Here is how to not let fear hold you back

Do you ever come to an understanding of why a really difficult thing happened?
I think we all want to know the reason for suffering… Right? Maybe?
People really do want to know though. At least the Meaning of what would’ve been if it could help us to understand the reasons to murder and hate, to reject and discriminate, exclude and segregate. All these horrible inconceivable actions are rooted in fear.
At the core of this question of suffering, I think his fear.
What do you think? What is at the core of it for you?
Fear is one of the most universal experiences. Fear of the other, fear of the loss of power, fear of knowing what is true, fear of losing a part of who we are, and so many other grappling foundational aspects of life.

Fear of spiders, fear of heights, and fear of the dark, fear of intimacy. These are the common ones that we often hear about.

Fear is not as universal as pain because I cannot say fear is fear like I can say pain is pain. There is a universal characteristic of fear that allows us to all understand it in a very similar way. There something really unique about fear; fear is connected to our unique individual experience, our interactions with the world around us and what we believe about ourselves. This is what makes up our reality or at least what we believe our reality is. Often times there are false interpretations in this reality and we believe them as if they are truth. This is where fear plants its roots.
When people ask me if I am afraid of anything I tell them the only thing I am afraid of is the unknown. This is kind of funny because it is the easy way out. Answering I am afraid of the unknown is like saying I am afraid of everything.
Have you heard the acronym for fear? It stands for false evidence appearing real. This essentially means fear is the possibility of something happening that we may not be able to conceive or imagine through the lens of our reality.
So If I were to answer the question more honestly I would say yes I am afraid of spiders, yes, I am afraid of heights, and yes I am afraid of intimacy.
So the question should not be what are we fearful of or what are we afraid of but how do you act with fear, interact with fear and how do you embrace fear. This is the transformational question that can be deeply empowering. It makes us our own agents of change. It says you have the choice to act in the face of fear and you have the choice to run or embrace.

The reason we often run from what we are fearful of is because it is scary to imagine what will happen, what the reality is and what it could be. We get so caught in what could happen that we forget to attach a feeling to the fear.
We think fear is the feeling.
Fear is not a feeling. Fear is an experience, a way to view reality; it’s a perspective, it’s a perceived interaction with what could happen.

What if we attached a feeling to our fears?
Like, I am worried that I will be rejected again.
I am scared that the airplanes engine will stop working
I am anxious because I am not sure if they will say yes
I feel sad because I do not want to go back to the place where I was hurt
I feel frustrated because I can not know whether this person accepts me or not.
I am concerned I will not be able to advocate for myself because the other person is a bully
I feel stuck because the other person will not listen
I feel unworthy because somebody treated me unfairly.

The more we are able to attach feelings to our fears the more we will be able to see that they are not based in the reality of what our possibility could be in the future. If we are honest our feelings attached to fear are based in our desire to control what happens in the future. What often happens is the feelings wrap us up in the fear and they give us a false reality. These fears are real, they are a part of our experience, but they are not reality.

What is reality?
Our reality is that we are smarter and more superior over the spider
The airplane flew just fine on its last flight and has proven itself billions of times
You can not change other people, but you can improve or change your approach
You can ask the question and learn from it and enjoy the experience
You can embrace the pain and redeem the hurt
You can have strength and the power to take the next step

Fear holds us back but fear doesn’t have to hold us back if we see it for what it is. Fear tells us what it. What is this, what is that, maybe this’ll happen. But Instead of asking what if maybe we should be saying “you can”, or better yet, “what if you did blank blank blank”.
This is not a change of behavior change, but a change in the way we perceive ourselves, the world and how we interact with both of those. I understand how hard this is. I am writing this because I am in the middle of the fight; the fight to fight fear, the fight to fight anger, the fight to fight resentment, the fight against the voice that says you can’t. I am beginning to wonder if we should continue to fight fighting fear, fighting anger, fighting resentment.
Maybe we should connect with it, see what it is teaching us and put a feeling to it. I think when we put feeling to it then we are able to increase its value and see it as part of our experience. When we experience something that we come to believe is true then there is power to take action, whether it is a positive or negative turn, it will be up to us.
Each time we make this decision there is an opportunity to change and transform.

