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When I came up with the blogging tagline, “Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs”, it served as a succinct statement of my new life. For many years I carefully stayed within my comfort zone. It became a cage, with the bars strengthened by my limiting beliefs. Fear was my jailor. Any desire to leave that cage was quickly squashed by fear.
To reframe my beliefs and leave my comfort zone, I first had to deal with fear.
In this second post in the Going Beyond Series, we look at five ways to go beyond fear. To read the first post, Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone, click HERE.
The Intimidation of Fear
Fear is a powerful, unpleasant emotion. Typically it is a response to danger or a threat, real or imagined.
Fear produces physiological changes in the body as it goes into “fight, flight or freeze” mode. Breathing and heart rate accelerate, muscle tension increases including those attached to hair follicles, causing goosebumps. We break into a sweat and go into heightened alertness. These changes are important if we need to fight or flee. However, experiencing these changes frequently leads to anxiety or the development of phobias.
Fears can range from trepidation over things like spiders, dogs, dolls and heights to terror due to fear of rejection, failure, living life or death.
While fear can serve the purpose of keeping us safe, it also has the potential to limit life. To live in constant fear is to live a very small life indeed. To be more alive, we have to be less afraid.
Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear
I know much about fear. Since early childhood, it was my constant companion. Various fears kept me small and nearly invisible. It took confronting them and discovering my root fear to go beyond.
While there are a multitude of ways to overcome fear, these five recommendations helped me the most.
Acknowledging what you are feeling is the first step toward moving beyond fear. Stop dismissing it as childish or shameful or embarrassing. Sit with fear, invite it in and allow it to show you the deeper messages and truths you’ve avoided. Make fear your ally in the inner work you are doing.
When you feel the familiar fear response in your body, stop and ask “What is it that I’m afraid of?” As you discover what it is you fear, continue to ask what about that situation scares you. Keep asking and uncovering until you arrive at your root fear.
Real life example: I grew up terrified of the dark. It’s a common childhood fear however my feelings stemmed from the fact that I experienced what others in my circle of family and friends didn’t. My intuitive gifts made the veil between this world and the spirit world very thin. I sensed, saw, heard, felt and smelled spirits. That didn’t change as I grew up and my fear intensified.
Thirteen years ago, I decided to face my fear. That life changing journey began with acknowledging what I felt and asking questions. The process uncovered my fear of being different from others and ultimately my root fear…I was afraid of who I am and what I could sense.
Change Your Perspective
Once you’ve asked the questions to uncover the deeper fears, shift your perspective. Reframe those fears. Gather information to help you do that. Choose experiences that support that changing perspective.
Afraid of dogs? The deeper fear is physical harm or even death.
Has a dog ever caused harm beyond scaring you? Did an earlier experience frighten you as a child? Did an adult who fears dogs pass on the fear to you?
Learn about dogs. Watch documentaries and fun videos about dogs. The goal is freedom from fear and the negative responses it brings. Find experiences and situations that allow you to acknowledge, confront and change your perspective. You may never choose to own a dog. However, you may visit a friend who has one and learn to pet that dog or at least remain in the same room with her.
Real life example: After I acknowledged my fear and confronted it, I reframed my intuitive abilities as gifts. Part of creating a whole, courageous heart to live out of involved learning all I could about psychic abilities, ghost whisperers, hauntings and the paranormal. I read so many books. I attended a conference and met other people like me. And gradually I ceased to fear the dark and what I could sense and saw my abilities as just part of who I am. I accepted myself.
This is one of my favorite ways of moving beyond fear. When fear pops up, learn to follow curiosity rather than reacting negatively.
Fear shuts down. Curiosity wants to know more. Fear freezes. Curiosity leads us to new understanding and realizations.
Afraid to speak in public? Fear causes the imagination to go into worse case scenarios. People might laugh. You’ll forget what to say. Your ideas aren’t interesting.
Curiosity leads the imagination into positive possibilities. From a place of calmness, follow curiosity. Watch YouTube or TicTok to see what others do. Imagine the speaking engagement in great detail and see it going well. Prepare. Practice. Give the talk and know you did your best.
Real life example: I’ve learned to follow curiosity when someone in spirit shows up. Yes, I can still feel startled. However, when I allow curiosity to guide me rather than permitting fear to freeze me I respond differently. I ask “Who’s there? And what do you want with me?” That’s so different from my responses 13 years ago.
Use Tools to Combat Fear
Two useful practices, when faced with fear, are deep breathing and meditation.
Fear causes rapid, shallow breathing. Slow, deep breathing helps to reduce fear and change the body’s responses. Focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in, hold for several seconds and release the breath. Repeat several times, until fear feelings subside.
And meditation, coupled with deep breathing, is a powerful tool for reframing fear, calming the mind and relaxing the body. Find a comfortable place to sit, feet flat on the floor, hands resting in the lap. Close your eyes and take several long, deep breaths. Imagine you are in a peaceful, beautiful place. Create that place vividly in your mind. Keep the body relaxed, focus on the breath. Breathe slowly. If thoughts enter your mind, let them pass on through. Let the fear energy circling your heart pass on through as well. Feel it…and let it go. Feel it again…and let it go. When ready, take several deep breaths and slowly return to full awareness. Move arms and legs before standing, to prevent dizziness.
Real life example: Meditation and deep breathing became important tools in handling my fear. During meditation, I could release those fearful feelings swirling around my heart. In a relaxed state, realizations came as did deeper truths. The night I turned out the lights, sat in darkness and invited fear in was the turning point in my journey. I could do that after weeks of inner work that included deep breathing and meditation. Also, I learned during meditation to send light and energy throughout my surroundings, something I still practice, especially when I’m staying in a new environment for the first time.
Take Small Action Steps Beyond Fear
I’m a huge fan of taking action. Fear freezes and brings inaction. Going beyond fear, like going beyond comfort zones, is accomplished one step at a time.
Try these action steps.
Adopt the deep breathing and meditation practices. Journal through your feelings and realizations. Ask questions…of yourself, of others, of people who have faced fears and moved beyond. Read encouraging books. Research your particular fear. What have other people done, to conquer that fear? Seek out a qualified counselor or therapist for help. Pray and ask God for help. Build up trust and faith. Try new experiences. And do the things that scare you to bolster your courage and confidence.
Real life example: Actions are an important part of my fear conquering journey. I’ve felt afraid…and done the action step anyway. To overcome the fear of being alone, I stayed in Airbnbs and hotels, by myself. At home, I slept with the lights off and confronted my fear of the dark.
Journaling helps me uncover the deeper feelings, the hidden fears and the core truths. All of my big “ahas” around my fears came as a result of writing down my thoughts and feelings. The energy of words flowing onto paper is powerful and enlightening.
Are You Ready to Go Beyond Fear?
What are you afraid of? What fear is holding you back, keeping you small or stopping you from living the life you are meant to live?
I hope this post helps you take that first step beyond fear…and then the next one and the next one.
Reach out to me if you have questions or need to chat. Fear is debilitating when it keeps you caged. You deserve to live in freedom and joy.
Some of my favorite journals for inner work:
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