Dealing With Fears: Befriend, Not Fight

by | 16 May 2016 | Change

I’m feeling quite proud of myself just now.

Last week there were a number of events and tasks I’d been absolutely dreading. They made me feel a bit sick in my stomach.

To make it worse I was feeling ashamed that I was so ‘pathetic’ in feeling that way, because they were the kind of thing that I know another person (my husband for example) would’t have batted an eyelid at.

But, for a variety reasons, which even now aren’t 100% clear to me, these events and tasks just had me cringing and wanting to curl up in an avoiding ball. Time and time again I tried to ‘take myself in hand’ to push through and just get them done, but found I was on the verge of tears, overwhelm and with a powerful urge to run away.

Discipline and self-disgust weren’t working, so, with the help of some wonderfully wise people in my life, I took a deep breath and tried another way.

I asked for help. I got clear on what I needed and simply asked.

I didn’t give a big story, or excuses, or any of my usual martyr/victim/”I’m so busy” drama. I made clean requests of people and then worked in partnership with them to make it happen.

I’m proud of the ‘working in partnership’ piece too, because in the past if I’ve finally succumbed and asked for help, it’s been more like “let me abdicate all responsibility to you because you know about this and I don’t and I’m a bit ashamed about that so now I’m going to run away!” It’s all felt, well, quite grown up.

I leaned into my self-compassion. Instead of asking “why oh why does this simple thing seem so hard, what’s wrong with me?” I simply accepted that it was hard, and that it did hurt and was scary – the reason didn’t matter.

The acceptance helped me to befriend my fears; to get to know them rather than resist them and that’s what helped me to find a way through.

It wasn’t comfortable, it wasn’t pleasant – but I found my way through and now I feel SO much lighter.

And next time I face those fears again, they’ll feel like familiar friends!

Image by arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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