Embrace Your Fears

LauriA 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.

Fear2. 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.

Courage

  • 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.

Love YourselfIdeas 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.

Move Foreward4. 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.

Related Articles:

https://unitingcaregivers.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/overcoming-fear-of-failure/

https://unitingcaregivers.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway/

https://unitingcaregivers.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/five-ways-to-overcome-fear/

https://unitingcaregivers.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/overcoming-fear/

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Power in the Positive

Think Positive4Written by, Katie Wilson Ferguson

I’ve read several self-help books and attended many workshops and seminars. The most beneficial thing I learned is how to cope with fear and consequently build my confidence. I also learned helpful goal-setting techniques. In my opinion, overcoming fear and setting goals go hand in hand since fear has often stopped me from accomplishing tasks in the past. As Robert Allen said, “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

In my last article, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, I discussed how I overcame some fears by writing about the outcomes I wanted. I used the same principles I use when setting goals. Here are five of my favorite techniques:

1. Only set goals you truly desire.

Don’t worry about what others want you to accomplish. Limit your goals to what will bring you true happiness.

2. Write your goals down.

It’s been proven time and again that people are more likely to accomplish goals they put in writing. Goals should be written in present tense so they don’t become a thing of the distant future.

3. Focus on the positive outcome.

This is my favorite technique and I believe it’s the most important. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Our minds think in pictures. If I tell you to not think of a purple pony, what do you picture? A purple pony.

I’d rather focus on the goal of a toned waistline than the goal of eliminating belly flab. Those two goals have similar meaning, but one brings a more motivating picture to mind. The more we focus on what we want rather than what we’re trying to avoid, the more powerful the goal becomes.

In my last article, I mentioned I wrote my fears down. But I quieted those fears by writing about the positive outcomes I wanted. I wrote “I am able to transfer (my dad) safely and with confidence” rather than “I don’t drop and injure my dad.”

4. Attach emotions to the goals.

Emotions add fuel to our goals. Attaining a toned waistline becomes more exciting when you add: “I feel fit, energetic and comfortable in all my clothing with my toned waistline.”

5. Reward yourself.

Achieving goals becomes a fun and motivating experience when we track our success and reward ourselves. We, of course, need to review our goals often so we can track our progress.

Five Steps to Overcome Fear

FearAfter the car accident I swore I’d never drive again and with a broken collarbone and totaled car I wasn’t capable of driving for six weeks. Once I was given the go ahead from the doctor I had to face my fear of driving. My parents helped me understand it was a necessity. It took months for me to feel safe behind the wheel again. At every stop sign or signal I had a fear that an unseen vehicle would hit me. How do you overcome your fears? I did a lot of praying, but here are some suggestions I thought of while remembering another fearful time for me.

  1. Analyze what you fear and why.
  2. Want it more than you’re afraid of it.
  3. Build confidence with positive thinking.
  4. Make an action plan to overcome the fear.
  5. Ask for help if needed.

2001, Christopher jumping for joy in Alaska or possibly trying to kill all the mosquitoes. They were thick in this part of Alaska.

In 2001 I took the kids to Alaska for their high school graduation gift. In my mind it would be our last chance of a family vacation with just the four of us. It was going to be the most expensive trip we’d ever taken and I wanted it to be perfect. A motor home was the most economical way for us to see Alaska. I was afraid of driving a big rig even though I was planning on renting the smallest one available. We had done lots of camping in a trailer or tent, but never a motor home. I didn’t know about the hookups and other mechanical parts of this type of R.V. and wondered how we could get Mark in and out of it. I was also fearful of being in an unfamiliar state while driving a motor home for the first time in my life.

I wanted to take our family on this trip more than I was afraid of it and I spent Christopher’s senior year saving, planning and preparing for this trip.

I built my confidence by thinking positively about it. When a doubt or fear came to mind, I pushed it aside by thinking, sure you can do this. I researched what I was worrying about and worked out my fears in my mind.

I put my positive thinking into action by studying maps and getting a clear idea of where I wanted to go and how I would get there. I studied and studied the maps, which helped me feel comfortable with an area I’d never been in before, building my confidence.

I asked a neighbor and good friend who had a motor home for help. I told Mckay of my trip plans and asked if he would teach me about the care and hookups of a motor home. He even let the kids and I work out how we could get Mark in the motor home. We literally had to carry him up the stairs. Thank heavens for a strong eighteen-year-old son! Mckay also let me drive it around town a bit so I could get the feel of it. This valuable learning experience built my confidence. I appreciated Mckay’s time and effort in helping me feel comfortable with the motor home. He spent a Saturday afternoon with us and it made the trip of a lifetime possible. All went well as I followed those five steps to overcome my fear.

I’d love to hear how you’ve conquered your fears. Please share in the comment box below.