It is sometimes strange: You really want to change something in your life in order to e. g. live a more fulfilling relationship or life in general, you paint exactly the picture, how it will look like, but in the end you don’t your act together. Instead you keep doing your usual thing and ask yourself how on earth you could change your life.
For example, imagine you would like to become self-employed and are really inspired and full of joy with regard to this change in your job life. Yet, you don’t go for it. You don’t do the last step. Or probably you would like to have a conversation with your partner about something essential in your relationship. You know that this conversation would be necessary to bring your relationship to the next level. Still you keep beating around the bush and in the end don’t talk about what you wanted to talk about. Another example could be that it is necessary to give feedback to a colleague or close friend that their behavior towards you was not respectful. But in the end you swallow the words down. Do you know situations like these?
Most of us have experienced this. It happens almost every day that we don’t do things, because they are outside our known comfort zone. But what is really behind it? Why don’t you shout out loud “HURRAH!”, when you could bring about change in your life?
Maybe you don’t dare, because you e. g.:
- Perceive the known as secure and comfortable,
- Are afraid of losing control,
- Don’t know what the next step is after making a decision,
- Don’t know how another person might react,
- Don’t know how change goes or how you should actually start,
- Rather want to work out detailed plans and consider all eventualities to make sure that the change works,
The magic key
Backing off from change is a common phenomenon. For many people it is easier to keep going as usual instead of changing something in their lives. What’s behind all this is a key that is necessary for realizing change, but that is oftentimes disguised. This key allows us to not only start changing things, but also hold the change. This key is a feelings power: FEAR!
If you would like to bring about change and live a fulfilling life, you need the fear! Part of you might ask now: “Why do I need fear for that? If I want to live a fulfilling life, I would rather not like to feel fear.“ However, that’s exactly the snag.
We are usually already in childhood raised with a belief that is constantly being fed in modern society, especially through the media. The belief is that fear is bad and that you are better off not feeling it. This is in the end also closely connected to the judgment system of right and wrong resp. good and bad. If you feel fear you are a coward, you cannot be taken seriously, you are unprofessional and not able to make decisions. Fear paralyzes, causes panic and doesn’t lead anywhere. That’s the common opinion. It is therefore no surprise that most of the people do not want to feel fear.
Consequently, you might have developed the attitude „Oh, as soon as I feel fear, something is wrong.” That means, the moment you want to change something in your life and feel fear, the unconscious meaning that fear is not okay pops up and you take a step backwards saying: “Oh, I feel fear. Fear is not okay. I don’t want to feel it. The step I was about to take must be wrong.”
Take into consideration that this is a paradox in itself, because where change happens, fear is natural. Fear is a great feeling, a power. It is no design error of the universe. Instead you feel fear – and also other feelings – for a certain reason. Fear is essential if you really want to bring about change. However, to be able to really use the fear, it is important to let go of the old perspective and attitude you have towards fear and replace it by a useful one. You therefore might want to consider the following: Fear is neutral energy and information that serves you. Fear is fear! Just this.
A new perspective
If you adapted this new perspective, how could fear serve you as a great power? Well, you need the fear to be creative, be courageous, go into unknown territory, and bring about change where you don’t know the result yet. You need fear to be innovative and trust your intuition more than your mind. Fear allows you to be awake and present. It also protects you in dangerous situations. In addition you need fear to be able to stand in not-knowing.
Standing in not-knowing is a skill that is absolutely necessary, when it comes to change. Most people try to plan change beforehand in every detail. Yet, there are many aspects you cannot influence. For example, you might not know how your environment will react, how your partner will react or whether you will really be successful or not when getting self-employed. You can prepare yourself and make plans. You can paint the picture. But in the end an element of risk remains and the step into new territory and this is where the fear comes back on stage again.