So what does it look like to get over fears?
Step 1: We need to embrace it.
If we do not embrace fear then we will not be open to the feedback. We need to listen to the spider that is up in the corner of your room, just as we need to listen to the person that has discriminated and rejected us. This is part of loving our enemies. The reality is that our enemies will not even know this is happening because it is transforming ourselves first, which will allow us to love our neighbor because we will have loved our self. Part of embracing fear is embracing our self.
When we are loved then we can take the next step. Steps can be taken other ways, but it will carry resentment and anger. overcoming fear can and will take us to the core of who we are because it will reveal many layers at one time and bring up so many past experiences. Our goal after embracing our fear though is to tell it how it makes us feel.
Step 2: the conversation
Seriously as silly as it sounds have a nice conversation with it. Ask it where it comes from and what you would really like done about it.
If there is a spider on your wall and you are freaking out
Say ok I see you fear of spiders; I am worried that the spider is going to attack me and bite me with its poisonous venom. Spider fear where do you come from, when was the first time you were in my life and why did you show up. Spider fear when you showed up, what was it about you that actually scared me?
This is an example of the conversation with fear. This conversation happens already, but takes place in a much different way. Conclusions usually come before questions are able to be asked and an action takes place before we can realize we reacted to fear.
Step 3: step into it
To interact with the fear we need to take a step into it. I do not want to talk about conquering fears just yet. No need to get high and mighty just slow and steady. If it is spiders then find a spider and just look at it from a far and take a step closer to it. If it is the dark then step into it and do something fun in the dark. I do not like taking the trash out when it is dark because I fear a critter like a raccoon or skunk will attack me, but if I take the step to open the door to take a step outside and then go get the trash after seeing the coast is clear, and then it becomes much easier to take it to the big trash can outside.
We just need to be able to put one foot in front of another. This is how we interact with the fear. If we put one foot in front of the other then the fear does not hold us back. Conquering fears is not about erasing them, but not allowing them to hold us back. We can never get rid of fear, but we can know and learn how to take action in spite of them. Even if I were to conquer the fear of a raccoon or skunk attacking me then I would fear an attack of the boogie man. Fear is a constant, but the way that we respond to it does not have to remain a constant.

If you want to have some fun with fear then create a 30 day fear breaker. Make a list of 30 things that you are scared of, anxious about, worry about, become timid when faced with, or even just scared to initiate. Then take smalls steps into them and make it fun. The only way to get past a fear is to interact with it.
If you have a fear of spiders then get a toy spider and put it on your friend’s keyboard.
If you are afraid of heights then have a stair race to the top with a friend or hike a hill.
Fears are attached to our core and can often be quite deep issues to deal with, but I believe we can answer the difficult questions in life like what to do with suffering if we take one step at a time.
Here are good resources on going farther
Rejection therapy Jia Jiang

The war of art
https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Awar%20of%20art%20by%20steven%20pressfield
Necessary endings

https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Endings-Henry-Cloud/dp/0061777129/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472672558&sr=8-1&keywords=necessary+endings

a great counselor, Jennifer Schatz at hope counseling center
http://www.hopecounseling.org/jennifer-miller-schatz-mft-director.html

Who do you want to become?

The reason who do you want to become is one of my favorite questions is because it is two parts understanding, one part imagination, one part desire, and 6 parts action.
It says I want this and I desire this for myself. The question alone begs imagination and when we imagine what we want to become then half the battle is won. The other half of the battle is doing the patient work of seeing that character come to fruition.
This question is NOT asking who do you look up too and want to imitate, but instead how do you want to be looked up too. We are in charge of our own life. The only person that can change you is you. You have the power and the agency right now to become who you want to become, so what is it?

How are we to figure out who we want to become?

