Updated: Apr 10
Your thoughts are not the enemy. The fear that comes from inaction is the enemy.
Have you ever been afraid to face a fear and the result is feeling stuck in a rut?
It seems so simple to just do something different, but it's not.
It takes a few moments for some of us to realize why we are feeling a certain kind of way, and for others it may take a few days, months or even years to recover from a troubled experience.
The point of this moment together is to learn how to identify why you are feeling what you are feeling and to take 7 simple steps to navigate through the process of what to do about it to move on.
Facing our fears can be scary and at the same time, it is exactly what we must do to overcome them.
The thing is, the feeling of being stuck in a rut is solvable. The most important thing to remember is that you are not your emotions. Saying things such as I am depressed or I am anxious keeps you feeling safe in that emotion instead of doing something about it. You may feel depressed or anxious but you are not your emotions. Those emotions are like passing clouds and the way to solve them is to ask yourself- WHY am I feeling this way?
Let me know if this sounds familiar?
Some Noun, person, place or thing, happened along your day. That experience triggered something and your feelings were hurt. To not become reactive to the situation, you shrugged it off and went on with your day.
The next day or week the same thing happens again, but this time you feel worse. You don't know why because you haven't taken the time to find out why those emotions you are feeling hurt you. Instead of feeling the emotions you find your handy-dandy numbing tool.
Some avoidance techniques used to numb down your emotions are gaming, drinking, exercising, gambling, using drugs, etc...anything that requires an excessive action that directs you away from feeling the emotional and physical pain is a numbing tool.
When you shut down over an expereince that triggers us the emoitons that arise are sadness, jealousy, or anger. This is a way to protect ourselves from feeling the emotional or physical pain.
My go to numbing tool of choice is eating, specifically Cheese Puffs.
Until, I learned how to work through my fears.
Below you will find a defined list of 7 steps to solve the fear and directions on how to follow the thoughts, that lead to the fear, that prevents you from moving forward. Followed by two stories that illustrate the entire process in motion.
Solve the Fear:
1. Thoughts lead you to the fear.
The first thing to do is to take a few deep breaths for yourself. Taking a few minutes to get centered allows you to not get caught up with the crazy thoughts distracting us from what we fear.
2. Once you see the fear, you face it!
Once you are in a peaceful mind space, internally watch yourself turning to face the fear. I know it is scary, just keep breathing in and out as you allow the waves of emotions to pass through you.
3. Understand where the emotions came from.
You wll begin to feel a calmness as the thoughts move away and what you are faced with is the fear or the reality of what is.
4. As you sit in silence- Ask yourself, what can I do about this?
Here are several questions to ask yourself to begin the process.
What is it that I am afraid of here? Wait for the answers to come up. As the answers come up there may be more questions. Just take the time to answer each one of them quietly in your mind or write them out on a piece of paper, tablet or phone.
5. Take the choice to do something about it.
Taking one step in the direction of your fear will allow you to solve the problem.
6. Learn the lesson or reason.
Continue to reflect upon what brought you to this point. Are you at this moment due to action or inaction? Now you realize the effect this circumstance created in your life and know what not to do the next time.
7. Release it- Let it go.
Now that you have gained clarity and there is a solution- move on.
First example, I was flooded with many emotions over writing this blog.
I took a few deep breaths, went for a walk to clear my head and asked myself: What am I afraid of? I was afraid of sharing too much.
Then I asked myself another question: Why am I afraid? Because I am exposing deep parts of myself through sharing these life expereinces.
Then, I said to myself, that is the point. To help people by letting them know that they are not alone as they face or deal with any of the life experiences we have in common.
Second example- I was in third grade, playing outside in the schoolyard during recess the first time someone called me a Zebra. To be honest, I did not know what that meant. I mean, I knew what a Zebra was. A four legged mammal that looked like a pretty horse with stripes. What I did not know was how that related to me?
At first I was confused and then I got angry because all the other kids started pointing their fingers at me and laughing. I still did not know what was going on and I got embarrassed, then I started crying as I asked one of the kids why are you calling me a Zebra? All of those kids were pointing their fingers at me screaming, almost in unison as they answered me while still laughing; because you are white and black just like a Zebra.
It was cruel and I was crushed. I felt sad for a really long time. It affected my self-confidence, how I saw myself and how I engaged with others. I learned to adopt this Kill them with Kindness persona. I would make sure that every person I meet fell madly in love with me because I was so nice, smart, and pleasant to be with all along hoping that perhaps they would not judge me based on the color of my skin.
Do you know how exhausting it is to be that girl? I created this persona as a defense mechanism to a circumstance I had no control over. Ridiculous, right?!
I gotta tell ya, this affected me for many years. I was being judged over something I have no control over. It is DNA. I can’t change it. The thing is, I was raised in the 1970’s where parts of the South were still practicing segregation. You don’t need a history lesson from me to understand the heightened level of awareness one has as a child and still has as an adult today.
One night while brushing my teeth I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror. I remembered thinking to myself, there is nothing I can do about the color of my skin or the texture of my hair. If people are still going to judge me based on how I look, then I guess they will miss out on all this fabulousness because there is nothing I can do about what another person thinks or feels about me. I can only control what I think and feel about me and how I respond to another person.
I decided at that moment that I will continue to treat every person I meet with openness and generosity because that is who I am at my core. What another person thinks of me no longer mattered. The most important thing is what I think about myself.
These two stories are examples of not allowing our emotions to dictate how to navigate through the world.
Instead, choose to face the fear and not hide behind the thoughts that caused the fear.
Do this by taking a few deep breaths, getting centered and clear in your head before asking yourself: What are these thoughts directing me to? Allow all of the questions to be answered.
Is there a root cause? Analyze it. If there is something to solve, fix it and move on.
I hope this serves you in an uplifting and thoughtful way.
Comment below with any question you have or share how using these 7 steps helped you work through an experience. I love to hear all bout it!
Remember: when we value ourselves, we value each other.
Click here to learn more tools and gain confidence in navigating your everyday life.
Blog # 14