Dealing with FEAR

 

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Life Coaching brings an external resource to your aid. It offers a framework which helps us to maintain focus and positive energy - to make better life choices. That's why coaching works so well.

But you can achieve some of the benefits by applying coaching principles for yourself. Here's my 4-step system for you to use:

 

1. Magic Wand


Set aside fear and doubts and pick up your magic wand. Decide what's going to happen when you waive it - what do you want? Ignore "reality" and suspend disbelief. Stop being "realistic"! Realise that your magic wand will make all fears unfounded - ask yourself what you would have if you knew you could not fail, and that no harm would come to you - with complete certainty. Take time over this.

 

By de-coupling fear and limiting beliefs in this way, you can connect with what you really want - not just with what you suppose you might be able to have - "things being what they are". Now you have your dream. Actually, there's lots of work you can do to make sure you have the right one, but this is good enough for now in the space available. Write it down, and do not permit yourself to downgrade it! Consider it a tablet of stone.

 

2. "Reality Check"


Now you have your immutable dream, re-connect your fears and "what you know about the world". List the fears you have in complete detail and with complete honesty. Include the things that you would never dream of admitting to anyone else. Write them out in full - don't just jot a couple of words. For example, don't write "fear of public speaking" write "I cannot speak in public because I fear that I will make a dreadfully embarrassing mistake and that people will openly laugh in my face, and I will become hysterical and cry, then leave the stage in tears". Go on - go nuts!

 

3. F.E.A.R. Assessment


Now look at your list of fears, but from an external perspective - pretend someone else wrote them, and they've asked you - as a wise friend - for your feedback. For each fear, assess it's rationality. In many cases, you'll find yourself smiling at how unrealistic the fears are. Others will still seem real enough. Give each fear a score from 1 to 10 - where 1 means this fear has evaporated and 10 means it's still very frightening. This exercise will give you a much more rational assessment of your living space, and of your potential for change.

 

4.Start Walking


Here's a hard part, and it's one where your coach is invaluable. You have to act in ways which your fears will not like. You have to do stuff you just don't do. This is where choice is your enemy and compulsion would be your friend.

Weekly coaching sessions are - among other things - a mild form of pressure or compulsion, but you can emulate this by fixing a meeting with yourself once a week. Put a date and time in your diary and don't over-book it. Get yourself a quiet venue. In your meeting, evaluate your new dream and look at what you did last week, and what you're going to do next week to make it happen. Feel the fears, and recognise their power. Then recognise that fears are False Expectations Appearing Real - crush them and do what needs doing anyway. This will feel wrong. You'll resist is strongly, but give it all you've got. Coaches have a raft of tools to help here, and an impartial external perspective.

 

But you can meet up with a friend who is also trying to make something wonderful happen, and you can buddy each other. If you can find a group of 3 or more - that's OK too. (my coaching circles are a great way to do this, by the way - and see the tele-seminars item on the left).

 

Remember that permanently changing your life is a significant project, requiring a degree of discomfort, lots of action, some failure and huge determination over time. All of these are reasons why we fail so often - and reasons why people with coaches do so much better. But with this 4-step system and especially with your own support group around you, you can make it happen.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Habits of Highly Self-Aware People

You won’t find happiness or success unless you find yourself first

 
Nick Wignall

In a recent podcast interview with Tim Ferris, Brene Brown made a fascinating claim: The reason there’s so much hate and unhappiness in the world is because people lack self-awareness.

It’s a bold statement, but the reasoning behind it is solid:

  • We all experience pains and traumas of one kind or another as children, leaving us vulnerable and afraid.
  • To protect ourselves, we develop ‘emotional armor’ in the form of psychological defense mechanisms. We use sarcasm, for example, to avoid being vulnerable.
  • Even though these defense mechanisms may have been useful at a young age, by the time we reach adulthood, their side effects are seriously sabotaging our lives in the form of broken relationships, addictions, narcissism, and even violence.
  • These unhelpful behaviors persist and grow because we don’t see them. And so we plod along in a daze of unhappy denial, continuing to make ourselves and the people around us miserable.

 

Even if you were fortunate enough not to have suffered any major traumas as a child, everybody has vulnerabilities, insecurities, and emotional blindspots. And at a certain point, it’s impossible to grow into higher levels of happiness and success if those insecurities — and the defense mechanisms resulting from them — go unaddressed.

 

As Tim Ferris said in his interview with Brene: You’re going to suffer either way. The only question is whether you do it in the darkness or in the light. While facing up to the bright light of self-awareness isn’t easy, it’s possible for anyone. Because…

 

Fundamentally, self-awareness isn’t a trait you’re born with; it’s a set of habits you can learn to cultivate.

