There's always a lot of talk around our FEARS in the personal development space. "Stop letting your fears ruin your dreams!" or "Don't give into the fears, pussy!"
Okay....maybe they're not that harsh. But, they certainly feel that way at times.
And logically, it makes total sense. All of us are walking around with our own set of fears that are without doubt affecting the way that we behave and perceive the world. Our fears can often cripple us from taking action and stepping into the lives we so desperately want to live.
But, instead of fighting our fears or pretending they're not real, what if we embraced our fears? What if we decided to begin a real partnership with them? What if we let them be our teachers?
Because in my experience, you are never going to be able to outrun your fears. Yes, you can do some inner work and subconscious reprogramming to get relief from them at times, but they always seem find a way to creep back into your experience.
And the faster you run... the more fatigued you feel when they come back up for you.
"UGH I already did like 27 journaling exercises on this fear! Why are you trying to ruin my life? GO AWAY, FEAR!"
But, here's the thing....when we have these monumental realizations about fear, we are making a CONSCIOUS decision to stop operating out of them. We are aware, we are present, we are in our power.
But, unfortunately, our subconscious minds are somewhere around one million times as strong as our conscious brains.
So, no matter how hyped up on self-development books you are, you can easily find yourself operating out of your same set of fear-based beliefs as soon as you slip out of consciousness again.
Think about it. If right now, I asked you "What fears are holding you back from living the life you want to live?"
You might say...
I'm fearful if I start my own business, I won't succeed and I'll be humiliated and broke.
I'm fearful if I release restriction and gain weight, men won't find me attractive and I'll be alone for the rest of my life.
I'm fearful that if I actually said what was on my mind, she would leave me.
We all got our shit. And fears don't always feel like debilitating anxiety, shame, and insecurity. Sometimes fear shows up as perfectionism, stress, procrastination, and a general feeling of unworthiness.
Now... if I said "Can you see how this fear is holding you back?" "Who would you be without this fear?"
You might get all kinds of inspired and say "I would be HAPPY!" "I wouldn't feel stuck!" Or maybe you'd give me a big, old "FUCK, YOU FEAR! I'm done with this shit! I am not listening to this fear! I am stepping into my power!"
But, like I mentioned earlier...within a couple days, you'd likely to slip back into your subconscious programming and start acting out in the blueprint your fear-based beliefs cemented long ago. Fears are clingy bastards. They're not going to just give up without a fight.
So, maybe we need to try something different. Maybe the real shift that we need to make isn't in the conscious moments. It's in the subconscious. Visualization, mantras, and deep meditation are excellent for this.
But, in addition to those tools.... what I've found to be one of the most successful approaches to this is to start a conversation with our fears.
I'll give you an actual example from my life.
As most of you know, I'm extremely passionate about coaching. But, with starting any entrepreneurial endeavor, you are of course going to be filled with all kinds of fears. I knew this going in and I did all kinds of work on discovering my fears and empowering myself with a new set of beliefs, but for some reason, my fears kept showing up. Mostly in the form of procrastination. Sneaky, sneaky.
So, in a really curious and loving way, I asked my fear..."Fear, what is it exactly you're afraid of?"
And I heard a quiet voice within say "I'm afraid of not having time to enjoy life and being isolated."
So...I wasn't actually afraid of failing or not being good enough....(Well, maybe on some level, but not to the degree I had thought originally).... My fear was trying to protect me from living a burnout and lonely lifestyle.
At one point or another, my subconscious mind had associated being an entrepreneur with 18 hour days, no social life, and all kinds of FOMO. Maybe the aggressive Instagram quote tiles "My dream is worth more than sleep" and interviews with entrepreneurs listing the sacrifices they made to build their business were actually getting to me on some level.
So instead of arguing with my subconscious about this, I sat with it. I explored it.
I asked "What is it I really want from my life?" "What are my real values?" And asking this place from a genuine sense of compassion and curiosity. Not in a manipulative, I-need-to-be-right type of fashion.
Because in that moment, I realized... maybe there are more important things than success to me. I'm all about going after our dreams and working hard to achieve them...but, I'm also about going to dance classes, having margaritas with friends, and enjoying my life.
In that moment, I made an agreement with my fear.
"Okay, fear. I hear you loud and clear. I understand where you're coming from and I want to make this work. I want to grow this business in the most organic and enjoyable approach possible. I don't want to miss out on life and feel isolated for the next five years all in an effort to achieve success earlier!
But, this is my passion. And we both know I'm destined to do this. So, let's find a way to implement fun and relaxation in our routine. And if the work becomes too much and I'm feeling completely drained and lonely, I will stop what I'm doing and we can reevaluate everything again. Sound good?"
Yes. It did sound good. More importantly, it FELT good. I wasn't running away I wasn't fighting. I was forming an alliance with my subconscious programming.
And since that conversation, my procrastination has eased up. I'm feeling more inspired about the work I'm doing. I'm feeling more grateful for my ability to do it vs. feeling like I HAVE to do it or I'll fail. I feel just a renewed sense of being satisfied and okay where I am right now.
This is yet another moment in my journey that I've had to shift my go-getting, forceful, masculine energy with a loving, flow-y, feminine energy. And I have to say....the feminine energy has always been the best at cementing long-term success. For me, at least.
So...how can you implement this perspective shift around your own fears? Can you invite a conversation with your subconscious mind to ask what your truth is? Because if you've been trying to work through your fears and the only thing coming up for you is "You will fail" "No one will like you".... I invite you to go deeper.
Despite what you think, your subconscious mind isn't a villain trying to ruin your life. Your fears have been put in place to protect you. Start appreciating them and bringing their opinion to the table instead of dismissing and ignoring them.
Because no matter how many mantras you do, they will still come up for you. And the more strongly you resist, the more strongly they will persist. If you're looking for a long-term strategy to overcome your fears, have a conversation with them. And more importantly, make a mutual commitment to them that you will honor if your fears start to become reality.