Fear. It is a controlling, manipulative, dictator. But that dictator belongs to us. For many years I told the story “I suffer from anxiety,” I didn’t do anything that scared me – public speaking, job interviews, being the centre of attention, travelling alone; I hid behind my husband. I became so overwhelmed by my fears I started having panic attacks when I had to go pick up the kids from school – I literally couldn’t walk down the street and would have to get someone else to do it. I honestly believed this anxiety disorder was something outside of me, outside of my control.
A year and a half ago I flew to Colorado on my own to spend a week with people I had never even met in person. Last November I stood on stage in front of a room full of 100 people at my book launch. How did I get over my fear? I didn’t!!! That’s the key – I learned that the fear was okay. I had spent so long judging the fear, making it wrong, wanting it to go away, turning it into a monster, but in truth it was just a very small part of me that was scared. It was in denying and rejecting the fear that I became so over identified with it until it was all I could see.
I discovered that the key is not to run and hide from my fear, as I always had done in the past, but to face it. I had to tell the truth about my fear, and look deeper into it. In doing so, everything suddenly becomes clear and a massive weight melts away from me. I now have the ability to view everything that appears in the mirror of my life from the point of view of the ‘observer’, to watch what is going on for me. It doesn’t always happen immediately – some parts of me get so loud and I tune into them for a while before my consciousness switches back out to the level of observer. When I see myself reacting from this tiny scared part of me that is reading out an old script, and I acknowledge that part of me but throw away the script. She’s still there, yes, I’m not going to deny that. but I don’t let her control me anymore I don’t embody her.
Human emotions would look like a rainbow if they were visible and every part of that spectrum is valid and beautiful, we are supposed to experience it all – even the fear and sadness. No emotions are ‘wrong’. I still feel fear, but it is no longer a monster. I simply allow for the part of me that is scared – give her a means of expression, take deep breaths, tell her it’s okay and I find I am free to focus on my intentions in the situation, whatever it may be. I have released myself from self created shackles which held me back for so long – I know I can achieve anything now, nothing can hold me back. And nothing can hold YOU back either.
Now things are different for me. very different. I feel like my life has opened up immensely and things I wouldn’t even have considered possible for me are now like little adventures, just waiting for me to embrace them. This might sound quite twisted but I am actually starting to quite like that little twinge of fear – because I know it indicates that something new is opening up for me. I know that I don’t have to be paralysed by the fear, I don’t have to run away and hide. SO I say yes to things that come along if they are aligned with my intentions and desires, even those that scare me.
The biggest lesson I have learned on this journey of awakening – I believe one of the biggest personal lessons of my entire life – is that fear is my friend. I used to want my fear to go away – I used to believe that I would only be okay, only be successful, when I didn’t feel fear anymore. But that’s bull. I know now I am okay when I accept that my fear is a part of me, it is a valuable part of me because it leads me towards the experiences that will be valuable and expansive for me. That’s it – just to show up as all of me, fear and all, with no shame, and to declare ‘this is me’!