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From Fear to Freedom

fear freedom mindset Sep 05, 2019

Confession: I'm an introvert and I don't make friends very easily.

I work from home and could easily spend all day in my pajamas without speaking to a soul. However, I don't want to be a recluse, so I've been making a conscious effort to meet new people and make new friends.

The problem is that new friends come with new opportunities, and new opportunities often mean new challenges.

If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. -Fred DeVito

 


The Challenge

A challenge recently arose when my new friend messaged me out of the blue. 

"Want to come with me to this next Saturday?" she asked. She sent me the link to a personal development workshop being hosted at a local yoga studio.

I scanned the description. Journaling? Mantras? Meditation? Count me in!

But then I read the part about trusting. Community. Partnered exercises. Group activities. All of my least favorite things.

My insides curdled.

I was the girl who avoided eye contact and crossed the street so I wouldn't have to say hi to a stranger. I was the one who my teachers said "didn't work well with others" and always took over group projects so I wouldn't have to collaborate with anyone.

That was who I was... but that isn't who I am.

Even so, that didn't stop the fear from setting in. I realized I was panicking when I tried to come up with excuses as to why I couldn't join her at the workshop...

  • Wasn't I busy that day?
  • Wouldn't my husband have the car?
  • Didn't I have better things to spend my money on?

...and so on as my ego tried to talk me out of it.

As hard as I tried, I couldn't justify any of my excuses. Even, I bought myself some time by saying I'd think about it.

Well, I didn't have to think about it for very long because my heart was telling me, "Just do the damn thing."

And so I committed and bought my ticket before I could change my mind. 

 


From Fear...

How is fear holding you back?

Fear of failure may take the form of procrastination. Fear of "not enough" may materialize in debt, clutter, or overeating. Fear of being with yourself may result in overscheduling or the inability to say "no." Fear of change may look like the inability to say "yes."

Fear is rooted in a belief about perceived or real danger. But regardless of what we might encounter, we have power over our breath, attitude, and focus.

-Bethany Goodson

 

Sometimes, the best questions are the ones that hurt the most. And the instructor asked all of the best questions during the workshop.

 

What happens when you're afraid?

I experience intense anxiety. My heart pounds in my chest. I can't breathe.

 

What story are you telling yourself?

I can't do this. It's too hard. I'll fail.

 

What's the worst thing that could happen?

I make a mistake. I'm not perfect. I try again.

 

Looking at my answers, I realized just how silly it seemed to let something like the possibility of making a mistake hold me back from trying something new.

I thought about all of the times I didn't even try something because I was afraid I wouldn't be 100% perfect at it on the first try.

Since when was anyone perfect at something on the first try? 

Since when was anyone perfect at all?

I might as well just have fun and enjoy the new experiences.

 


...to Faith...

I'm a firm believer that it's not enough to point out the problem. One must be willing and able to seek a solution.

I've grounded myself in a renewed sense of faith in myself and in others.

 

What are you sure about?

Everything will be okay. Everything is working out in my favor.

 

What do you have faith in?

Everything will be okay. Everything is working out in my favor.

 

How do you connect with yourself?

Nourishing my body, mind, and soul. Walking, yoga, meditation, taking a bath/shower.

 

Where do you turn when you need help and support?

My husband, mom, and coach.

 

What prevents you from connecting and seeking that help?

Fear of judgment, fear of failure, being seen as imperfect.

 

As I explored my fears, I realized that my fears had little to do with the circumstances themselves, but with my perceived inability to effectively navigate challenges.

But I was wrong. I'm stronger than I thought I was. I've been through hell and back and I'm still here and I'm better than ever. And I'm still getting better, every single day. I'm constantly becoming the best version of myself.

And that, my friends, is freedom.


...to Freedom

It's when we're uncomfortable that growth can happen.

To access faith and connection, we must:

  • Take steps
  • Lean in
  • Go for it

 

What does freedom feel like to you?

Peace, calm, joy, presence.

 

What does freedom look like?

Flying.

 

If you were free of fear, what would you decide?

I'd just do it. I'd step up, show up, and be seen.

 

What are you so passionate about that you'd do it even though you knew you'd fail?

This one stumped me, because why would I fail? I'd only fail if I stopped trying.


 

I went to the workshop with the hope of experiencing release... to release fear, release anxiety, release self-doubt. But what I realized is that to release, I needed to let go.

The release wasn't just going to manifest itself. I needed to consciously let go of the fear, let go of the anxiety, let go of the self-doubt.

Freedom is grounded in faith, but faith isn't always grounded. That's why it's called a leap of faith. You're flying. Trust the process. Whether you land on your feet or fall on your face, you're still going to land.

 

P.S. During the workshop, I did my first handstand (assisted by a partner), and then talked about it in the group. If that's not trusting your community, I don't know what is. Progress is possible.

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