I guess this topic automatically assumes that you know who you are. If we do not know who we are then how do we get any idea of what we want to be and how it is going to come about in getting to that place? I find the question “who do you want to become” one of the most provocative questions because it requires you to analyze and understand what has made you who you are to this very moment. The question of who you want to become is almost a catch 22 because it requires putting yourself in the future of some amount. How far in the future is your choice, but the catch is to not get stuck in the future while dwelling on the past. We have to get past our past and come back from the future. No more hover boards and road tripping with Mcfly. So the first question to ask is who are you. to dive into this deeper check out the who are you article , but for now let’s stick with the understanding that you have the social identities of a male or female, a student, a friend, a son or daughter. These are the first significant identities we have in our life. Our family is our first understanding of community, our first understanding of care, compassion, acceptance, affection, affirmation, and love. So to answer who you are, basically it is an exploration of how these expressions of love have been reflected to you. Like I said to dive into this more check out the who are you article.
Now to the fun stuff…

Who do you want to become. I do not say who you want to be for a very important reason. Becoming is a process, a journey of transformation that is centered in learning by experience and it is not something that can just be. If you want to be somewhere you have to see that place as a location that is begging you to come. This place you want to be is the place where your created purpose will come alive. It is from this place that we can say your desires are pure and good. It is admirable to desire to become this thing that keeps coming up for you. There is purpose; The more we become aligned with our natural desires and what we were created to do, the more our purpose in coming into who we are will be realized. I believe this plays into the meaning of Gandhi’s famous saying of “be the change you want to see”. Often times this quote is used to silence critics and complainers, but it is important to see that we need to quiet the inner voice that tells us that we can not be the change. The truth is that we have agency, we have power, and we have a purpose.

Change the world

If you could change the world, in what ways would you like to see it change? Often we make change about me against them or me against you instead of us. What I am trying to say is that we have a natural bend towards a collective community, but our focus is fixed on ourselves. The only change we can then think of is the change in our own lives instead of the world. Granted we have been told the lie that we can not shoot for the stars and we can not change the world. I believe you can and the only person getting in the way of you believing what I believe is you. When we are against something the problem seems too big to conquer, but when we focus on what we want things to become the job is much easier.

What makes you come alive?

This does not take jumping out of an airplane contrary to popular belief. An abundant life can be found outside of adrenaline induced activities. Being excited for life does not always mean it will be extremely exciting. It could be hiking, fishing, sailing, knitting, painting, or a sport like curling. What is it that will energize you when you get up so the excitement from your passion will expand with vibrancy? We can not only let the days that we go to Disneyland or six flags be days that we wake up excited. Even in those activities I would urge you to understand what it is that you enjoy about them. It is this enjoyment that keeps you excited for the activity. It is not the activity itself that keeps you doing it over and over again. There is an underlying reason that draws you, what is it for you? That is where we can start to look for the excitement for life. This excitement for life will be what propels you into what you want to become.
What makes you cry? Sorry to get sad and somber on you, but this expression of emotion is one of the greatest tools that we can use to see what stirs our soul. I am not talking about the kind of crying that takes place during a funeral or the death of a loved one, but the kind that arises when you are in a movie and you are stirred with an overwhelming emotion. This happened for me when I went to the holocaust museum because of my desire to be in peace and reconciliation work. Maybe this would happen for you while watching Inside out, because you connect with the loneliness and pain in childhood; or maybe it is watching Hotel Rwanda because international justice work excites you. When out shopping or just in the community what do you complain about or what hurts you to see happening? Often our complaints are just a cover over vulnerability so that our emotions really do not get seen. Is it somebody in a wheelchair trying to get by without assistance or is it a child playing in the park by herself. Emotions are good; we were purposefully created with emotions. They are supposed to direct us back to our creator and to what we are created for, but I want us to see that our emotions can guide us to what we desire and what makes us excited for life.
What are you skilled at? I am not trying to get you to figure out if you can swing a hammer or draw blood, both which takes more skill than you think. Maybe a better way to ask this is what are your strengths in? Are you an idea person, a strategy person, a director, a contributor, or somebody with empathy? There are so many things? A great test to take is strength finders, to get an idea what your top five are. Essentially this question is asking what gifts have you been given that can be used to make your work connect with your desires. It is when the gifts and purpose connect the abundant life comes about.