What do you for example do when unforeseen things happen on your path of change? Do you go back into your room and start making plans again, or do you even stop completely? This would be the option if fear was not okay for you. When you adopt instead the new perspective and consider fear as your friend then you can simply say: „Ah…change of plans…I feel fear…okay, great…fear is fear, a neutral force…so I will use it now to improvise and take a new step into another direction.” Fear is the power of the magician, of the creator, of the person that creates something out of nothing. At the same time it is about a conscious and responsible use of fear. It has nothing to do with carelessness.
Fear of fear
Having the belief that fear is bad, many people are afraid of fear. In order to not feel the fear that comes up when it comes to change, they numb themselves out, try to ignore the fear or do not even allow change to happen. Numbing yourself out to not feel fear (or other feelings) can happen in different ways, e. g. through alcohol, cigarettes, other drugs, surfing the web, sports, working a lot, TV, junk food, sweets, workshop-hopping, party hopping or any other kind of distraction.
A male and female reaction towards fear
As soon as you feel fear, something else can happen to ignore it:
If you are a woman, it might well happen that you cover your fear of fear with sadness. You might rather become silent or cry, because you don’t know how to handle the fear.
If you are instead a man, it can happen easily that you get angry when you actually feel afraid. This connected to the fact that in patriarchy men learn that they have to be strong and have to have things under control. Men are not allowed to feel or show fear in modern society.
To make it short: it is important to finally clean out the old beliefs. Become aware that fear is a power with neutral energy and information that is essential when you want to change something in your life.
A fulfilling life requires that you:
- Are willing to bring about change
- Let go of things that don’t suit you any more
- Try new things
- Widen your horizon,
- Go into unknown territory,
- Become authentic (i. e. you allow feelings – especially also fear)
- Follow your inspiration.
If you are a man you might in addition want to consider that it is tremendously relaxing for your relationships when you own your fear, i. e. you feel and use your fear consciously. You thus do not only become authentic, but also show that you are ready to face challenging situations and explore together how fulfilling relationship works.
So, fear is fear. It’s neutral energy and information that serves you.
In order to fully own the power of fear again, it is very helpful to experience fear up to 100% maximum in a safe training space and make the experience that you are okay, still alive and actually bigger than the fear. Nevertheless you can also start with small experiments to learn to feel the fear consciously and lose the fear of fear. Here are some examples:
- Walk through your apartment with your eyes closed.
- Tomorrow, take another way to work you don’t know
- Switch off your mobile for one day during the week.
- Stop numbing yourself out for one week (i. e. stop drinking alcohol, no TV, cigarettes or whatsoever).
- Ask a person you know for feedback regarding how they perceive you.
- Ask then a person you don’t know for feedback regarding how they perceive you.
- Don’t wear a watch (and don’t check the time on your mobile). If you usually don’t wear a watch at all, do the experiment with another object you are usually wearing.
- Ask your partner what they feel and share your feelings, too.
- Travel alone into a country, where you don’t know the language.
- Ask yourself the question: “What am I most afraid of?”
If a part of you now says: „Well, all these little experiments are no big deal. I don’t feel fear“, the invitation is to train your sensitivity. It is not about shaking in your boots when doing these experiments. It is about consciously becoming again aware of how often during the day you face situations that cause a natural – although minimum - level of fear, because something new or unusual happens. It is about learning to be okay with fear.
Remember: it is absolutely natural to feel fear when change happens, when you try something new, when you are about to do a step into a direction you don’t know. This can also refer to the behavior of another person. If you start for example setting boundaries in your relationship, it is appropriate to feel fear when you do it for the first time, because you cannot know how the other person will react. You enter new territory. When you feel fear, trust the fear and do the new step.
There might be a part in you that is really afraid of losing control. Most people like to have things under control. If you have things under control, you are professional, you are an expert. If you own the fear as neutral power you can stand in nothingness and be totally relaxed, not knowing, not having things under control and see what the next step will be. Then you get into a flow and do no longer follow a rigid plan, mind construct or concept. If it is okay for you to feel fear then you can bring about any kind of change in your life, you need or wish for. And at the same time you are able to handle unforeseen changes in a relaxed way.
Have fun experimenting and best wishes,