How to become fearless
My client, a successful business owner and freelance consultant, recently wanted help with something that’s been bothering her for over 15 years: her health.
She said that ever since she experienced a breakup with an ex, she feels like she’s been in ‘flight or fight’ mode: constantly in a state of high alert and anxiety.
She said she feels frightened all the time, and she is always noticing ‘something wrong’ with her body, such as aches and pains.
In fact, every morning when she wakes up, the first thing she does is check in with her body to see if everything is still ‘ok’.
She even wept as she told me that she just doesn’t feel like she can relax, because she's always worried about her health.
She said she’d tried lots of different physical therapies, acupuncture, yoga, physiotherapy etc, but nothing seems to really work to cure her.
And to me, it was starting to become clear why.
The problem wasn’t in her body.
It was in her mind.
She explained to me that she had had a nervous breakdown when she was 18, which she managed to get over, but when she experienced the breakup from the ex 12 years later, she experienced similar feelings arise again - and she became afraid that she was going to go through the same thing.
That’s when the 'flight or fight' switch was flicked.
She was afraid she was going to experience the same distress that she did before, and so was on constant high alert for anything that might trigger it.
She’d tell herself: ‘that can’t happen again.’
And it was her absolute resistance to it ever happening again that was causing her to be in a high state of alert all the time.
And ironically, it was making it more likely TO happen since she was in such a state of anxiety all the time!
Paradoxically, the solution for her was to SIMPLY BE OK with the possibility that it might happen, in other words, to not be afraid of it happening.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s our refusal to accept something that keeps it alive more-so than if we just let it be. Particularly when it comes to our own feelings.
Because our feelings are the only thing we are really afraid of.
You’re not afraid of failing. You’re afraid of how you’d feel if you did.
You’re not afraid of being rejected. You’re afraid of how you’d feel if you were.
You’re not afraid of your partner leaving you. You are afraid of how you’d feel if they did.
And so, one of the keys to creating a successful life and business you’d love, is to learn to not be afraid of your own feelings.
For my client, she declared this as a new belief:
“I am not afraid of my own feelings”
After all, feelings are just temporary. They come and they go. And no feeling, no matter how bad it is, has ever killed you yet.
So this is how you become fearless.
By realising that the only thing you are afraid of is your feelings - and then learning to be less afraid of them.
Your feelings are there for your survival.
Let them come and go.
It means you're alive.