How To Totally Rock The Things That Scare You

A guest post by Laura Leigh Clarke
If you’re like most people, you probably have things that deep down really scare you.

Things that make you hang back, when you wish you could move forward. Things you’d just rather not think about – let alone discuss openly with people around you. Thoughts that crop up that then whizz around your mind, out of control whilst you’re trying to focus on the positive.

Maybe your fears aren’t as overt as a fear of snakes or spiders, or things that go bump in the night.

But you’re probably aware of more subtle fears, lurking in the background of your mind, quietly governing everything you allow yourself to do… or not do, as the case may be.

For you it might be the overriding fear is the fear of rejection – leaving you unable to reach out.

Or it might be the fear of failure, keeping you stuck in your old routine, hopelessly frustrated, knowing deep down you have so much more to contribute.

Or it even might be a fear of being seen: because if you’re seen, then you leave yourself open to the pain of criticism. “Who does she think she is?, or “What gives him the right to step up and do that…?” is normal mind-chatter for most of us… even if it’s just an incoherent nagging in the back of our minds most of the time.

And so it goes on…

Ever Increasing Limitation

And these fears only become apparent in certain situations… like being given an opportunity to speak to a group, or an opportunity to charge for your services – just in the same way that a phobia of spiders only becomes apparent when faced with a big fat hairy spider.

And though you can go through life carefully avoiding them, these fears will cause you to live a life in ever decreasing circles. Keeping them in play is to be constantly limited by your subconscious. But your subconscious was originally programmed to “protect” you from danger using the fear sensation as a cattle prod to keep you in check.

And, sure, this has become hardwired by evolution: it’s easy to see how the most cautious of us survived the daily threat of being eaten by tigers, or succumbing to accidents running round forests or deserts.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can drop the cattle prod and live perfectly safely without this fear mechanism.

And even though fear is something that we all experience – there is something we can do about it.

We’re not in the survival phase of our evolution anymore. Most of us don’t hunt for our own food. Most of us have adequate shelter and food. And so this affords us the blissful opportunity to pursue our own inner world, and to discover the new territories within that ultimately can unravel this landscape of fear and limitation, and get back to who we really are at our core. A worthy pursuit, if there ever was one!

So, What Is Possible Once You’ve Dropped The Fears?

Even if self-actualisation isn’t on your radar right now –rocking out these fears is the way to live a more expansive, fun filled life – where you’re in the driving seat…

No longer will you be paralysed by indecision, or worried about how to pay the mortgage, or how you can control everyone and everything in your environment. Instead, as you pick away and discard each fear in turn you will gain greater amounts of control over how you feel and what you can create in your world.

And you can start eliminating these fears right now. Not in 20 years of practice. Not through decades of psychotherapy.  Right here, right now, you can get rid of all these little hang-ups, and allow yourself to live a bigger version of your life.

Of course, undoing the fear and limitation means challenging some assumptions we make about fear. We need to get these things straight before we get into the process of fear elimination.

Fear – It’s Not What You’ve Been Taught

The sensation of fear doesn’t necessarily keep us safe – at least not at this subtle level we’re talking about here. Sure, it might get us out of the way of a speeding car coming towards us… but that’s not the kind of fear we’re exploring. We’re focusing in on the fear that stops us doing the things we want to do… which include the fears that prevent us from exploring our own accumulated emotional baggage and mind trash.

This is perhaps the most challenging thing to do, but exploring the baggage we’ve picked up from past, and noticing the patterns, can really help us clear out the limitations as we go about our daily lives now.

In this way, avoiding the sensation, the experience, of fear, isn’t necessarily going to keep us safe.

The other thing to realise is that these fears we bump up against may not make sense. They may be irrational. We know that nothing life threatening is going to happen if we say what we really think, or put ourselves out there – but what we fear is actually experiencing embarrassment, rejection, or lacking control… And you can fill in the blank for whatever it that you’re using the fear to avoid.

So we realise is that the fear is simply an avoidance strategy to not feel these other emotions.

Funny, eh?

Your Emotions Won’t Kill You

Because these emotions we’re avoiding won’t kill you either.

In fact, just like the fear, they can just been seen as sensations in the physical body.

