A good friend, Lauri Schoenfeld, spoke at our caregivers group on April 20, 2017 at the Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) in Murray. She gave an excellent presentation on embracing fear to move forward. She addressed what holds us back and how to overcome it so we can be our best selves. She is positive, fun and energetic.
Lauri is a wife, mother of three, child abuse survivor, scoliosis survivor and has dealt with massive depression. She revealed four tips to help us overcome our fears to enable progression.
Written By: Lauri Schoenfeld
1. Recognize your fear and call out to it. Get clear what you’re afraid of. It can be anything. A lot of times our fears are like an onion that has multiple layers. Is it spiders, clowns, natural disasters, death, being betrayed, getting too close to someone, loss, or rejection.
- What happened to create this fear?
- How is it holding you back?
If you’re going to let go of fear you have to recognize it first. It’s called gaining consciousness. When you start to feel yourself getting a little anxious or fearful, stop and take notice. Think to yourself, “Oh, here it is. I’m starting to get freaked out.” Then instead of reacting on your instant emotion, breathe and see what’s going on around you that could be creating this element for you. Watch how your body reacts to the situation for future understanding. By doing this you start to disengage from the fear as the ultimate reality. It helps you to realize that you are NOT your fear.
Fear is like a fire alarm alerting you to check something out. It propels us into action. This is good, not bad. We need this. Julia Cameron says, “Fear is not something to meditate and medicate away. It is something to accept and explore.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, says that when she’s writing and feels fear sit on her shoulder, she acknowledges it and says, “Thank you for worrying about me today, but I don’t need you” and then she continues working. She doesn’t allow fear to control her choices or future because she is aware that she needs fear at times, but at other times she does not.
The ego is the part of your mind that stays focused on the past. It feeds you all the time with messages like “Watch out. It’s going to happen again.” It’s a sly trick which uses our fear that we will indeed hurt again. Instead of being open to different experiences and outcomes, we halt. Most of us are afraid of fear because so many of our experiences with fear have been negative. In reality, it is a very positive and useful tool.
2. Face your fears. You have to surrender to them and become willing to create a different reality. Your life will not turn out differently unless you do something different.
- What are your truths? (Example: Mine are being a child abuse survivor, scoliosis survivor, a writer, speaker, and a mom.)
- Write down your truths and start peeling back the layers of the onion one step at a time. Don’t try to take it all at once as your truths are going to be deep, hard and emotional. Be gentle with yourself as you unfold each layer.
- If you’re afraid of speaking, go speak. If you’re afraid of snakes, pet one, read a book about one or go to an aquarium and stand in front of the tank.
- Encourage yourself to do one scary thing each day. It doesn’t need to be large. Every step forward is something to be proud of.
- Courage, confidence and even fearlessness are the result of facing, embracing and dancing with fear, looking it straight in the eye and having a partnership with it.
3. Learn to love yourself and appreciate all that you are. Once I began nourishing myself, the fears I felt didn’t seem to control my life anymore. I began to have clarity on how to handle tough situations and challenges with more grace, patience and positivity. I began taking charge of what I wanted in my life.
Ideas that work for me:
- Motivational videos – Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Tony Robbins are a few of my favorite speakers. Check out TEDTalks.
- Gratitude journal – No matter how tough things feel, there’s ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Looking for those things gives us the opportunity to see that we can indeed find beauty even in the darkest moments.
- Positive Affirmations – Write five things that you want to start shifting in your mind in a positive fashion. One positive thing per card. If you have negative internal dialogue that you don’t think you’re very smart, write on your card “I’m Smart.” Use reverse psychology and say these five affirmations EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s important to say those five things like you mean it.
- Take time out to breathe – I call these moments “Lauri Time.” Depending on the week, sometimes I can do an hour or sometimes its fifteen minutes, but do something that calms your spirits, is enjoyable, fun or creative. Whatever you need in that moment, give it to yourself. You deserve to be treated with gentle loving care too. Write a list of twenty things that you really like and once a week, treat yourself to one of those things.
- Read uplifting books – There are so many to check out. Chicken Soup for the Soul books are some of my favorite. Form a book club with a group and read a different inspirational book each week.
- Get an accountability/support buddy – It’s important to find someone you can share your progress with. Every step, whether it’s big or small, is important to acknowledge.
- Surround yourself with people who can relate to you and the things you’re going through – Having this support system and team will help to keep you grounded, supported and appreciated.
4. Be present and realize that this is your life.
If you were told that you had six months to live, would you live in the present or the past?
What kind of things would you do? Travel to a dream destination, swim with dolphins, spend more time with family, start taking a class you never allowed yourself to do?
Why are you waiting?
Why not start now?
Put on your shield and cross the monkey bars. If you fall, get up and try again until you’re on the other side. You are NOT your fear! You’ve got this.
Lauri and I connect through writing groups and conferences. For more articles by Lauri check out, https://thinkingthroughourfingers.com/. Type Lauri Schoenfeld in the search bar. She’s written many articles for that website.
Thank you Lauri for sharing your tips on how to embrace fear to move forward.