Monthly Archives: September 2014

Being vulnerable: Moving towards fear

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I have a confession to make.

I’m scared. I’m scared of the death of the love that I have for my partner. I’m scared of putting myself out into the world and sharing my gifts. I’m scared of failure. I’m scared of a great many things.

Sometimes the fear feels like a cold fist curling in my stomach. Other times it reaches up and snatches my breath out of my chest. Or, it’s a slow tightening in my jaw that makes my ears hurt. My first instinct when I’m sitting in fear is to run away from the discomfort.

But I’m not a slave to my instincts, and what I’ve learned over and over again is that you are at your most courageous when you surrender to the fear and let it guide you towards your truth.

Fear, when we aren’t in truly imminent danger, is our body’s way of saying, “Oh crap. If I face that, things could change. If I go there, I might lose something. Or gain something. But there will be CHANGE. And I’ll be vulnerable. Which means I could get hurt, and I don’t want to get hurt. Nope. That icky, scary, open feeling is too much. I’m shutting down and avoiding the thing.”

And boom. Fear is suddenly manipulating your reality and everything becomes skewed. This is not your authentic self. This is not the story you want to live.

Brene Brown talks about wholehearted living. Basically, wholehearted living is an ongoing act of courage – the courage to be seen and heard and to believe yourself worthy of love and happiness.

For me, fear often comes up when I feel like I’m not worthy – of love, of success, and of being heard. Learning where my fear comes from makes it easier for me to face it and take it on, to move into it and through it.

Moving towards fear is never comfortable. It is never easy. But, the more you do it, the more you realize that you’ll come out the other side. Often the thing you fear most is far worse than the reality of what happens when you dig in, look fear in the eye, and charge at it.

What are you scared of right now?

You know what it is, even if you don’t want to admit it. Because naming it means acknowledging the thing you’ve been trying to hide from for days or weeks or months.

Are you scared you’ll never find meaningful love? Are you scared your partner isn’t a good fit? Are you scared your partner has fallen out of love with you? Are you scared that you aren’t enough?

Name your fear and shine a light on it so that you can examine it truthfully. When we let fear fester in the dark, it can trick us into believing things are much worse than they actually are. Fear can paint itself as a huge, insurmountable monster.

Fear is that gremlin in your head that keeps you paralyzed.

Because if we stay still enough, invisible enough, silent enough maybe that thing we fear won’t be true.

Maybe it will pass us by. We might even run away from it or try to control it out of desperation. But, this becomes a scene that we play out, over and over again. Fear always finds you, which is why you need to not only drag your fear out into the light, but you need to confront it and take your power back. Fear doesn’t get to dictate your life. You do. So what does that look like?

Let’s pretend your biggest fear is that your partner has fallen out of love with you. Imagine what that must feel like – that fear that someone you love might not want you any longer.

Fuck, that feels bad, doesn’t it? Those hopes and dreams you shared suddenly seem like they’re slipping out of your grasp. Maybe you start listing all the things that make you unlovable, as if this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or maybe you start feeling angry at your partner. Your mind starts racing, searching for a reason, and maybe you start thinking they’re cheating on you. Depending on how you cope with fear, you’ll either withdraw inside of yourself in an attempt to insulate yourself from the scary truth or you’ll come out swinging, going on the offensive, trying to push away the pain by beating it to the punch.

What happens if you move into your fear instead of letting your fear dictate what comes next, all of which could be completely wrong because it’s based on lies your fear is telling you?

How do you even get started?

First, you have to acknowledge and sit with it for a minute. Yuck, right? I know. But the more you do this, the faster your truth will start to show up.

While you’re sitting in the yuck, you need to understand where your feelings are coming from and what you’re really afraid of. Being alone? Being rejected? Change? Getting hurt? The source of your fear might not be obvious at first, but if you listen to that thing you really don’t want to hear, that’s where it will be.

Then, get clear on why you feel this way. Has your partner seemed withdrawn? Has something changed? Or are things the same and this is about your own insecurity and unworthiness taking over?

Second, move towards your fear by directly addressing it. Sometimes this can happen entirely inside of yourself when you simply give yourself permission to feel your feelings, name them, and surrender so that they no longer hold you. Other times, it means having a conversation with someone in your life. In this example, it might mean saying some pretty vulnerable stuff to your partner.

“Can we talk? I’ve been feeling a lot of fear lately. I’m scared that you don’t want to be in a relationship with me any longer because I’ve felt alone lately for X, Y, Z reasons. What I need right now is either some reassurance from you or for us to dig in and take an honest look at us and whether this relationship is still serving us both. Is that something you would be willing to do for me?”

In that moment, your partner might immediately rush to reassure you that your fear has been completely misplaced. Or, you might end up having a conversation about how things really ARE falling apart at the seams.

But, now there’s no more guess work, there is no more wasted energy and inner conflict and sleepless nights. There are no more stomach aches based on “what if” or outbursts designed to hold your partner hostage. Because you are worthy of love and deserving of people who want to be with you. And by facing your fear and feeling icky for a while, you can start to heal and create something new.

Fear has always been a big, bright arrow screaming, “I know it seems like this is the wrong way to go because it feels so bad but that’s exactly why you should be coming over here!”

If you want a life full of love, desire, authenticity, honesty, trust, and joy, it means doing some scary-as-fuck work sometimes. It means taking leaps into the unknown at the moment when you can’t think of anything scarier in the world. Sometimes you’ll soar. Sometimes you’ll crash and burn. Either way, once you face your fear, you can move forward.

And isn’t that so much better than being stuck on the edge of that cliff, rocking back and forth belly-aching over what to do and when to do it and how you’ll do it and will you fly or will you plummet? That kind of thinking will drive you crazy and move you farther and farther away from your authentic self.

So, here I am, demonstrating that very thing. I’m sharing a part of myself with you, terrified it won’t be enough, but I’m doing it anyway. You’ll either love what I have to say and it will resonate. Or you’ll think it’s bullshit and leave. Either way, I am taking the leap so that I can move forward.

You deserve to move forward, too. Where is your fear? What have you been too scared to name? I challenge you to shine a light on it today and start taking your power back.

[callout title=”Let’s chat” link=”” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Do you need help naming and facing your fear? Would you love to get unstuck, so that you can finally shed the burden you’ve been carrying? I can help.[/callout]