I spent most of my life ruled by fear…without even realizing it.
It wasn’t until a few years into my journey of self-awareness, that I discovered some of my most defining limiting beliefs, and the power with which they dictated my life.
I realized that I’d never really tried anything where I might fail. The threat of the possibility of failure had kept me securely rooted to what felt safe, predictable, and familiar.
I was also afraid of exuding even the slightest perception that I might not have it all totally together. I knew what I was good at and I tended to do those things. I actively avoided anything where I might not immediately excel.
I wouldn’t even let myself dream about what I really wanted in life, for worry that the feeling of trying to achieve it, and failing, would be worse than never having tried at all.
Eventually, though, I realized how totally limiting and unsatisfying this way of living was, and I made a conscious, deliberate decision to figure out how to work through it.
This, of course, led me to staring my fears straight in the face.
Working through fear feels uncomfortable, because the energy of it is strong and unsettling. Yet, the more we feel into fear, the more familiar the sensations become. And as we get used to it, we become better at allowing ourselves to feel it.
And in order to move through it, we have to be able to feel it.
We can bust through the limitations of our fearful thoughts, but we have to be willing to pay attention.
If we want to break through barriers in our lives or make any changes at all, we must first notice what is happening now.
Here are three tips for moving through fear with ease:
1) Know that fear is just a feeling.
We all feel fear. It’s natural and it’s okay to feel it. Fear never feels comfortable, but we don’t have to be frightened of it.
It is just a feeling. Fear in itself isn’t negative and it has no inherent badness. We are just afraid to feel it, because it doesn’t feel good.
The first step to freeing ourselves from fear is simply to understand that it is just a feeling.
2) Notice when you feel fear and intentionally acknowledge it.
The quickest and easiest way to easing fear is to deliberately acknowledge it. Admit to it.
Fear only has power over our lives when we allow it to define us. And it defines us when we refuse to look at it—because our fears exist within us whether we choose to look at them or not.
If we can allow our fears space to exist, noticing them, observing them, and deliberately paying attention to them, we can discover what they have to teach us.
We don’t have to enjoy feeling fear, but in order to work through it, we do need to allow ourselves to feel it.
3) Practice moving through fearful thoughts in small, manageable ways.
I believe one of the best ways to physically practice moving through fear is to put ourselves in situations that we know will make us feel a bit uncomfortable.
Trying to take a huge leap into the known can feel overwhelming and terrifying, so it helps to start small. We can strengthen our resolve by easing our way into moving through feelings of fear in intentional, manageable ways. And we can do this by taking slight fear-inducing actions within the realms of the familiar.
When I started working with my feelings of fear several years ago, I decided I’d try new things in yoga. Because I’d already been doing yoga for years, I was totally comfortable with the practice itself.
I tried setting my yoga mat in a different part of the room. I tried different classes, different teachers, and different studios. I even tried doing poses in class that I usually reserved for the solace of my personal practice within the confines of my room.
By starting with smaller things, we can get used to the energy of fear without having it immobilize us. We see how it affects us. We discover what happens with our thoughts. We feel where it shows up in our bodies. And we practice moving through all of it anyway.
We also become intimately familiar with the other uncomfortable feelings that accompany fear, such as self-consciousness and self-doubt.
If we can begin working with fear in less-threatening ways, we will be better equipped to manage it when it comes to the big stuff—because we’ll already have a solid foundation of understanding of how our fear works and how we feel as we experience it.
In order to live fully, we have to be willing to feel all of our feelings.
We can’t move through anything until we know it exists, but once we know something exists, we can intentionally take steps to figure out how to handle it.
Fear is just a feeling.
If we can notice it, we can work with it.
Fear has a lot to teach us and we can learn from it. We just have to be willing to feel it.
1. How does fear show up in your life?
2. How do you deal with fear?
3. What helps you ease feelings of fear?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts, tips, or any questions you may have!