Tell me, darling. What are you afraid of?
For many people the obvious answers would be spiders, snakes and dark alleys. Let’s face it: these are things that we can avoid in most cases. In fact, we often make jokes about these types of fears because we see them as common amongst the human race.
Want to know another reason we can talk about these kinds of fears? They are forces from outside of us.
But there are other fears: the fear of failure or success; the fear of being judged, embarrassed or rejected; the fear of intimacy or commitment.
These are the deeper fears. The ones that come from within us. The ones that we feel are ours alone and that no one else would get, because they are so deep and personal. The ones we rarely, if ever, talk about.
My dear, I want to tell you something that might surprise you: you are not alone in your fears.
Did you know that we are born with only two fears? A fear of falling. And a fear of loud noises.
All other fears are learned by association and identification. For some of us, both outer and inner fears are born at an early age due to some childhood trauma or experience. As we age, we often can’t pinpoint when we first became afraid of spiders or failure.
I know that this one single blog post is not going to assuage all your fears or make them disappear in an instant the way a light bulb can chase away the monsters in our closets. I do know that discussing fears in the open is more beneficial than keeping secrets. That acknowledging your fears can help you stop flagellating yourself.
I wanted to share with you the four reasons I wrote this today.
1. To assure you that you are not alone.
Every person travels a different journey in life. Even siblings, though brought up similarly, will still experience differences. We are unique. However, there are similarities in life experiences. When I began to understand that my experiences and traumas and fears had a thread of similarity with others, it made me feel and understand that I was not alone in the world. The understanding that, even in pain, we are all connected, is comforting. The example that others have risen above fears and shame gives hope.
2. To encourage you to get help.
When I began working with a coach, I finally began to fall in love with myself. Seeking help led me to acknowledging not just my fears, but the shame around them. When a fear is named, it’s a little less scary. Seeking help led me to healing some areas of my life. It also taught me that I couldn’t fix everything, which led me to the lesson that I can integrate my past into my present.
Coaches also have this ability to allow you to feel, often for the first time, that no matter what you say or what you’ve done, you won’t be judged. And better yet? A good coach will not only support you, but push you a little so that you begin living your life instead of watching it pass you by. By the way, a good coach will be honest with you if your needs are beyond her skill matters and refer you to a therapist – or happily work in conjunction with one.
So, invest in yourself and hire a coach.
3. To suggest that you invest in a support structure.
In past generations, we grew up surrounded by our extended families and childhood playmates. In many cases, today’s society is different and our support system is often more anemic than we desire. Yet research in the power of change, the power of habits, and health show that people – especially women – need a support society. Investing in – and building camaraderie with others that you can trust will keep you motivated when your well is dry. A support society will also give you a shoulder to cry on with the loving kick in the pants to move forward.
4. To help you build your courage muscles.
No, you cannot make your fears vanish with the wave of a magic wand. But, darling, you can build your courage muscles. How? By taking small steps. By tackling your fear in increments. By creating successes for yourself. By making a commitment to yourself that you will step up in your life. In fact, I created a Courage Agreement to help you along the way.
In a Courage Agreement, you decide upon 10 acts of courage you will take in the next month – and proudly take action. I promise you that when you do this, it makes tackling the bigger fears feel more doable.
My dear, I cannot promise that you can zap every fear, but acknowledging your fears – especially the inner fears, will set you on the path to falling head over heels in love with your life. Invest in your present as well as your future. Revel in the fact that you are not alone in the world. Invest in support. Ask for help.
And build your courage muscles so they can support even your darkest fears.
I’m here, holding space and intention for you. I’m here, cheering for you. And darling? I’m sending you so much love.
So, tell me, darling: what do you fear?