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Where Emotional Fear Comes From And How to Move Beyond It

     Fear is THE source that holds you back, how you get in your own way, from fully and successfully investing yourself in your creative endeavors. You may have found excuses and reasons that are external to you to explain why you can't do what you want to do, have what you want to have and do what you want to do. It's the economy, the glass ceiling, the proverbial boys club. You "can't because" you're not young, old, pretty, smart, rich, s talented, whatever - enough.

Balderdash. The acronym for these Found Excuses And Reasons is FEAR. So, where does this fear come from?

I am not talking about the natural fear of a real danger such as a fire or any other real life threatening situation. Those occurrences are normal. In real danger, the body naturally prepares itself for a fight or flight response. All fear is an uncomfortable strong emotion evoked as a response to an awareness of a perceived danger. Unrealistic fear is rooted in an individual when he or she recalls past fears or events and projecting them into a current situation. This type of emotional fear is often how people cope with conflict. What is feared is voiced by the Inner Critic within who misguidedly holds you back to keep you safe. The thing is, you are in no real danger. The perceived threat is imaginary, not real.

"If you're frightened of leprechauns, the best thing to do is to get yourself a little leprechaun outfit and see how big they are. And then you'll go, 'Well I see. That's like bein' frightened of a hampster." - Craig Ferguson, Actor, Comedian, Talk Show Host

Irrational emotional fear is a response to a perceived threat to your security, safety or survival. Fear manifests in feelings of anxiety, nervousness, procrastination, insecurity, lack of confidence, worry, shyness, stress, panic or terror. People fear pain and suffering of any kind. Fear impacts physically and mentally. It influences your thinking and actions. Reacting to and acting on irrational fear is akin to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. You miss the movie and piss off a lot of other people.

Much of what is unrealistically feared developed before the age of six. You came into this world fearless and bathed in love and attention as an infant. Every little move you made was notice, acknowledged, honored and applauded. As you got older - not so much. Your first step was celebrated but not your hundredth. Instead of all your demands being met you began to hear the word no. What happened? How and when did you begin to lose the love and acknowledgment that was once abundantly given to you? Perceived loss of loved is often the first fear that develops in a young person.

Parents, teachers and other influencers projected their own fears onto you and, as a young naive student of the world, you never questioned what you were told. Often, you misinterpreted what you were told or what you saw and heard. "Don't talk to strangers" could have been interpreted as "People you don't know will hurt you" and now you have a fear of speaking in front of or being with a lot of people you don't know. A belief in "No one likes a fool" can turn into a fear of doing anything that might embarrass or humiliate you. People with this fear have difficulty communicating freely with others of exposing what they believe to be weaknesses. Many will avoid building professional and personal relationships in fear of being exploited.

Fear is a coping mechanism to keep you safe and comfortable. And what is safe and comfortable to you is right where you are now. You may not particularly like your current circumstance but its what you know and so it is safe. Stretching, growing, moving beyond this zone into the unknown area of greater achievement in any area of your life is downright scary to that Inner Critic who works very had to keep you safe. Any move you make that will take you out of this zone of comfort will be fought against by the voice of this inner six year old who is still very frightened.

How does one move beyond fear?

First and foremost, be mindful of your emotions. Your emotions are indicators of how you feel. If you notice feelings such as physical and mental tension, a knot in the stomach, stress, anxiety, restlessness, lack of initiative, or low self-esteem know that you have moved into fear. In that moment examine the event that triggered the emotion. Events by themselves do not create stress and other fear-based emotions. What triggers the emotional response is the meaning, the interpretation, you give to that event.

For example, someone who agonizes, worries, feels sick, etc. before a presentation or meeting that could advance their career may have made the event mean that their career will be ruined forever if the outcome doesn't happen as hoped. This person may think that they will be criticized, laughed out of the room and end up starving, begging for food, on the streets of Los Angeles. Whatever is going through the mind of someone in fear needs to be identified and examined for its validity. Is what is feared real?

Fear is faith that it won't work out. Yes, it is within the realm of possibility that someone could ruin their career with some unimaginable and freakish display of behavior during a meeting. Is it likely that the person who is in a state of fear and anxiety over the meeting will behave in this manner? No. Even if they did turn their career into a train wreck is it life threatening? No. So, consider what really would happen if the presentation did not go well? Does that outcome create actual pain and suffering? No. Whatever pain and suffering that may occur after a dismal presentation is brought upon a person by themselves - again through the meaning they have attached to the undesired outcome. Who knows, the crash and burn of one career opportunity may open the door to a career move the results in unprecedented success!

In the examination of what is feared it is also helpful to consider what would happen if the event went as desired or even beyond expectations? What would you have, who would you be, what could you do? Feel the emotions that come with that desirable vision. Feels good, doesn't it. Good feelings are not fear based. It is when you feel bad that you are likely in a state of fear. Notice, too, whether or not there is any trigger or anxiety over your vision of a good outcome. Look for meanings you have placed on the positive outcome.

For example, some people fear success because they believe that it only a matter of time before others discover that they are not good, talented, worthy, whatever enough to have such success. Or, a successful person may fear they won't be able to maintain this level of success and will be ridiculed when they fall back a rung or two or ten down the ladder of achievement.

You are not the sum of your fears. You are not whatever you think you lack or are not enough of. Those thoughts and feelings embody the Inner Critic part of you, the ego, the voice of your self-doubt and fear. You are not the sum of your strengths. You are not just what you are passionate about and whatever you know you're really good at. Those thoughts and feelings embody your Higher Self, or what I playfully call the Wizard Within, the voice of your intuition and truth. You are all of those things integrated into a whole. And your first responsibility in this life is to honor, acknowledge and unconditionally love your self as the integrated whole.

The shift is in what parts of you do you give your power to. If you let the egoic part of you choose how to react to the events of your life then you become a victim to it. If you hold your power within your Higher Self you will listen to that calm, wise part of you that observes and examines your emotions and initial reactions and chooses to act in alignment with your higher values and greater good.

Instead of looking at what you fear as something to avoid, see it as an opportunity, perhaps an adventure. Take another baby step. Before you know it you will have moved beyond your fear to discover that what you feared is what your heart was calling you to become.

Copyright (c) 2009 Valery Satterwhite

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Valery is a Superstar Mindset Mentor & Coach who helps creative people get out of their own way so that they can overcome the struggles in the life of an actor, artist, performer & creative entrepreneur. Clients learn how to tap into their inner wisdom & get out of their own Inner Critic way; stop self-sabotaging behavior. Empower the Wizard Within, inspire the Inner Muse. Free "Empower the Wizard Within tips"!

Posted on 2009-10-26, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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