We don’t need to understand the fear or where it comes from, or what is causing it, in order to get rid of it. We just need to acknowledge it is there, and observe it as a sensation.

What we can expect, though, once we’ve eliminated a fear around a particular thing, is a feeling of freedom – like the shackles on our normal thought processes, and habits have been taken away. Using the method I’m going to share in a moment, you are likely to feel a whole weight being lifted from you too…. And when I say weight, I do mean an actual, physical sensation!

You will also likely see your awareness expand and perception shift. You will see the same situations differently. You will, in essence, become wiser.

But then this leads us onto a more pressing question…. Who will we be without that fear?

Removing a habit that has become practiced leaves a gap.

It leaves us feeling vulnerable (and free)… but this vulnerability can leave us open to pulling that fear back in just to be comfortable.

So the important thing to remember is once you’ve released the fear, move on and be that person who doesn’t have the fear anymore. Allow yourself to experience that expansiveness. Move into that change, by either taking a physical action or allow your self-perception to shift.

This is how you totally rock fear once you’ve let it go.

Ok, so now on to the final piece of the puzzle: how to actually get rid of it.

How To Eliminate The Fear

When you begin using this technique you may want to sit quietly where you’re not constantly being disturbed.  Maybe turn your phone to silent, and close down Skype and your emails for a little while and give yourself the head space to do this, knowing the results will far outweigh the cost of being away from your inbox for ten minutes.

Step 1: Call Out Your Biggest Fears

The first step is to list out the things you’re afraid of. If nothing jumps out at you maybe think about the things you resist doing or being because you think they will be uncomfortable. Things like putting yourself out there, charging properly for your services, (this is one I see a lot in my work with money and emotions), or even making a change in a relationship that may not be serving you.

We’re not going to physically do anything about these things. We just want to imagine, and experience the internal sensation associated with these thoughts. Just put any decision making around this subject on the back burner for now. And similarly if you’re experiencing a dilemma, once you’ve eliminated the fear and resistance around it the answer has a tendency of dropping out into your lap, so don’t worry about what you’re going to do for now.

Step 2: Feel The Fear

The next step is to tune into the fear around just one of the things you’ve written down.  And in becoming aware of it, just spend some moments noticing how it feels. What we’re trying to do is see this emotion of fear as just a physical sensation in the body, without trying to control it, or put it in a box, or stuff it down so we don’t have to feel it. The point is we need to feel it, in order to eliminate it. So go ahead and give that fear sensation a good ol’ feel!

Step 3: Become The Observer

And the third step is to just observe it. As you’re feeling it, just resist the temptation to try and control it. Instead, get curious about the feeling and watch it. And what you’ll find is that it very quickly starts to evaporate. It just vanishes like a weightless morning mist disappearing into the sunshine.

Step 4: Check Back In With The Initial Fear

Now think of that thing you were afraid of again. You may notice you get another sensation. In some cases, it’s nowhere near as powerful as the initial one. Now you just go through the process again, of feeling it, observing it and allowing it to evaporate. Just like that.

Step 5: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Keep going back to the same thought that triggered the fear initially until there is no more fear around it. And then move on to the next thing on your list.

If you take the time to do this, quietly, piece by piece, you will evaporate every fear in your whole life and with it, every excuse you’ve ever made in the past for not having the whole, complete life you would choose.

And that’s how to do it.

You Just Have To Do It

But right now, if you haven’t already tried it, go ahead and try it for just one thing on your list of fears. You need to prove to yourself this works.

If you just take my word for it – it will become something you “know” about, and intend to use when you’re really afraid of something… and then you’ll forget about it.

If you try it out and experience it working for yourself, then you won’t have wasted the last five minutes reading about it. It really is about testing it out for yourself and taking it on board as your own wisdom.

 

What About You? Now It’s Your Turn…

So right now, give it a quick go. Try it on just one thing to your list, and let me know how you get on – or share your thoughts –  in the comments.

 

About the author:

Laura Leigh Clarke  is the Whole Heart, Whole Brained Business Mentor, helping heart-centered solopreneurs to get real results into their bank account. She is also the Hay House Author of Wire Yourself for Wealth. Send a tweet to @EnlightenLaura, or check out her Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com: Young Woman Looking

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{ 45 Comments }

  1. Vincent says:

    Becoming the observer has become the key to controlling my fears. When I was a kid I was very afraid of heights. I still have a fear of heights but it’s much more of just a feeling that does nothing to disable me. I think to myself “Hey, check that out! My heart rate is beating faster! Cool”, and I continue on as if nothing happened.

