For most of my life I’ve kept myself small. When fear came up I’d do all I could to stop myself feeling it as it was so uncomfortable. I’d create stories I’d tell myself about the type of person I was and what I could achieve, I’d avoid certain situations and opportunities so that I didn’t have to go through the experience of extreme discomfort and even terror. I kept myself small and limited.
Of course there were times I stepped out of my comfort zone. One being the decision to train to teach. Yes I loved my subject and I felt drawn to learning how to teach it and through a number of synchronistic events, much to my amazement, I found myself on a prestigious teaching programme. The joy of that achievement was swiftly replaced with extreme fear from the actual act of getting in the classroom and the daunting experience of pretending I knew what I was doing in front of a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds. So many times I cried on the way to my college work placement. I lived in a constant state of fear. So many times I was going to give up – such was the challenge of standing up, teaching content I hadn’t come across before and managing a lively class of teenagers, most of whom seemed pretty uninterested in the subject. I was mentally and physically exhausted. But I kept going and eventually achieved my dream.
I felt I had really achieved something. For me. I felt empowered.
Everything I wanted was on the other side of fear.
The thing is, when you sit with the fear, when you come to realise that it’s keeping you small, you may find it’s stopping you from speaking your truth, from aligning with your heart’s desires, from taking up opportunities offered to you that could make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. Sometimes the only thing to do is to change your mindset and do things differently. Make that decision. Take the plunge and move through the fear. You will be very glad that you did.
‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make’ - Lewis Carroll.
If not now, when?
It took a great deal of courage for me to push through the fear of driving my car up to Scotland, board a ferry and travel to Barra, one of the Outer Hebridean islands. From Essex, this is quite a distance! I was excited at the prospect, I wanted the independence and freedom of travelling under my own steam, at my own pace - yet navigating my way on motorways, especially around Glasgow, and finding my way to Oban and boarding a ferry, built up a huge amount of anxiety in my mind. But once I made the decision to go, and actually tried, I found the journey less intense than expected and I felt strong and exhilarated after the most amazing holiday I could ever have imagined. A journey I have since repeated and plan to do many times again. I have fallen in love with these magical islands.
Of course it doesn’t mean I’ve conquered fear. It’s a natural human emotional response designed to protect us. We tend to think of it in negative terms but fear can also make you feel alive, exhilarated – think scary rides!
One thing I do know is that if you can break through in the times you realise you are holding yourself back or keeping yourself small, you will feel stronger, more capable and empowered.
I've felt a lot of fear in recent months in my transition towards a deepening healing practice but I have learned to pay less attention to the chatter that tells me I'm not good enough/know enough/am enough to be able to serve those who want to work with me. I take baby steps towards achieving another dream.
Don't let fear stop you from being the person you always wanted to be.
Don't let fear stop you from living the life you have always wanted to live.
Don't let fear stop you from living your heart's desires.
Try it, feel the fear - and do it anyway - see what miracles opens up for you.