 

In my work as a psychologist, I get to see the full spectrum of self-awareness — from primitive denial to hard-earned self-reflection and wisdom. And among those who have achieved a high level of self-awareness, I’ve observed a handful of common habits and practices.

In the rest of this article, we’ll look at these 5 habits of highly self-aware people and learn how we can cultivate them in our own lives. Whether your goal is to achieve a little more happiness and peace of mind in your life or bolster your performance and effectiveness in your work, improving your self-awareness is key.

 


1. They listen more than they talk.

 

When it comes to self-awareness, you can’t simply think your way into it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with deliberate self-reflection. In fact, it probably will facilitate self-awareness to a degree. But it won’t be sufficient for building self-awareness because we’re social creatures who learn primarily through each other.

 

From babbling out our first words as toddlers to graduating from college, most of our learning happens socially — toddlers imitate their parents just as students imitate their mentors and advisors. Even the notion of the solitary sage, alone in a tower studying dusty tomes is actually highly social — books are other people’s voices and ideas made permanent!

 

The quest for self-knowledge is a fundamentally social endeavor.

 

But simply being around other people won’t do the trick. True self-awareness comes from genuine interaction with other people, from conversation. But to get there you need to be able to listen. To really listen. And real listening can be a surprisingly difficult thing to do.

 

The key to gaining meaningful self-awareness through listening is to manage your own thoughts during a conversation.

 

It’s hard to truly listen when you’re formulating your own ideas and only halfway paying attention to theirs. Which means building the habit of being a good listener is mostly about learning to undo unhelpful habits.

 

Practice letting go of your own narcissistic impulses and cultivating curiosity instead. Ironically, by bending your attention outward, you’re far more likely to stumble on something useful about yourself.

 

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

― Stephen R. Covey

 

2. They’re curious about their own minds.

 

Self-aware people have a habit of thinking about their own patterns of thought.

Just like a good scientist is curious about the world and lets their natural curiosity and observations guide later theorizing and experimentation, self-aware people have a curiosity about their own minds and inner world. For example:

  • They find it curious that guilt was the first emotion they experienced after getting cut off on the freeway rather than anger or fear.
  • They notice a pattern of pessimistic thinking in certain contexts and optimism in others.
  • They wonder about the overarching beliefs that motivate their behaviors.

 

Now, before you rush to assume that maybe some people are just more curious and self-reflective, while others are more outward focused and practical, let me tell you a little bit about my work as a therapist…

 

My entire job description basically comes down to helping people become more curious about their inner lives. Because when you’re curious you begin to see patterns, and when you see patterns you begin to understand, and once you really understand, only then is it possible to build lasting change.

 

Of course, some people do walk into my office with higher and lower levels of baseline self-curiosity. But most of them don’t have a ton of it. And yet, we’re still able to make good progress because curiosity about oneself is something that can be built with time and practice.

The trick to cultivating self-curiosity is to realize that we’re all naturally curious — including about ourselves — but for many people, that innate curiosity has been suppressed by a competing habit of self-criticism.

 

It’s hard to be curious about yourself when you’re constantly judging yourself.

 

If you want to alleviate the overly-judgmental attitude toward your own mind and allow your natural curiosity to rise up, practice being more gentle with yourself. Watch your habits of self-talk and practice re-framing the way you talk to yourself in gentler, more compassionate terms.

This doesn’t mean becoming irrationally positive and naive. It’s about being realistic and kind to yourself. It’s about treating yourself the same way you would treat a good friend: with gentleness and honesty.

 

Cultivate gentler self-talk and you’ll make space for your natural curiosity to take root. And greater self-awareness won’t be far behind.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.

― Plutarch

 

3. They look for emotional blindspots.

 

We all have emotional blindspots — parts of our emotional lives that, because they’re especially painful, we tend to ignore. Often, we’ve been ignoring them for so long that we don’t even know they’re blind spots.

 

Here’s an example:

I had a client once, we’ll call James. James came to see me because he was getting into a lot of conflict at work but he didn’t know why. He knew that things were tense at work and often people seemed to not want to work with him, but he wasn’t aware of any obvious reason.

In our first session, James told me (half sarcastically) that his boss had told him to be sure and mention is “passive-aggressive streak.” I asked James what he thought of that and he simply shrugged his shoulders.

 

Over the next few meetings, it became clear to me that James was experiencing a lot of anger and frustration at work. But interestingly, he wasn’t very aware of it. He acknowledged getting “annoyed” from time to time, but he never once even used the word “angry” to describe himself at work — even though he was often describing a situation where almost anyone would probably acknowledge being angry.

