A few months back, I made a video about fear (if you haven’t seen it, watch the video HERE) and explained how we are actually born with only two fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of being dropped.
Every single other fear we have is learned!
We learn these fears through experiences, encounters and how we process events and information…
But like all learned behaviours, we can unlearn them. We can unlearn how to be afraid. Just like most of us have unlearned the fear of loud noises and the fear of being dropped.
But that’s easier said then done.
Fear is very powerful. It sneaks into our subconscious and spreads its roots with lightning speed, often times, without us even realizing it. All of a sudden, something we once enjoyed, scares us half to death.
I vividly remember experiencing this kind of newborn fear when I was a little girl.
My parents had always been involved with our church and by the time I was 11 years old, I was the lector for the First Reading during Sunday mass. It was something I was very proud of and I loved it. I loved being in front of people, speaking to them, connecting with them…
I would spend all week preparing and rehearsing, to make sure I sounded just right and I connected with my audience.
Then one Sunday, after delivering what I thought was a great First Reading, I overheard a member of the communion group say they were surprised that the Priest had agreed to put such a young person in charge of such an important task.
Somehow, in my 11 year old brain, I interpreted that as: I’m not good enough to be a lector!
In the week that followed, I barely rehearsed my Reading. I would find every excuse not to.
The truth was, that suddenly, I was afraid. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough, I was afraid people didn’t like me or didn’t connect with me.
Fear had snuck into my subconscious.
When Sunday morning rolled around, I was petrified. I remember sitting in church, sweating, clinching my fists, wishing for all of this to be over soon. The same moments that I relished a week earlier, I now dreaded. The exalted feeling I once had moments before stepping up to the microphone, was replaced by sheer fear.
I was so afraid that I don’t remember how that Reading went. It’s all a blur.
A few weeks days, I told my parents I no longer wanted to be a part of mass.
I wish I would have told them the real reason why, so they could have reasoned with me, but I didn’t. I made up some random excuses, a mixture of school projects and figure skating practises… And I never read at mass again.
It’s quite sad if you think about it, that I let me interpretation of what someone said, turn into such powerful fear that I began to fear something that I actually enjoyed tremendously!
But now tell me, how many of you have experienced a similar situation?
You know you’re good at something, you enjoy whatever it is you are good at, but then you allow one small seed of doubt, one interpretation of a comment or one negative thought, completely derail you.
Fear being the incredible opportunist that it is, sneaks in and voilà! you are now afraid or dreading something you once enjoyed/loved.
So how do you turn that around? How do you go back to enjoying/loving something you’re now afraid of?
You reverse fear’s mind trick!
When your mind starts to wander and you begin to feel that first tingle of fear, take a deep breath and bring yourself back to a time when you weren’t fearful, a time when you enjoyed that particular activity. Allow that feeling to play out in your mind.
Remember everything you can about that joyful moment and play it out like a movie. Remember the good emotions, the thrill, the connection, the enthusiasm, the excitement, the love.
Don’t allow any negative thought to take part in your movie.
You are the director. You choose how this movie begins, unfolds and ends.
The more you allow yourself to go back to those happy feelings, the more fear will loossen it’s grip on you.
The important thing to remember, is to never let fear take over you to a point where you give up something you once enjoyed.
I greatly regretted giving up reading at church. It may not seem like much, but it was a big thing for me. It was my first experience at public speaking and it took me a long time to get back to something I realized I actually loved doing.
Fear got in my way and took many opportunities away from me. Because I let it.
But now I know better and I hope that you do to.
When fear rears its ugly head, know that you are more powerful than it is and that whatever positive, impactful and loving feelings you have, can overcome it.
Fear is darkness and you are light.
Don’t be afraid to shine!
P.S. If you want to learn more about conquering fears and reaching your full potential, click the pink button below and get started with The Ignition Toolbox. This ebook will teach you how to transform your life and reach for success in only a few minutes a day.