Using Fear as a Compass: 3 Steps to Being Brave Part 1
Step 1: Beginning to be Brave
The goal isn’t to be fearless, it’s to be afraid and do it anyway. I’m going to try to help you get comfortable feeling uncomfortable and reframe fear in a way that allows you to use it to align with your dreams, rather than it paralyze you. You’ll start where you’re at, with whatever amount of fear you have, and you’ll start to feel it. That’s the beginning to being brave.
Since I know you reading this is only one part of the “Aha,” I’m going to suggest we dive right into an exercise that’ll have you practicing, rather than over-thinking about fear. There’ll be three parts to this blog series. In Step 1 we’ll practice awareness of fear. In Step 2, we’ll practice a brave mindset. And in Step 3, we’ll practice taking the action required to change the fear game forever. Excited to transform your fears? Let’s get started!
Here’s the exercise for today:
Think about something that makes you afraid. And I’m not talking about the survival kind of fear right now. We all have a built in, necessary, survival mechanism to protect us from harm. We’ll hang on to that. I’m talking about the old, conditioned, unnecessary fears that keep us from being our awesome selves and being fully expressed in the world. Let’s get rid of that kind of fear, shall we?
Now that you’ve had a chance to think of one of those kinds of fears I want you to close your eyes (or read this exercise through, then close your eyes and begin). Sink in and feel how fear feels physically in your body. How would you describe it? What happens in your body when you’re thinking about it? What happens to your breathing? You might want to grab a notebook and journal a little bit on these questions.
Also, notice what you begin to think as you conjure up this fear. As the thoughts come in, how does your body react? Do you notice the fear thoughts have a feeling? Describe it.
When you know a certain fear is unnecessary, it’s keeping you from doing something you really want to do, or it’s triggering an old, unhelpful habit of playing small, staying quiet, or not taking action, I want you to notice that particular kind of fear has a particular kind of feeling. What is it for you?
Awareness is going to be key to beginning to be brave.
You’ve got to practice noticing what you feel before you’ll be able to transform it. So, connect to your body right now and practice. Begin to breathe and notice how everything is feeling around this particular fear. Do you remember a time in your past when you felt something similar?
Now I want you to start to breathe into and through the feelings. Begin to take some nice, deep, low breaths. Every time you exhale relax, release and soften a little bit more. Breathe right into the spaces you’re feeling the most “fear” sensation. Do this for a few minutes and notice what you feel. Journal a bit about what comes up for you without censoring yourself.
While you’re practicing feeling, you’re also practicing clearing the mind. Thoughts will come and you can redirect yourself back to your body each time they do, focusing on the sensations.
Awareness is the gateway to a shift and healing.
We’re beginning to take our fear and notice it’s just a feeling in the body. These feelings are our trail markers. And we’ll soon be using fear as a compass to align with our biggest desires and dreams, and take the action we need to achieve them! The more you practice the more you realize it’s getting easier. The discomfort of fear can become something you use to your advantage.
Nowadays when my fear comes up I recognize it’s my small, powerless, afraid little girl. She’s used to staying quiet, out of trouble and making those around her happy. I know this kind of fear doesn’t serve me anymore. I had to feel the feeling of the tightness in my chest, and the extra pounding in my heart before I recognized it was her. Now when I feel her, I know I can take her hand and say, “You’re okay, we’ll do this together.”
In Step 2, get ready to practice the mindset necessary to make fear your friend, so stay tuned for next week’s article. Along with the feelings, fear has a “voice.” We’re going to learn that language, differentiate it from our intuition and make friends with fear.
This is a badass mindset that’ll change your fear game.