Finding these things out does not void the hard dedicated work it will take to pursue the abundant life that comes from being who you have been made to become. Neither does it void the necessity to grow and participate in relationships. What my hope is that it pushes you further into understanding your relationship with the world and everything beyond it. This is a journey and is not easy to figure out. It will take patience with much drawn out effort, physically and literally.
One of the most helpful things for me has been to find a theme to your life. With that theme think about what directions you could go and how you can serve. I have it been told to me that the most life giving thing is the continual act of giving back. I believe you have something to offer and it can change the world.
Let’s turn back to the original question, what you want to become. I will start the conversation later about the transformative process, but let’s sit the brain storming spot. Sit here; take a minute, a few deep breaths. What is your dream, what can you provide? This may lead you down a path of seeing what you are missing in life, but what I want us to be able to do is dream from a place of desire and hope. The pieces are not really missing in life, but what is missing is the initiation on the path of becoming. Remember becoming takes a destination and that destination will beg you to come to it, so let’s spend some time figuring out this important part of life. Remember we are not defined by what we do or what we have done, so who you are and who you are to become is the emphasis. What traits do you want to see come out in this person you are to become?
Let me know who you want to become below in the comments

Talk about the gritty part of who you want to become,
The attributes and traits
The imagination of the life you want
How do you want to live?

here is a link to the strength finders resource
http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx

6 questions to help answer Who Are You

So last time we got a basic over view of who you are and took a peek into how we view ourselves. Now we are going to dive into how we view ourselves.
Growing up I was often told you are mature for your age and for a 13/14 year old I did not know how to respond or even what to think about it, but as the years past I came to understand what was being said. When I was 17 I told a history teacher I was close with that people often told me I was mature for my age and he said I do not think so. I did not know how to respond to him, I was not even sure whether to be angry or happy, but there was a sense of freedom that came from hearing those words. It was like somebody finally saw me for who I was. Instead of hearing his words I do not think you are, it was like I heard you are free to be who you are.
There is a myth that we have to go through a difficult life altering circumstance for us to ask the question who am I, that you find who you are when you in the low places or was it in the ditch. Not sure how that country song went.
It is not necessary to wait for life to make us know who we are. It is vital to know who we are and do it now. If we center ourselves in who we are then the storm that comes when life tries to kick us in the ass will not be a level 5 hurricane. Yes, I had some difficult life circumstances that pushed me to understand who I am at an early age. I ran from the question for a long time though only wanting to address when I had the tid bit of inspiration and strength to confront reality, but this was not helpful.
We often answer the who are you question with a sense of holiness, not out right, but internally. Do you ever say I am who I am? Oh yeah those words, we say those words when people try to challenge us or come off as judgmental. Those words were recorded by Moses in the explanation of who Yahweh is. We are only allowed to say I am who I am when you have made it to the other side of the pearly gates. We are ever changing and ever being shaped by our social surroundings, which is where we get our social identity. This can range from bully’s making fun of you in high school or the area you go for a walk every night to the job you work. Who we are is shaped by all of our surroundings. This puts most of the emphasis on the aspects of life that nurture you into who you are, but what about the ones that you are born with. This is your ethnicity, spirituality, sexuality, gender. These are things that define and shape who you are, but are still main defined how you encounter them in your social settings.
The important aspect to remember when understanding who you are is that you are unique and there are very particular traits you have that nobody else can express the same way you do, but all things that define who you are come from the intersection of our reality and our beliefs. This is what we know as values or ways of life. From this comes interest and desires. The sad part is that we often do not take time to figure this out until the phenomenon of midlife crisis hits or something like divorce hits you. I am here to say you do not have to wait for the difficult circumstances.
Through my time of self-discovery and entertaining the question of who am I; there were some key questions that stuck out to me as important. I figured these out through many hours in counseling, meditation, praying, reading, friendships, courses and conferences. If find it interesting that the combination of all the previous work can be summed up by a few questions, But I have come to know and believe in the importance of these questions
1 what are you passionate about?
Passionate means to suffer with, to go through the grueling days of learning about perseverance; it is the heavyweight version of dedication. This question is asking what would you do if you knew you could not fail. Passionate is not a leisurely day to day patient pursuit for something to happen. It is a complete restructuring of life to pursue what the passion is. Time resources, work, relationships, finances, health; Being passionate takes all of who you are to the point of suffering to learn what it will take to get to the next level. If there is no suffering then it is dedication and if there is no push to get to the next level then it is just a hobby and if there is no waking desire each morning to do the work then it is just an interest. So what is it that you will wake up each day excited to pursue without failure
2 what do you do
This is the time for your elevator speech, you have 15 seconds if the attention span is short and 90 seconds if the elevator ride is a long one, but this is the time to shine. What summarizes who you are and why you do what you do? Do not tell me what you do is marketing. What people look for in this question is they want to know why you do what you do. saying I am a sales manager, does not cut it because that profile in that persons head of a sales manager is not really who you are. It does not even answer the question. The question was what do you do and to know the we need to know the why, so understand why it is you do the things you do and what it is that you enjoy about them. If you are a mom explain why you do it and what you enjoy, if you are in marketing explain the purpose behind your decision to take the job where you did. If you are retired then explain what that means to you and why you got to where you are.

