Fear…the other nasty, four letter word

For the past couple of weeks, one my beautiful best friends and I have been having an ongoing conversation about fear and how it can wreak havoc in your life and hold you back from getting what you really want.

For her, right now it’s a job she hates but gives her too many of the things she needs and wants. It’s a means to an end. Regardless, she’s terrified to leave the safety net she’s built. She’s scared to take a risk and a leap of faith to see if there’s something better out there. And, to complicate things, she doesn’t even know what job she would be happy doing. Fear is holding her back from doing what is required to be happy and it’s leaving her with distaste in her mouth and resentment in her soul.

For another gorgeous friend of mine, it’s the fear of being alone. Recently out of a long-term relationship, being alone is turning her emotions upside down. She’s in a panicked search for someone to fill the void; serial dating and having flings that leave her high on emotional comfort for a moment in time but over the long-term, leave her empty and longing for something more. Fear is leaving her desperate and emotionally overloaded.

For me, my dream is to be an outrageously successful author and I am afraid I just don’t have what it takes. I am terrified I am not a good enough writer, that I won’t be able to commit and see the project through to the end, and/or that my book idea will be a huge flop. Plus, this has always been my “ultimate” plan so if this falls through, then what? Fear is shutting down my creativity and debilitating me with writer’s block.

Fear…the other nasty four letter word. It holds us back from going after what we really want in life whether it’s in our career, our love life, or our dreams. It’s a paralyzing emotion that tweaks at our deepest insecurities and exploits them making them feel larger than life and overwhelming.

So how do we confront our fears and overcome them?

My take on it: in short (and kind of corny), we need to face them head on and never look back; grab the bull by the horns and hold on for the ride.

For my friend who hates her job, I suggested she start creating her “dream” job by reading job advertisements and pulling out titles and responsibilities/tasks that make her heart sing and that she thinks sound fun; to set a date by which she needs to have another job; and to start applying and interviewing for jobs immediately – even if she doesn’t take one right away. Lucky for her, she recently took a one-day workshop on finding and creating dreams that got her mojo going; it inspired her and fired her up! She’s armed and dangerous – fear should watch out!

For my friend who’s aching for true love to fill her up and make her spirits rise, I encouraged her to face her fear and to purposely choose to stay alone; to find love within herself; to become enthralled with her own inner beauty and awesomeness…so she could share that with a partner rather than trying to fill herself up by him. And so that she could trust herself explicitly that she’d always drop a douche bag in lieu of settling. When a woman is held hostage by the fear of being alone, she will often choose the relationship (however lacking it is) over her own happiness and ultimate relationship dreams. And there’s nothing worse than watching a friend you love and admire get used and abused by a rotten partner. Choosing to be alone and focus on building her own self-love is not an easy thing for her (or any woman) but she’s gone out and met a few new gal pals that are helping her through the emotional rollercoaster – so fear better look out!

So what advice would I give to myself? To sit down and start writing. To let go of the hopes and plans for the outcome; to just start writing for the sheer love it. To face my fear head on and to trust that in following my dream and passion, success that I can’t even begin to imagine will follow. So…I got me a new notepad stashed by the bedside – fear best run, I got me a great pen!

What fears have paralyzed you in your life and how have you overcome them?  

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