Overcome Fear With 1 Simple Idea
Fear is what happens when we try to predict the future, when we use our ESP powers to predetermine that life will not go well in any number of ways. We may be worried about presenting a speech, (if we’ll remember our words). Or we may be concerned about how we’ll show up on a date, (if we’ll be liked). With all the talk about the recession, we might be afraid we’ll lose our job at the end of the year.
Initially we perceive these outcomes as out of our control. However, 99% of our fears are actually criticisms and judgments we apply to who we are, before we even begin. When we’re afraid, we’re mostly certain we’ll fail, or that we won’t, or can’t rise to the occasion, whatever it is. Our negative self talk is sure to be there when it’s over reminding us of all the ways we went wrong. Rarely are we faced with anyone else condemning or criticizing us.
The most profound and painful criticism we’ll ever face is our own.
I’m not afraid to admit that the area of my life where I experience the most fear involves intimate relationships. I’ve experienced what some might call failure – two divorces, and a few relationships that didn’t work out long term. All of which caused a certain degree of pain and frustration. It’s natural that fear should raise its ugly head every time I even think of going on a date.
And this is how it happens…I get a call to go out to dinner, let’s say…and as soon as I hang up, I’m calculating the potential partnership, the problems we’ll face, the “red flags,” all of his major faults, shortcomings, and bad habits, plus a few of my own. I’m concerned about how we’ll relate and get along. Mostly I’m worried about how I’ll react when things get tough.
You see, I’ve been to the altar and the attorney’s office before we even order drinks.
Yeah, it is that bad!
In the weeks leading up to a recent date with someone new, I found myself caught up in that line of thinking again. “Come on Tracy,” I said to myself, “Are you crazy- It’s just a date!”
Fear had me by the neck and I knew it. “What is it going to take,” I demanded, “to get over your fears about intimate relationships?!?” I needed an answer!
So I got quiet, did a little meditating, and finally an answer came.
What if I approached dating as an opportunity to give instead of to get?
This might not make sense at first; what could giving have to do with releasing fear?
but let me explain…
If you’re like me, you might have been taught, it’s better to give than to receive. Most of us learn that giving is something we do for others, because we should. But in reality, that’s only half the story! Giving helps us as much as it helps those we’re helping.
When we’re sincerely giving we’re freed from the need to perform or prove ourselves, one of the biggest causes of stress and anxiety today. Think about the last time you helped a friend, or even just held the door for a stranger…were you thinking about whether you did it correctly? Were you trying to “be perfect?”
I doubt it.
So instead of thinking, what do I have to do to get love and approval, then facing the fear that I might not be able to do what’s required, what if I could simply approach dating in that same spirit of giving where I’m not trying to prove who I am?
Ben Zander, in his book The Art of Possibility, suggests we should cast ourselves into the future as contributors, like a pebble into a pond. What he means is that when we enter each day with the mindset that we are 100% available to contribute our gifts, the Universe will use us. We might not know exactly where we’ll land, or when we’ll have an opportunity to help, but like the ripples we see when a pebble hits the water, we will have a lasting effect on people’s lives.
In fact across the board in life, not just with certain people, or in certain circumstances, we would all do well to define ourselves as contributors, people with something to offer or give.
Because givings rewards are many:
- Giving helps us rise above our limited views of who we are.
- Giving makes each of us a person of value in society by putting exactly what we have available today to good use.
- Giving helps us eliminate comparison and competition, because there is no right or wrong to giving.
- Giving fills the gaps in our abundance meter that concept that determines how much we value ourselves and our lives!
The feeling we get from being a contributor is what fulfillment is all about – feeling worthy and valued in an unconditional way.
So, the next time fear comes creeping down the sidewalk toward you, I say, hold the door for that sucker and let it walk right through. You’ve got nothing in this life to prove – just give whatever you have today and it will always, always, always be enough!
Thank you all for reading! Keep your gifts alive by sharing them! What possibility might exist if giving could help you with your own fears?
BTW, Don’t miss out on the fun! Join the Cha-Cha-Challenge – a weekly personal life challenge to help keep you on your toes! On Monday morning I send out a suggested challenge for the week. It’s fun and it’s got nothing to do with dancing, really, just about living more fully and free!