We’ve all heard it at one time or another – the voice that whispers in our ear and tells us we aren’t smart enough, or creative enough – or that we’ll fail, or worst of all, that we don’t deserve the something we know we want.
Having been intimate with the “fear voice” myself, I came up with some ways to help myself (and hopefully you) fight back……
1.) Create a character that illustrates how the voice of fear feels in you. And when you hear the voice of fear, greet it: “Oh, hello Cruella, it’s you again. What’s up?” Creating a character helps you separate the creative part of yourself from the part of you that’s afraid. Fears come from an instinctual part of the brain that seeks to avoid risk at any cost. That’s why it’s important to separate it from the place of creativity, dreams and inner wisdom.)
2.) After hearing the voice of fear say something like: “you’re going to fall flat on your face” or “no one will like your ideas”, ask your rational self: “Can I be absolutely sure that this thought is true?” (Because in most cases, what the voice of fear is saying isn’t true. The voice of fear is irrational and overprotective.
3.) Stay focused and continue to think it through to the end. Fear holds us hostage, making threats that if you do “X”, a disastrous outcome will occur. So take it one step ahead of the fear. Using your creativity, imagine how you’d handle fear’s projected outcome, and evaluate just how bad it would really be.
Keep shrugging your shoulders and ask “so what?” again and again. For example, the voice of fear tells you that your request for a raise will be turned down. This is when you ask yourself, “So if I was turned down, so what? Then what?”
You’ll probably hear yourself thinking something like, “Well, I’d be disappointed, and I’d think about whether that means I need to change jobs.” You’ve just taken a great deal of power away from your fear.
Or, if that outcome still feels super scary, and your next answer to “so what?” is “I’d feel horribly embarrassed around my boss every time I saw her!” Then ask the question again: “So I’d feel embarrassed and awkward, then what?” Keep following the fear through to the end. You’ll find your resiliency and sense of perspective as you keep asking, “So what?”
Having done the preliminary footwork, it’s time to take affirmative action!
(4.) Compliment the fear. That’s right – stroke it’s ego before you prepare to kick its butt to the curb. “Wow, Cruella – THAT was good! In fact one of your best – you put a lot of work into that one! You almost had me believing you there with that one.”
(5.) Prove your competency and capability to be the bigger voice and take charge person. “Thanks for bringing that to my attention Cruella, but you don’t need to worry. I’ve thought about it and think I’ve got it handled. What you’re so concerned about probably won’t happen, but if it does, I’m strong enough to deal with it. Trust me.”
(6.) Trust yourself. Trust your heart, your inner wisdom, your intuition. You cannot be in a state of fear and trust at the same time. They can’t co-exist – one will always blot out the other. So decide which you will feed and nurture. Your trusting self or your fearful self?
And if all else fails, just accept that fear is nothing more than a cautionary voice in your life right now. Let it be there, but don’t let it be in control. Let it be there, listen to it even, but don’t take direction from it or stop moving forward because of it.
As I read somewhere, “Courage is nothing more than fear that has said its prayers.”