Let’s get real and let’s get personal for a second. To do that you are going to have to drop your persona. You have to lose the story you’ve got about how you’re out to prove something. You are going to have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest. Let's cut the bullsh*t. Let’s talk about fear.
There are two universal languages — Love and Fear. We have all known both. These might be the two most significant forces in the universe, or at the very least they might be the two factors that determine the outcome of your entire life.
“You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear.” — Jim Carrey
Every choice we make will either be based out of love or fear -It really is that simple.
Have you ever had one of those nights where you were trying to sleep, but it felt like anxiety was pulsing throughout your body, and you didn’t know why? Well, last night I had one of those nights, and I woke up this morning from what felt like a marathon of nightmares that looped like a record in my brain. I woke up feeling more worn out than when I had gone to bed. I decided to get up and make some coffee. I sat on the couch in silence sipping coffee like it was my lifeline for a good thirty minutes just thinking about the meaning of these dreams.
By the third cup, it hit me that my dreams were ultimately about failure. I’ll spare you the details of the dream, but as I woke up, staring up at the dark ceiling, I thought to myself this is only fear. This dream gives me a peek through the window and into my sub-conscience mind. This is what my brain is playing while I am sleeping. Fear can run deep. Matter of fact it does. It is what keeps us alive. It is literally an instinct. To fight your instincts doesn’t make sense to me and that is why sayings like “no fear” have no merit to me. If you say that you are fearless, the truth is you are probably more scared than most. The toughest folks I know all have fear. It is what makes us alive. Fear is essential, but fear is also constructive feedback. I believe this is truly the purpose of fear. It is that red light that comes on and says whoa, that could potentially harm me, buddy. You better not jump off that cliff. But as we all know, fear trickles down into even the small things like “whoa, don’t speak up, they might not agree with you” or “hold on, don’t say I love you, what if you get rejected” We have to reframe somehow what fear means to us and how it controls us. Embrace fear, because it is a beautiful thing — but don’t let it own you. Keep it with you, but don’t let it drive your life because once it takes hold, it doesn’t like to let go.
So how do we do that?
Fear comes in many forms. If you take a moment to look deeper into your life, you will see this. I know I did. So, let’s start with the big stuff and then whittle it down to the smaller details.
I’ve lumped fear into four major categories.
Fear of Death
Fear of Failure
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Identity
The fear of death is your primal survival instinct, and its number one job is to make sure that you keep breathing. Appreciate it. This is the fear you feel when you stand on a cliff and peak over the edge. The human body is capable of some very incredible feats and can also withstand an amazing amount of trauma. Your heart beats 100,000 times a day without you even having to think about it. Appreciate this kind of fear but don’t let it hold you back. A pretty safe guide is to ask yourself, can this kill me? If the answer is no, then I would recommend proceeding with caution.
FAILURE & REJECTION
To be not wanted, respected, or valued by anyone else.
We have to get to the root here to understand what makes us tick.
Failure and Rejection probably have a lot to do with where you are in life right now, and they will play the most significant role in three areas of your life — Self, Relationship and Career. We will get more into these later, but for now, I want to talk about the root of these fears. I think deep down we all want to be accepted. Again this is an instinct that has been ingrained in our bones. Our ancestors lived predominantly in tribes for reasons such as safety, food, shelter, mating. We can also see this characteristic throughout the animal kingdom. So it makes sense why we want to be liked and accepted. Failure and Rejection equal Death to our reptilian brain but in today’s day and age this has taken on MANY new forms.
Ask yourself these few simple questions -
Why do you wear the clothes you wear? Is it because you actually like them or because you want to put forth a particular image? If you wear a suit and tie that says something completely different than wearing a pair of greasy coveralls.
This can be applied to pretty much any scenario — Why do you want bigger boobs and tighter skin? Whatever it may be ask yourself, do I really believe this and if so am I making these choices out of love or fear? I made a list of things and trust me; it will blow you away when you start uncovering these truths.
Let’s look at some Fear based outcomes.
Why don’t you ask the girl out? — I was scared she’d say no or think I wasn’t good enough
Why are you or aren’t you exercising? — Because I want to look good so that people will admire me and think I am enough or because I lack self-esteem and I don’t believe I can ever look or feel good.
Why did you buy that car? I thought it was cool and I want people to see me as cool.