    • Hey – this is exactly the point Vincent. Great catch. And the way to undoing that attachment we have to perceiving ourselves as a mind or a body is through doing exactly as you’re doing: recognising the sensations (“hey my heart is beating faster”) and choosing to drop them. Gradually we unpick everything that causes fear… i.e. the programme of being separate and voila… instant realisation 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience Vincent!

  2. Gary Korisko says:

    This is great, Laura.

    Unwarranted fear has to be the number one killer of potential and great ideas. Mark Twain once said, “I have had many fears in my life, most of which have never happened.”

    These are very practical and useful tips for getting past those fears that tend to freeze us in our tracks. Thanks!

  3. Pat Veling says:

    As a consultant, I find the BIGGEST challenge in working with others is related to their biggest fear: that they do not actually KNOW what they want.

    I have learned that once someone knows what they truly want, fear subsides and it is replaced by internal drive which powers them through the mind transformation and purposeful meaning which creates a new reality.

    Having worked through many of my own issues which helped me to create a successful life and enterprise, this, too, is my biggest fear. I have no idea what will come next and I do not know what I next want out of this wonderful world and my life. I can tell you it is not “stuff” or more success. (A good example is how much I DISLIKE my spectacular beach house when I am there alone with nobody to enjoy it with. And yet, it was always a goal to have it.) I realize now my goal should be to have more time ANYWHERE with those I care most about. Come to California for a stay at my beach house and help me work through all of that.

    Great piece, BTW. Hope you are well in ALL ways.

    • Hey Pat – glad you enjoyed the article.
      I totally agree with you. When you know what you want everything else pales into insignificance. Doing what needs to be done, putting in the calls, putting yourself out there becomes all part of the process of getting where you want to be.

      And I can completely appreciate how without that “known goal” we get flung into complete uncertainty as brand new horizons and possibilities open up. What we held to be true and important before is no longer there… I believe paradigm shifts can be like free-falling rollercoasters of our internal evolution!

      Off to book flights… 🙂

  4. Christy King says:

    Every year I do at least one thing that scares me a lot. Some of those things probably scare a bunch of other people (e.g. learning to ride a motorcycle) and some don’t (e.g. going to a fiber-spinning retreat), but they all scare me. Each one gets easier because I can build on my previous successes.

    • Hey Christy – I *LOVE* this. Great to be always leaning into the fear. And fear is so personal too… what terrifies one person is nothing to another, so it’s awesome you’re leaning into your personal fears and not just thrill-seeking. Kudos 🙂

  5. mita says:

    I started my blog with a very strong hunch mixed with great fear as it goes against conventional wisdom of experts and laypeople alike. And not knowing I keep going breaking the barrier of all kinds of fear. There is lot of joy on the other side of fear or rather hope and fear and big doubts. Here’s a koan that possessed me for some years, I am still spinning it…
    Peace
    http://conscious-capitalism.blogspot.com

    • Hey Mita – couldn’t agree more. I think it’s similar to how Pat described having a goal – knowing what is on the other side of fear – gives us a reason to push through it and find that joy.

      I like your concept of “conscious citizens” you share in your link. Best of luck with it… 🙂

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  7. Deborah says:

    Love Love Love this method, God Bless you! It works!

  8. Nisha Chandra says:

    Hi Laura! Great post. 🙂
    It is very true that fear is one of the major self defeating belief that hold us from being successful.I would like to complement you for your writing skill.
    Adding to your theory, I have recently read a article on fear and other things that hold us from work in accordance with our real capabilities.

    http://upsohigh.com/the-slaves-of-conditioning/

    This might be helpful to the readers as well..
    Thanks for the great post 🙂

  9. Hi Nisha – thanks for sharing. Yes, it’s true – we keep ourselves slaves to our fear, and slaves to our thoughts. In dropping the sensations associated with both, we can free ourselves… we just have to see it.
    Glad you enjoyed the article. How did you get on with using the method?

