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fear, you will not defeat me

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If I had to choose one thing in my life that holds me back from doing and being all that I want to do and be, it undoubtedly would be fear.

Fear works 24 hours a day to keep us living in our comfort zones – that place where you dream of doing something bigger and more fulfilling, but instead of taking action, think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t or couldn’t.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to travel overseas, but fear whispers in your ear, “You don’t have the money! You can’t travel alone as a woman. What about missing Easter with your family? Good daughters don’t do that.”Or maybe you have a secret passion for starting your own non-profit or LLC, but once again fear yells, “YOU WANT TO DO WHAT? HA! Who do you think you are….Oprah? No, no, you will fail at that, babygirl. Keep living in your comfort zone where you know exactly what your life will look like all the time. It may be unfulfilling, but hey, it’s comfortable.” Or maybe you’ve been waiting to tell someone your true feelings about them, but then your fear gives you all the reasons why you would never be enough for someone else: you’re not pretty enough, interesting enough, smart enough, good enough, and no one else has ever declared you “date-able.”

Fear is a very limiting thing because we accept our fear, which is basically a long list of our insecurities, to be TRUTH, when in reality, it is nothing but a lie. And once we accept fear as truth, it is extremely difficult to move passed it because now it has become a part of our identity. How can you possibly change something that you ARE innately. I watched this happen with my own mother. She was such an incredible, beautiful person with so much to offer the world, but she struggled greatly with alcoholism and bi-polar disorder. And every meeting she went to, the first words out of her mouth were, “Hi, my name is Barbara. I am an alcoholic and I am bi-polar.” I heard her say this time and time again. Alcoholism and bi-polar became who she was instead of something she struggled with. Once it became a part of her identity, it was extremely challenging to get her to overcome her addiction and discover ways to live a good life with bi-polar disorder. Outside of addiction and mental disorder, I continue to see this every day in myself and in the young women I work with both in workshops and coaching sessions. Fear exists in all of us and attempts to trick us into believing terrible lies about ourselves.

So what can we do?

The key to moving passed fear is to first name what your real fear is. So often we think we know what we’re afraid of, but usually our real fear lives someone deeper. A great tool in unraveling our fear is to keep asking why.

For example, I’m really afraid to go on this date. Why? Because what if he/she doesn’t like me? Why is that scary? If he/she doesn’t like me, then that will make me sad and question myself. Why will it make you sad? How will you question yourself? I will feel like I’m not pretty or interesting enough. I will question whether or not I have worth or if anyone will ever like me.
What we think our fear is: going on a date
Real fear: not being enough; not having worth; not being liked for my authentic self.

Once we know what our real fear is, we can begin to see it as a lie. How? We can begin to disprove our fear as truth by thinking of at least three ways we have proved the opposite to be true. For example, the opposite of not being enough, not having worth, and not being liked is to be enough, have worth, and be liked. What are three times in my life when I have felt worthy, liked, and that I was enough?

  1. I felt worthy when my last boyfriend/girlfriend told me he/she loved me. While the relationship didn’t last, I know we were in love, and that made me feel really good.

  2. I felt really liked last weekend when I went to the grocery store and ended up talking with the man working at the deli for half an hour about our love for meats. We were laughing, and sharing secret recipes for how to cook certain meats. I can’t talk to most people about this, so I left really liked and appreciated for an interest of mine.

  3. After college I applied for a job I really wanted, and after a lot of preparation, I ended up being offered the position. The woman interviewing me told me I was the best candidate she had seen in years. In that moment, I felt like I was more than enough for the position and the company, and it felt wonderful.

Disproving our fears to be truths is extremely liberating because we begin to see for ourselves that they are lies; they are lies we tell ourselves over and over again. This does not serve us! This does not lead us to where we ultimately want to go, and therefore, we must choose to let go of our fears. When we do let them go (which tends to be a daily practice if not hourly!), we can open space in our minds and hearts for all of our dreams. Next time you hear your fear talking, write down what it’s saying, and then DISPROVE IT. Say, “Fear, I’m gonna prove right now that you’re nothing but a liar!” Clear that space in your minds.

Ask yourself, what could you create space for in your life if you let go of your fears? Write down all those dreams. Then ask yourself, what do you want more of: the life of fears or the life of fulfilling your dreams? What serves you & the world more?

“As we let out own light shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

Always Learning,

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Piper