Moving forward, creating change and co-existing with fear.
Updated: Jul 3, 2018
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about how fear plays a big role in holding us back from moving forward and creating change.
Fear has been a constant feeling in my life and for so long its presence has kept me hostage and stopped me from experiencing the things I wanted to experience. Fear was there with me when I decided to cross the oceans and move to Australia when I was only 18 years old. It was there with me when I got my first real job in a big company. It was there with me when I quit that job to start my own company. Fear was there when I loved for the first time. It was there when I started my journey within to find out who I truly am and what I want in life. Fear was SO there when I moved to London in 2014 to start a life away from everything that was familiar to me, in a country that was not mine. It was with me when I taught my first yoga class. When I had my first coaching client. Fear is with us all the time and everywhere we go, but that certainly doesn't mean it has to take the driver’s seat and dictate what we get or what we don’t get to experience in life. We are the ones to tell that.
The moment I realized I was not happy in the profession I had chosen and that what I wanted to do was completely different from that, I freaked out for a moment. I knew that changing my life at that point would require so much courage, patience and persistence. There was no room for self-doubt or fear. The problem was… I had tons of that.
So somehow I had to come face to face with my demons. I had to see and identify them, before they defined me and got me stuck in a life that was not mine to be lived.
There is a quote that describes this feeling really well:
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anaïs Nin
Fear will show its face when you jump on a new adventure or when you start a new chapter in your life. Whatever it is. There's a learning curve to whatever new endeavour we set ourselves to and fear may come. Simply because you have no experience on that and you don't know what to expect. You will have to deal with parts of yourself that were unknown to you until this day. You will be faced with feelings, dreams, sensations that are brand new to you. And that can be pretty scary. Most people don’t cross the barrier from the known into the unknown simply because they are afraid of not knowing what comes next.
What if I told you that just on the other side of fear, crossing the bridge into the unknown is realizing your full potential? Just on the other side is knowing your beauty and power to live according to your own terms.
The question is...
How much do you want the things you want, to be brave enough to co-exist with your fears and take the leap?
Think about it for a moment. What do you understand or what do you feel when you think about co-existing with your fears? Pause for a moment and write down whatever comes to your mind and most importantly, to your heart.
Fighting our fears is not helpful as it will only create more resistance and maybe even more anxiety, and we don’t want that, right? What we want is to create some space to breathe and be able to do the things we want to do. Which in my case was teaching Yoga. I will tell you a little story of how teaching has helped me to deal with fear.
When I started teaching I was drowning in fear and and anxiety. (I will write a whole post about this in the future). Fear of speaking in public, fear of putting myself out there and being seen, fear of not remembering the sequence I had planned or not being able to communicate precisely and give instructions properly because English is not my first language. I was so scared of being judged by others, of not being good enough as a teacher. My fears were so persuasive that they nearly convinced me to give it up completely. I am so glad I didn't - otherwise I would be depriving myself of what was probably the most beautiful and life-changing experiences I ever had.
Teaching Yoga has been the gateway to find my purpose and passion in life, and if I had given up because of fear, nothing which unfolded from that experience would have happened.
I had so many what ifs rooted in the overwhelming fear I felt. What if no one shows up? What if people don’t like me? What if people don’t like my class? What if they compare me to other teachers? What if? What if? What if? Gosh it was exhausting I must say! But somehow, I had to pack all those fears in a bag and still get my work done. I owned that to myself and being defeated by my anxieties and worries was not an option. I had to find a way to move forward.
I couldn’t help but wonder, how does this apply to everyone else’s life? To your life? Do we allow fear to hold us back and stop us from living an inspired life or an exciting new adventure? Or do we have another option here which is acknowledging that fear, coming face to face with it and finding a way of co-existing with it?
In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown says:
“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall, this is the physics of vulnerability. When we commit to showing up and risking failing, we are actually committed to falling. Daring is not saying I’m willing to risk failure. Daring is saying I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in.”
Co-existing with fear is being willing to do whatever you want to do without being overwhelmed by fear. It’s about knowing your fears and how they play you, and discovering your ways around it so it doesn’t affect you. It’s about looking your fears in the eye, acknowledging them and respecting them for what they are, and knowing they are part of who you are, of your journey. It is about sending love to your fears, to those places within you that feel contracted and let love melt that away. Co-existing with your fears is about befriending them rather than fighting them.