    🙂

  10. Nisha Chandra says:

    Hi Laura,I am afraid of public speaking. After reading your article I enrolled my name for a paper presentation in my college.
    Frankly I am scared to hell with just the thought of it.
    Hope it goes fine else I am coming back to you for counseling… 🙂

    • Hey Nisha – that is awesome news!
      lol – I’m here if you need support – but if you just feel that feeling of being “scared to hell” and observe it, it will leave… and you’ll completely rock the presentation…
      Great job stepping out and doing this. You’re an inspiration! 🙂

  11. Linda says:

    This is so enlightening, Laura. I’ll Bookmark it to read again and again. I’m passing it on to my new FB page also. Thanks so much.

  12. Hey – thanks so much Linda. Glad it was useful. You may want to check out my book (Hay House) as well if this resonates with you…

    Thanks so much for sharing. And hey, good luck with your new FB page!! If you share cool stuff like this it’s bound to do well… 😉 (just joking!)

  13. CJ says:

    SO glad to see you have an approach that includes being fully present with the fear. To sit with it, feel it fully without trying to control or change it. There is so much struggle, push through the fear, blast away fear etc. I have found without exception that by being with fear you see it always has had your best interest at hand and you can begin to change your relationship to it. The energy can begin to work in your favor.

    • Hey CJ – yes, it’s so true!
      I’ve also found that its not as uncomfortable when you sit with it. It’s almost like by “zooming in” and feeling it, it evaporates and lifts a veil off understanding. I don’t know about you, but I see things differently after doing this gentle work on an issue. Glad there are others out there who are game for leaning into it rather than “blasting it out!” lol.
      🙂

  14. You know, it is when we combat our fear head on, that we are in our truest nature, that of love. It is when we love ourselves enough, that we stand up and take a stand. Lovely post!

    Blessed be!

    Warmest,
    j.

  15. maria says:

    thank you, i ‘ll give it a try. it think it will work
    🙂

  16. samson says:

    fear have being the cause of many failures im many peaple’s life.

    • Ah Samson – thanks for sharing this. I wonder, could it be that underneath the surface fear there might be guilt which is weighing you down?
      The good news is whatever the feeling, if you can separate it from the “story” of what happened, its still just a feeling and you can evaporate it the same way as we describe above. The reality of this is that maybe you have reason to feel this way, or maybe you have stored emotions that make you feel this way and so have created incidents to bring this feeling to the surface. In either case, it’s ok, and its not your fault.

      The way through it is to allow these feelings to leave so you can free to be the person you really want to be. Does that make sense to you? Let me know, I’m here to help…

  17. Cme says:

    Laura,
    After reading your article, I sat down with myself and analyzed my personal fears. I realized that not only did I have my own set of fears; I had also taken on some fears from those around me. For very long, I had an inherent fear of lizards, but I have been able to overcome it to a great extent. A new realization was that on a deeper level, I have a strong fear of failure! I have been working at my current job for over eight years now. Although I keep thinking about switching, I just don’t. I feel that I have the capacity to do much more than what I get to do at my current position, but what I need to do is to overcome my fears and opt for change.

    • Great insight Cme! well done. This is half the battle – recognising what are thoughts really are… And you’re absolutely right – now you know about that fear you can lean into it and consciously choose what you actually want. Great job! 🙂

  18. […] How To Totally Rock The Things That Scare You […]

  19. Kelly says:

    I very much agree with many of your tips here. While I know it doesn’t work for everyone, every fear I’ve ever had I challenged head on. Fear of small spaces? Caving expedition! Fear of heights? Plane trip! Thanks for a great blog with more suggestions!

    • Ah brilliant Kelly! This is really awesome to hear.
      And meeting the fears head on it certainly one way that if you can handle it is fairly effective.
      What I’ve noticed is that external fears are just the outward manifestations of lots of little fears and wants within… so that’s kind of what I’m talking about in the article: to go straight to the root cause and take out all of it at the same time. You see if you lean into the fear and feel it, you may be working on a fear of heights then once you’ve evaporated that, you may notice you’re more confident in social situations too, for instance. This is because we go to the root. Anyway – hope this is helpful, and great job with the caving and flying Kelly! 😉

  20. Allan says:

    @Laura: Overcoming fear is one thing many of are not good at. And that is to our detriment because all

    fear does is to paralyze us and prevent us from making any real progress in life. However, you have

    taken a very realistic look at the whole thing and I must commend the way you broke it down. You

    spoke directly to the mind of the reader, connecting in a way that one will know that you are very sure

    of what you are talking of. Fear is part of life but as you have rightly pointed out, getting rid of these

    innate fears is crucial.