Why didn’t you speak up? — I was afraid they wouldn’t like what I had to say.
Why did you start that new project? Because I thought it would make me lots of money and I would garner lots of praise for my ideas.
Why am I still working at the job I hate? Because you don’t believe you can do or deserve better.
Why am I in this toxic relationship? Because you don’t believe you can do or deserve better.
The list goes on and on, but I think you get the point.
Now let’s look at the same questions from a love based perception.
I asked the girl out because I felt a real connection and I truly believe that I have a lot of love to offer.
Why are you working out? — Because my body deserves to be loved and treated well. Exercise gives me more energy to live passionately.
Why did you buy that car? I bought a nice car to reward myself for all of my hard work. It is okay to honor my own personal successes.
I spoke up because my gut and heart told me it was the right thing to do.
I do work that I am passionate about and truly believe in.
I am no longer in a toxic relationship because I love myself enough to know that I truly deserve to feel appreciated and respected. The best gift I could give both of us was to learn from it and let it go.
That might sound like a bunch of mushy gushy bulls*it, but think about it and how it applies to your life. They are both the same questions but with two entirely different outcomes. The only difference was a matter of decision and Decisions = Destiny. And maybe, just maybe you already have everything you need inside of you right now. Perhaps you are beautiful just the way you are.
So why are you making the choices you are? A great place to look for clues is to start with our internal dialogue. What is it saying throughout the day? I don’t know about you, but mine can get a little rampant at times and can feel like a monkey with symbols running through my brain. Start paying more attention to this chatter and remember that this stuff has been programmed into us since we were born so you won’t be able to switch it off quickly. However, with practice, we can redirect these thoughts from a place of fear to a more empowering place of love and joy, and this will ultimately lead to making better choices.
FEAR OF IDENTITY
Here is another good one. For me, this is more of a spiritual journey that I ponder often. What I mean by that is this is all about fear of shattering one’s constructed sense of self. This fear comes from the thought of realizing that you are not whatever image you have constructed in your mind. This is a scary thought, and your ego will do everything to hold on to this sense of self, but deep down you are something much bigger than this, and that idea is actually freeing. You are not your job; you are not your clothes, you are none of those things. You have to find purpose deeper than all of that. It is a Fear of being seen as your true self. Fear of being authentic and true to the highest degrees. To choose love over fear in this way is to give up your security and need for approval from others. You have to realize that you have nothing to prove to anyone other than yourself and God. You have to come to terms and surrender to the idea of needing validation. You were not created to seek validation and approval. Your reptilian brain needs these things as a survival mechanism, but your higher spiritual self knows that you are meant for so much more. Ask yourself this — How would you live if you lived by this code? How would you live, speak, love, create if you let of this need for approval? This is a truly special place. This is where the beauty of honest and real creation takes place. This is about living your truth. It means living boldly and choosing love over fear. It means living not perfectly, but instead living the most authentic and honest life possible. To me, it means connecting to the source and allowing it to guide me. It means looking inward for purpose contentment rather than externally.
Reposition your fear.
Decide that you are the owner of your fear.
My personal mantra sounds like this. I read this to myself every morning —
“God, I am surrendering to you and all that the universe has in store for me. You take the wheel, steer me, lead me, do what you will with me. I will make the effort, and I will put in the hard work, but you lead the way. Fear you do not own me. I believe that I deserve good things. I believe in my ability, even if I don’t know how I am going to accomplish these things, I believe in my determination to learn and grow and to also know that I may not succeed, but that is not the end goal, the end goal is to grow and to fail and to try again.” I believe in my ability to try. It doesn’t mean that I won’t fail, but taking that first step is to begin the journey, and that is what the universe is asking of us. It is not asking us to win or to lose or to fail or accomplish. It is merely asking us to participate and to trust. If we can let go of the outcome, then we can love and embrace the journey. This is where love and fear walk hand in hand. We journey through the land of the unknown. The peaks and the valleys. The meadows and the dark canyons and though we may fear, we also trust and trust is what leads us to new frontiers. Fear merely gives us feedback on what type of adventure awaits us. Possibly the more we fear something, the more rewarding the journey will be. Notice I said rewarding and not comfortable. It will more than likely be the opposite of easy and quite possibly the hardest thing you have ever done, but it can also be the most powerful thing you have ever done. The hardest thing you will ever have to do is pick up your fear and take that first step.