My kids are my achilles heel. If you want to bring me to my knees, distract me, or hold me hostage – mess with my kids. When they are hurting, it stirs up every anxiety and fear in me. A couple of years ago, one of the three was having a particularly rough time and subsequently, I was a wreck.
There are multiple versions of every story. Different details, different perspectives, different angles, different altitudes – that, if we consider them, completely transform the story.
From heartbreak to miracle.
From depths of hell to merciful heaven.
From worst possible scenario, to amazing luck.
This rough time of my child’s, when now viewed through the wise lens of hindsight, was such a major catalyst for the growth of our whole family. It has brought us closer together, it has developed a depth and a maturity in the one who went through it, and it’s carved a wider valley for love and joy in me. This perspective, the one of hope, gratitude, and growth as opposed to catastrophe and loss, fills me with peace and upholds the dignity of my child and their experience. It feels empowering.
But while we were in the thick of it all? It was a terrifying nightmare that threatened to eat us alive. I wasn’t sure my precious kid would make it. I wasn’t sure I would either. I wasn’t sure of anything, and that unsureness allowed space for my wildest fears and most heartbreaking regrets to take up residence in my mind. They grew and grew and smothered me with thorny tentacles from every direction. It was hard to ever feel safe while living in this nightmare.
Fear is often at the core of our disempowering stories. When our thinking brain is hijacked by our reptilian brain, the worst-case scenarios take root in our thoughts, gathering energy and mass, igniting anxiety and stealing our joy.
So much energy is spent trying to escape the feeling of fear, that we often don’t allow ourselves the compassion and understanding we need while experiencing it. It’s like we’re running so frantically to get away, when that scared part of ourselves really needs us to stop and give it a hug.
Mindful awareness can be that hug we need. According to Lyra Health, mindful awareness means paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement. It helps us to cultivate a space for ourselves to just BE – without having to fix, change, perform, or DO.
When we shine the compassionate light of mindful awareness on the noxious weeds of our fears, we can see they’re not absolute truths. The light shines through in places. Holes can be easily poked through. There are gaps in logic and structure. What once seemed to be an impenetrable wall of sharp thorns and certain death, is now illuminated at the source to reveal a few vulnerable stalks. We then have the opportunity to pull them out by the root, and to plant and nurture the empowering seeds of truth.
Fear Self-Care Strategies: Resources for Working with Fear
- Self-Care for Stressful Times – 0.2 GS CEUs – Burnout Proof Academy Saturday School Series – October 24th, 2020 10 am – 12 pm PT
- Embrace and Learn from Your Fear of Failure – Lyra Health blog
- The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown TED Talk
- Embracing the Darkness – Brighter Focus blog
Baby Step: Take Action
Choose one of the resources above, set your timer for 5 minutes, and dive in! Working with your fears doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. Break it down into tiny doable pieces to prevent overwhelm and practice holding loving boundaries with yourself. This is one of the keys to being Burnout Proof.
Over the next several weeks we’ll be exploring this process of identifying our thoughts, feeling our feelings, and cultivating more empowering and truthful beliefs.
I’d love to know what your experience of fear is like and any questions you have about being with it or working with it. Leave a comment below or drop me a line and let me know:
What keeps you awake at night?
What does fear feel like in your body?
What do you typically do when you’re feeling scared, worried, or anxious?
What would you like to know about working with your fear?
Ok dear one, thanks so much for being on this journey with me. Until next time, take good care of your precious self.
This is part 1 in an ongoing series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear.
You can find part 2 here.