3 what do you value?
This may take some thought, but we put value on particular traits and characteristics in our life often because we were raised to value those things. Remember when we ask what we have to ask why, which leads us down a long road of wondering why do I value what I value. This can range from friends, to career, to politics, to cars, to personal traits. These things shape how you live and the priorities you have. The greatest imbalance is when we do not live align with our values and our passion because then we do not find purpose. (There is a link at the bottom for you to take a free values assessment)
4 what makes you come alive?
This ties into passion and values because if we are pursuing those in an authentic way then an abundancy of life should start to flourish in our life. On the other end of this question is what is taking life from you. We need to know what makes us come alive, what keeps us afloat, and what we need to keep our energy and our mind set in a focused place. This will look different for extroverts and introverts, men and women, those with fewer years and those with more years. The importance is on knowing what it is that keeps life flowing through you and out of you and also knowing what brings you down and diminishing the role those have in your life. There is always room to step outside your comfort zone, but we need to know where and what our source of life is so that we can return to it for strength and rejuvenation.

5 what are your limiting beliefs?
What hold ups do you have in life? We all have frustrating things that happen in life, things that push us back and give us resistance, but they are not a wall of fire that marks a dead end. A hold up is a time to do just that; hold up, pause, take a second, and take a look where you are. There is a reason for the hold up, so what is it and what does it tell you about who you are? We have a choice when we come to points in our journey where there is resistance; we can either get bitter or we can get better. There are many other choices that we have to make when we encounter a hold up, but this is one of the most essential questions that will determine whether you move forward or not. This is the beginning part of creating a plan to move forward.
6 what is your foundation?
Ok, so I save the best for last. What is your rock, that thing you return to when your world feels like it is falling apart? We can build our life on sand or we can build it on a rock and it is important to know what we are standing on. It is ok if you learn that you are on sand because beneath the sand is a rock somewhere and you are on the journey of finding it. There are quicker paths to the rock though. Peace comes when we know what we can expect in the future. Wisdom and revelation of who we are and where we are going is available to us but we can only hear it when we are not being blown around like a hurricane. What is the place you can be still to hear wisdom and revelation; this is probably the place where your rock is. We may not have a rock or a foundation, so where is your security found in life, that will be your current foundation.

These are big questions and there should not be an expectation to know the answer to these right away. These are questions to frequently return too and the answers will not come easily. It will take patience and the time to rethink an answer when you think you have it.
This work is hard but necessary to really understand who you are. It is not the end though. This is only part 2 of 3. I know this work sounds thick and heavy enough. I believe you can handle more. I believe this because we were not created to just be we were created to become. We have something to transform into. Who we are is not yet who we are to become.
The third part is going to look at my question I like to ask people, who do you want to become.
Until then, bookmark this article, write down the questions, screen shot it, do whatever you have to do to continue to return to these questions.
Peace to you in your discovery
In the comments let me know the most helpful question you have come across in discovering more about yourself
Here is a link I found helpful in understanding more
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/5-questions-discover-who-you-are-and-what-will-make-you-happy/

Here is the link for the free values assessment
http://www.valuescentre.com/our-products/products-individuals/personal-values-assessment-pva