 

I also learned that growing up James had an alcoholic father who used to rage and be violent when he was drinking. After a few difficult conversations on the topic, James began to see that, because he was afraid of turning out like his dad, he had built up the habit of burying his anger — sometimes with sarcasm and humor, sometimes with distractions, and often by simply calling it by a different name like “stress” or “annoyed,” a common issue called intellectualized emotion.

To his credit, once James realized this connection — that avoiding anger was a leftover coping mechanism from childhood that was seriously impacting his life — he began making major changes. Most importantly, he acknowledged anger as an emotional blindspot and began proactively looking for it.

 

For example, anytime he caught himself describing how he felt as “annoyed” or “stressed,” he used that as a cue to ask whether there wasn’t really some stronger anger behind those descriptions.

Not only did this help James work out a lot of his issues on the job, but he reported with much pride and enthusiasm how it had helped in all sorts of other areas of his life. In particular, he described how the habit of looking for emotional blindspots had helped him realize that he was also, to a lesser extent, avoiding anxiety in his relationship with his wife.

 

Whenever he felt anxious in the relationship, he had a habit of withdrawing and becoming distant, which was slowly taking a toll on his marriage. But his newfound habit of looking for emotional blindspots lead him to this and he was able to work through it pretty quickly, the result being a surge in intimacy and satisfaction in his marriage.

 

It can be scary to even acknowledge that you have emotional blind spots, much less have the courage to face up to them and investigate them. But the self-awareness and ultimately freedom that comes from doing so can be life-changing.

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

― Carl Jung

 

4. They ask for feedback (and take it well).

 

People who are genuinely self-aware have the humility to understand that they can’t always see themselves objectively. And that often the best way to be more objective about yourself is through the lens of other people.

 

The trick here is that there is no trick: If you want to see yourself through other people’s eyes you must ask. It’s that simple.

  • Are you frequently getting into conflict at work? Identify a co-worker whom you respect and ask for their honest opinion about the situation.
  • Does your spouse keep telling you that you don’t listen? Ask some else in your life you’re close to (parent, best friend, mentor) whether you can come across as not listening well.
  • Or maybe the situation is more general: Maybe you just feel a little dissatisfied with your life and suspect that it has something to do with you but you can’t put your finger on it. Again, look for someone in your life who knows you well whom you respect and ask them if they see any patterns or tendencies that could be a cause.

What gets in the way of most of us asking for good feedback is that we’re afraid of getting uncomfortable news: We’re afraid to hear that we’re not as good a salesman (or lover) as we think.

 

Asking for feedback isn’t rocket science. But it is scary.

 

The most direct way through this fear is to ask yourself straight-up: Would I rather have a small but forceful blast of criticism now or years and decades of nagging self-doubt and underhanded criticism that comes from avoiding facing my shortcomings?

 

But even if you steel yourself and decide to ask for honest feedback, you have to be ready to take it well. And taking feedback well means managing your defensiveness.

 

No matter how self-aware or emotionally mature you think you are, getting criticism always hurts. And anytime we get hurt — physically or emotionally — we tend to do one of two things: fight or flee. Either we try to overwhelm our own painful feeling by making the other person look bad (fight) or we dismiss their feedback out of hand as invalid (flee).

 

In either case, we’re doing ourselves a double disservice:

  1. You’re not really thinking about and absorbing the feedback. And if you’re not doing that, well, what’s the point!
  2. When you get defensive, you teach other people that you can’t take criticism well. This means that in the future when there’s a piece of feedback you really need, people in your life are more likely to either withhold that feedback or lie and say something to make you feel better because they’re afraid of you getting defensive.

To sum up, one of the best ways to learn more about yourself and improve self-awareness is to get objective feedback from other people. But in order to do this, you must be willing to tolerate the discomfort of receiving criticism and work to avoid defensiveness at all costs.

You can’t achieve excellence in life if you fear opinion.

― Janna Cachola

 

5. They reflect on their values.

 

Highly self-aware people have a habit of regularly reflecting on and considering their values. While they’re always trying to be aware of what they might be unconsciously avoiding, they’re also striving to be clear about what they want to move toward. But this can be surprisingly difficult…

For one thing, it’s easy to move toward things that look and feel important or valuable but may not be, perhaps because the tradeoffs would be too great:

  • Chasing the next promotion or salary bump at work, even though it means spending even less time with your family and friends.
  • Enrolling in grad school (and taking out another $80K in student loans) because you’re not sure what else to do and your parents will be impressed because, hey, more education!
  • Buying that new iPhone because it’s awesome and surely it will make you more productive even though you’re not saving for retirement at all.

