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Friday, May 12, 2017

Conquer Your Fears and Negative Thoughts to Achieve Your Dreams

Big Dreams Always Produces Self-Doubt and Insecurity

What or who has caught your attention lately filling you with excitement as well as self-doubt and insecurity?

Perhaps you asked for a raise; started a new job, entrepreneurial venture, or commissioned art project. Perhaps you're in pursue of good health while struggling with illness or injury. Or perhaps it's a love interest that has you twitter-patted. 

Anything worth achieving, or any relationship worth developing, comes with a triple challenge that pushes you to both act and procrastinate at the same time —the nervous excitement driving the interest, along with its partners—self-doubt and insecurity.

If you let them, your negative thoughts and fears will easily overpower your excitement that motivates you to act--leaving you to quietly quiver and do nothing instead.

BIG dreams and great possibilities bring great insecurities. And the more you want something the greater your self-doubt. This is true for all great dreamers, leaders and lovers.

It is this lack of self-confidence fueled by the fear of being vulnerable and exposed that stops you from pursuing your dreams and acting with courage. Name it and you can conquer it.

Naming the Secret Fear: I'm Not Worthy

Face it--we all like to appear worthy, strong, healthy, and in control of our lives and the thought of being vulnerable and exposed is frightening. 

What's behind that fear? It is the niggling thought 'I'm not good enough'.

Make no mistake--the negative thoughts behind your need to retreat and hide in moments of self-doubt and vulnerability are: I'm not good enough; I'm not worthy; I'm imperfect; or there's something wrong with me. 
You may try to deny feeling shame from yourself as it doesn't fit your strong, in-control self image.  Yet the moment you adamantly deny feeling vulnerable you isolate and retreat from others compounding your feelings of shame and fear.

Think about it:

💢 Who likes admitting they got laid off and are now struggling to find a new job?

💢 Or how about facing the public embarrassment of putting your heart into applying for a position you're perfect for only to have the job given to someone else (even if you were a close second)? 

💢 Or how about being an advocate of healthy living who ends up with a chronic illness for making you feel weak and ashamed?

💢 Or how about wanting to ask someone for a date or being rebuffed when you attempt to step further into a relationship for making you feel vulnerable and exposed?

Each of these situations makes even the heartiest of us squirm in insecurity and self-doubt and sends us into hiding not only from others but ourselves.

The Fear of Disconnection Sends Us into Hiding

'I've been sick the whole trip, feeling worse every day,' a friend recently wrote. 'Then my back went out. It's amazingly challenging to just let it be and not feel like I'm a failure of a human. I feel so embarrassed. Does this crap happen to everyone?' 

According to Brene Brown, author of 'The Gifts of Imperfection', shame is the fear of disconnection--we think there is something so shameful about us that if people really knew us they would reject us--so we keep our mouth shut and stay invisible.

This is the problem for my friend who is feeling weak and ashamed about dealing with her weak and unhealthy body in the moment. We're all a bit like the dog that hides under the porch when they're injured--not wanting anyone to know. 

It sucks to feel weak and sick. How do I know? I've been there.

The answer to my friend's question 'does this happen to everyone?' is yes.  This happens to everyone but most people draw into themselves when they're feeling weak and vulnerable to hide their shame about being sick, injured or in pain so you never hear about it as they suffer in silence.

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

When we're feeling weak and vulnerable we need the support of others to counteract our own negative thoughts and fears. By reaching out to trusted friends and family to confess our fears and self-doubts we can gain the support we need.

We need to hear from others:

💓 You're not bad. 
💙 You don't deserve this. 
💚 You didn't do something to make this happen. 
💛 This is simply what happened and this is what you have to deal with.
💜 You're strong. You have what it takes to achieve your goals and dreams. Keep the faith.

But give in to the need to hide in the moments you feel weak and imperfect and it'll keep you from being seen, heard, supported, and known by others--and you'll bring on the very thing you fear--a feeling of disconnection and distance from others that will stop you in your tracks.

Live with Courage and Confidence 

'Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and our clarity of purpose.'
Brene Brown

To be the hearty, resilient person you are--and not let the fear of your imperfections over-ride your desire to pursue your interests and dreams--publicly and consciously own and engage with your own vulnerability instead of hiding it in shame. 

Conquer Fears by Reinterpreting Self-doubt and Insecurity

Accept that great possibilities brings self-doubt and insecurity. 

Learn to make friends with your soft underbelly by taming your shame and its negative influence on your actions through consciously acknowledging your humanness to yourself and to trusted confidants.

When you acknowledge your negative thoughts and fears as natural consequences of stepping into your life you give yourself choice and opportunity. 

It always feels dangerous to be seen, to be heard and to be known. It is also thrilling.

Choose to view insecurity and self-doubt as a starting points, not stopping points. They help you take notice of what you want and help you consider if this is the direction you really want to pursue or if you want to change directions.

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For more than 35 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes letting go and moving forward with life easier than ever before.

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Madeline Vance said...

Thank You, I believe it is so true. It does happen to everyone, and wether
we can ask for help or not is what makes a difference. Life is bittersweet, but if we can ask for support the sweet has a chance to outshine the bitter.

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

You are so right, Madeline! Having the strength to ask for help does make all the difference.