    • Hey Allan – Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I do agree that fear is part of life – in that it’s part of our journey… But in some ways (and I’m not sure if this came across in the article), it is only through dropping the fears, the illusions and the wants that we can ever hope to reach an enlightened state. I feel that dealing with fear in this way is a great tool for undoing the mind so we can see ourselves for what we truly are.
      🙂

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  26. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this article, I appreciate your shared words and wisdom.

    Please allow me to share my story:

    My biggest fear is losing all of my savings and ending up in debt, alone, in a van, down by the river, but all jokes aside, that’s legitimately where my fear took my thoughts.

    I don’t know why this fear permeates me since I require very little money to experience joy and the pleasures I enjoy in life (spending time with friends and family, hiking, learning, crochet-ing, cooking home cooked foods, and seeing new destinations out in the fresh air) are largely free and inexpensive. Additionally, I’ve never experienced any debt in my lifetime.

    But, because of this fear and my responding thoughts, I’ve taken career risks in the opposite direction: choosing unfulfilling jobs because they promised (albeit “promises”, as much as any job or employer can promise, which is based on an uncertainty of future truth/s outside of nothing more than faith) some financial security in addition to many years sacrificing much “fun” and “foolishness” in my teens and 20’s for a responsible and maxed out retirement fund.

    Step #2: Feel the Fear

    What’s funny is that, fear forces us to respond in SOME WAY. In my way, I chose to act like a little squirrel, squirreling away that which I value most, security in the form of savings and retirement funding. However, for many, those financial vehicles do not necessarily “secure” anyone fully, and since I’m not enjoying my day-to-day working, I have to ask if it’s all worth.

    What I do know is this: I will know how to respond and what to do even if I end up in debt. And in feeling my fear, moving through the feelings it exposes, and surviving, I can begin to dream once again and respond differently.

    My truth: My fear motivated me to take cautious employment moves and motivated me to invest in myself by learning and doing as much related to learning and practicing savings, retirement funding, and financial planning as possible. I cannot “unlearn” the financial lessons I’ve learned and THANKFULLY I can apply these lessons once again, and again and again, if I need to. Not only that, I do value compound interest as well, and my “hard work” will be rewarded if I stopped saving today, as much as it would reward someone who started saving at my age who would then have to save all the way through until retirement in order to “catch up” comparatively to starting in your late teens/early twenties.

    My fear has served me as a blessing and my fear of being “broke as a joke” and in “terrible debt” taught me to feel the fear, thank the fear for the choices and the motivations that resulted in my responses, and then move through the fear. Now I can dream, how can I use this financial savvy as a tool in helping me, others, and the world accomplish more for one another? I’m excited to embark on this journey.

  27. Hey Elizabeth – thanks for taking the time to share that with us. I like your approach. Very insightful! 🙂

    warm wishes
    Laura 🙂

  28. Xihla says:

    Thank you for writing on a topic that has so many of us unable to do certain things, or go certain places, or be with certain people etc.

    It can really keep one from taking the next step, or from taking any step at all.

    Life is beautiful, and it’s short and it’s meant to be awesome. So, fear out the door, and gratitude walks right in. I will not focus on what I fear, i will focus on the beauty that is my life, regardless of the issues or problems that i may have.

    And I plan on living and enjoying my life, and fear will not stop me!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Hey Xihla, thanks so much for your inspirational words. That’s so great that you’ve made this declaration about what you’re going to focus on! I love what you say about fear walks out and gratitude walks in. Brilliant!

      Keep us posted with how you get on. Would love to hear how you choose to enhance your life! 🙂

  29. Gavriel says:

    Quite true! Usually our biggest fear is the blocking rock on our path to success. Learning to face fears in a relaxed way has been the most important for me. Just toughing it out never worked.

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