The point is, the line between genuine values and false values can be surprisingly thin. And even if it is clear, the gravity of immediate wants and desires is often far stronger than that of long-term values and aspirations. All of which means…

 

It’s essential to regularly clarify what we’re really chasing after in life.

 

I had a client once who, in order to make sure her marriage was healthy and going in the right direction, created a little ritual with her husband:

 

Each year on their anniversary, they went out to a nice dinner and checked in with each other about A) what they thought was going really well in their relationship, B) what they thought needed work, and C) what their dreams together were.

 

It’s a great example of a small but powerful habit that increases self-awareness about values and has a real, measurable impact on quality of life.

 

If this whole discussion of reflecting on your values sounds lofty and complex and maybe a little intimidating, start with a bucket list. Set aside half an hour some Saturday morning and sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea, a pen, and a blank sheet of paper. And just start jotting down things you’d love to accomplish or learn or do or generally dream about.

This is a great exercise to prime the pump on values clarification and get you thinking more about what’s really important to you in life. In fact, just being aware of your values and reflecting on them from time to time is a huge step toward realizing them.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

― Michelangelo Buonarroti


All you need to know

 

Lasting happiness and success require self-awareness. If you aren’t aware of the emotional baggage and blind spots holding you back, how can you hope to achieve your potential?

Thankfully, self-awareness is a skill that can be cultivated with practice and good habits:

 

                           Listen more than you talk.

 

Glad To Be Alive The Path To Adulthood – Healing The Pain Becoming The Adult Overcoming Loneliness – Part Two How To Overcome Loneliness How We End Up In Misery How To Deal With Loneliness Emotional Abuse Test Emotional Health – What Millions Still Don’t Know Emotional Insecurity Help You Have Emotion You Have Beliefs You Have Choice You Are Enough You Are Loved You Have A Heart

EMOTIONAL HEALTH –

The degree to which you open up to and embrace the life energy that you use as raw material for your thoughts and feelings.

EMOTIONAL HEALING –

Removing the gunk that clogs up and inhibits the flow of life energy moving through you.

EMOTION –

A fusion of thought and feeling that expands your consciousness.

 

 

 

Conquering Fear

 

Come to the edge, he said.
They said: "We are afraid".
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them... and they flew.


- Christopher Logue

life coaching UK

 

FEAR.............

 

- it captures three elemental things about the human condition:

1. How FEAR keeps us in small lives

2. How COMPULSION is an audacious way to overcome fear.

3. How our fears turn out to be unfounded

 

For me, this is very powerful stuff, and it sums up what I see most in my coaching practice.

What keeps many of us in small lives is fear. And what lies beyond those small lives is not what we're afraid of - but wonderful things - among them the realisation that we ourselves are wonderful. But the fence of fear is often real enough to keep us in the small lives and away from the wonderful ones for all of the years we live.

 

Have you ever heard about this acronym of FEAR?

False
Expectations
Appearing
Real

I like it, and the next time you feel fear, I suggest you recite it to yourself.

The fears which keep us where we are do not generally reflect reality - they reflect the internal models of reality we hold in our heads. They don't really exist - so we are held captive by imaginary walls.

 

African lions, tigers and elephants are caught by men holding up large sheets of cloth. The animals see those sheets as impenetrable walls, and so feel they have nowhere to run except into the waiting cages. If those animals knew about the nature of the cotton walls, their actions and their outcomes would be entirely different! But they don't know - and their fear prevents them from finding out.

 

So - fear is a hugely powerful limiter on our actions and our lives. So - what's to be done?

Well, the second element I drew from the quote was compulsion, and it's an interesting one. This is not normally a tool we use on adults to help them out, but in the quote - fear was overcome by the removal of choice. He pushed them! He removed their choice to stand back in fear of falling, and he pushed them out of their comfort zone, and into the unknown. Once there, they discovered that their fears were unfounded - and that they had wings. But their own resources would not have allowed them to make that discovery alone - because they were ruled by fear. An external resource was necessary to make the jump - literally.

Of course, we do use compulsion - or something very close - on adults in their lives to make them accomplish big things.

 

Think of your job. Do you have any real choice about showing up each morning? Can you leave when you like? If the phone rings - can you safely ignore it? When your boss gives you a new task to do - do you have the option to decline it? Conventional employment amounts to a large and sturdy framework in which you - the employee - are compelled to behave in numerous ways in order to accomplish what they pay you for.