Here are a few things you can do to breakthrough fear. These are things I've done myself and keep doing because it works for me. You're welcome to try!
1. KNOW YOUR FEARS and how they operate. Make a list naming your fears and blocks and write down how do you feel them. Where do you feel them in your body? When do you feel them? Let them teach you something about yourself and be opened to hear what they have to tell you. Fear is stagned energy that wants to flow and transmute into something higher.
2. HAVE AN ANCHOR, a safe place to come back to whenever you feel overwhelmed by your fears. I found quite useful to have my big WHY very clear in my head. What is your WHY, meaning why do you want to do the things you to do? What is your mission? The moment you anchor yourself in your big WHY, you tap into your inner power which prevails any fear you might be facing.
3. HAVE A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE and do it every single day. Find whatever suits you, whatever makes you whole and come back to yourself. It can be Yoga, meditation, chanting, talking to a friend, singing, writing, whatever, as long as it works for you. Do it everyday even if it is just for 5 minutes. It's the showing up, over and over again, that will make a difference.
4. DON'T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY! Play with it! Have fun with whatever comes up. Laugh at yourself. And if you do something wrong, there are high chances that you are the one that cares the most about it. People are more patient and supportive than you imagine. Remember, we've all been there, one way
5. KEEP MOVING FORWARD! Keep engaging! Action is key to overcome fear. The more you take action, the more you become aware of your potential. Courage comes from taking action and getting things done. We all will make mistakes eventually, that is part of life. But don't let your mistakes pull you back. Keep humble and always opened for improvement. Learn from your mistakes and frustations and apply what you have learned next time you try.
6. DO YOUR BEST every single day in everything that you do. Ask yourself " How can I give my best today?" and put your heart in the things you do. Love prevails everything.
The fact is fear will come. It will show its face at one point or another. But, what you decide to do with it when it comes it is 100% your choice. You can take a step back and hide behind the curtains and allow fear to take the lead of your life while you sit on the audience and just watch it pass by, like a movie. Or, you can stand up, go on that stage and OWN IT. Let fear take a supporting role while you take full responsibility for your life.
So much of what we fear has either not happened or isn’t real. It is very likely it is a creation of your mind based on past experiences, anticipation of the future or fear of being judged.
Let’s get practical here. Think about one area of your life in which you feel you are struggling with fear. Grab your journal or a piece of paper and write down your fears. Name them one by one. Take your time to do this. When you’re ready, go back to each and every one of them and ask yourself: Is this fear real or is it just a creation of my mind? This is such a nice exercise to list your fears and look at them. You might be surprised to see what happens once you get them out of your head and in front of your eyes. There is a high chance they will get smaller simply because you allowed space for them to be seen. You have to be able to somehow separate yourself from your fear and understand you are not your fears, you are only experiencing them.
And can you see each one of your fears with love and kindness? Can you send them so much love that they feel nurtured and become excitement? So much of what we fear in life is due to lack of love. Fear is accumulated energy. It's a distorted version of reality. How can we allow love to release that energy and let it go through you?
Love prevails everything, and it can certainly prevail your fears.
How much do you love the things you want to do, the life you want to create? Do you love them enough to overcome fear and take action to make it happen?
The thing is:
You want to get your fears out of your head and demystify them by GETTING IN ACTION.
There is so much anxiety around it and the only way to weed out this feeling is by doing something. I mean actually doing something. If you want to be a writer, then start writing. If you want to be a yoga teacher, then start saving money for your Teacher training course, or start teaching your friends, even if it's for free. The action of doing something will take you out of your head and into your physical body. The easiest and most effective way of moving through fear e is engaging in ACTION. By doing something, you create a courage reference point upon which you can always draw back when you are faced with bigger goals.
The more you take action, the more courage you reveal from within. And let me tell you a secret… All the courage you need is guess where?!?! Within you. It’s all there. You don’t have to look for it any where else. You’ve got all you need to create the life you want to live.
Stand in your power. Don't shy away from your greatness even if it scares you. Own your uniqueness. You have a mission in this world only you can fulfill.