far less intimidating when we view it this way.
- Our status. This is always related to our ego-self and therefore part of what other people think of us. But status isn’t real, it is just perception. So we have to make a choice to let go of this imaginary part of ourselves and re-claim the authentic, fearless part.
- The discomfort of fear. Fear is uncomfortable and we will always unconsciously avoid discomfort if we can. In fact, human beings are primally programmed to avoid pain and seek pleasure. But fear (as emotional pain) is not real, it’s just an emotion and emotions are part of life whether we like it or not. Accept fear as part of life and it no longer controls you.
- Having to project strength. To quote Brene Brown ‘There is no greater courage than in sharing vulnerability’. It is through embracing vulnerability that we let go of fear and become our most powerful, authentic selves.
It is either Fear, or it is Love
As Neale Donald Walsch said…. ‘There are only two emotions – Fear and Love’. This reminds me once again, unequivocally, that it is our state of mind NOT our circumstances that determines the quality of our lives. When we choose consciously to become Fearless, only then can we live up to our true potential.
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Talk again soon
With love, Louise