 

This is why you accomplish so much at work - you can't do otherwise and expect to keep your job. Of course, you may enjoy it - in parts at least - but it is the removal of choice which keeps you focused on the task in hand for eight hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year - and for 30 years or more. Now that's an impressive investment!

 

Compare that to your efforts at building a better life for yourself. You have limited time, many other pressures and there is no compulsion. We have choices - and we tend to choose not to do a whole raft of things which would turn our lives around. This doesn't make us evil, of course - it makes us busy human beings in a modern world.

 

 

Good luck!

 

 

 
 
Skills and methods to OVERCOME fear.
 
 
Ten ways to fight your fears
  1. Take time out. It's impossible to think clearly when you're flooded with fear or anxiety. ...
  2. Breathe through panic. If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it. ...
  3. Face your fears. ...
  4. Imagine the worst. ...
  5. Look at the evidence. ...
  6. Don't try to be perfect. ...
  7. Visualise a happy place. ...
  8. Talk about it.

 

How do you overcome fear?
AWARE is an acronym standing for:
  1. A: Accept the anxiety. Don't try to fight it.
  2. W: Watch the anxiety. Just watch it and when you notice it, scale your level of fear and start to breathe longer on the out-breath.
  3. A: Stands for 'Act normally'. ...
  4. R: Repeat the above steps in your mind if necessary.
  5. E: Expect the best.

 

How do I deal with fear and anxiety?
In summary
  1. Practice stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or aerobic exercise.
  2. Shift your focus to the positive emotions in daily life.
  3. Work to identify meaning and purpose in your life.
  4. Get support from others.
  5. Go for a walk or run in a park.

 

How do you get rid of internal fears?
How to Start Overcoming Fear, Right Now
  1. Awareness. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to be aware that your fears are causing havoc in your life. ...
  2. Identify. Get specific about what exactly you're afraid of. ...
  3. Curiosity. ...
  4. The Now. ...
  5. EFT. ...
  6. Sedona Method. ...
  7. The Work. ...
  8. Hypnosis.

 

Can meditation overcome fear?
Lean In. The practice of meditation is meant to be practical—helping us move through our days with a touchstone of peace and mindfulness. As with any emotion, meditation can help stabilize us in the face of fear to help us understand it more clearly. ... Check in with your emotions throughout your day.

3 Ways To Meditate Fear Away - Gaiam

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/3-ways-to-meditate-fear-away

 

How can I be fearless?
Here are some very specific actions to show you how to be fearless.
  1. Stay open to all possibilities. Let go of outcomes. ...
  2. Embrace change. Even change that appears negative. ...
  3. 3. Make plans, but make them loosely. ...
  4. Write a mission statement. ...
  5. Find mentors. ...
  6. Challenge yourself. ...
  7. Think big. ...
  8. Create partnerships.
 
What is the difference between anxiety and fear?
 
There is a clear and present object of the fear. Although the focus of the response is different (real vs. imagined danger), fear and anxiety are interrelated. When faced with fear, most people will experience the physical reactions that are described under anxiety. Fear causes anxiety, and anxiety can cause fear.May 4, 2018
 
What is fear in psychology?
 
Psychology of Phobias. ... A phobia is a twisting of the normal fear response. The fear is directed toward an object or situation that does not present a real danger. The sufferer recognizes that the fear is unreasonable, yet cannot help the reaction.Apr 26, 2018
 
What causes fear?
 
Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. ... An irrational fear is called a phobia.
Search for: What causes fear?
 
How do you conquer anxiety?
How to calm anxiety in the moment
  1. Reset your mind by focusing on another sensation, like the feel of the ground under your feet.
  2. Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are rational.
  3. Breathe deeply, starting at the bottom of your stomach.
  4. Find a quiet space and talk to yourself, using calming and encouraging words.

 

 

 

Coping with Fear: Face It, Understand It, Overcome It

How lessons from Buddhism and literature can help us overcome our fears.

Posted Aug 24, 2017

 

Buddhist encyclopedia/Public Domain
The Buddha meditates under the bodhi tree while demons assail him on all sides.
Source: Buddhist encyclopedia/Public Domain
 

A number of years ago, halfway up a forty-foot ranger tower, I discovered my fear of heights. One minute I was busily chatting with one of my daughters as we trudged up the wooden steps. I paused for a breath, looked around, and realized we were high above the treetops. There was nothing between us and the ground but some weathered wooden posts. The next moment I was unable to move. This was my first and thankfully last experience of a being sideswiped by a fear reaction so intense it turned my legs to stone.    read more....