How do you know when it is actually time to let something go, or when fear is being your decision maker?
Not always an easy question to answer. For me, it feels differently.
I know it is fear when I find myself saying:
Wouldn’t it be easier if I just gave up?
This is so hard.
Why does it have to be so hard?
I must be doing something wrong.
What am I doing wrong?
It is taking so long.
Should I trust the timing, or this a sign that I should give up?
I think I might be failing.
What will people think if I fail?
Or when fear is up front and centre and I’m saying:
I’m afraid I am running out of time.
I’m afraid I am going to fail.
I’m afraid I am going to feel this way forever.
I’m afraid I will never find the answers that I need.
I’m afraid I will make the wrong choice.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to commit.
I’m afraid I will actually succeed and my life’s routines will change.
I’m afraid my life will never change.
I’m afraid I’m going to feel this way forever.
When it is just naturally time to let go, my heart is longer invested in it. It doesn’t come along with any of the thoughts above, my energy towards it dwindles and I no longer receive any inspiration to continue to build on it, or invest in it further. It may still be difficult to let it go, but I do know, or rather feel, the difference now.
Staying committed to a goal, your purpose, a change, or a decision that you know you need to make, isn’t easy when this is what is spinning around in your mind.
Fear makes you want to give up. It’s not easy to stay committed to something you want, even though you really, really want it, when the fears, the anxiety, the worry, and the resistance gain so much momentum that you can’t seem to catch your breath long enough to pivot and take action. You may become paralyzed to make a decision. However, even making no decision is a decision.
I struggle hard sometimes as an entrepreneur, as a woman, just as a human being trying to figure it all out. Some days I feel so connected to my purpose and what I want for my life that I believe without a doubt that nothing and no one is going to get in my way. I believe with full-hearted trust and faith that my life is exactly on the right path.
There are days when I want to give up on it all. There are days when it feels too hard, too far away, too unattainable, or too unbelievable. And I yell at the universe, “why the heck did you put this desire in me only to make it so difficult?! Why does it have to ALL be so hard?!”
I just experienced a whole lot of days like that. So deeply that I had to make a decision to take a month long hiatus. If you want to hear this experience, I shared it over on the Sisterhood Podcast in episode 46.
The voice of fear tells me all the reasons why I should give up, and maybe it would be easier to give up and do something less challenging. But the other voice, the voice of my inner guide, is telling me that if listen to that voice and just give up, the desire in me isn’t going to go away.
She’s going to keep calling and eventually I will feel the pull, the need inside of me that something is missing, that something is being unfulfilled. Overtime, not fulfilling that need will make me feel unfulfilled.
To me, that feels so much worse than the idea of giving up on something that currently feels hard, but that doesn’t mean it makes it easier. Even the right things can come with challenges.
Sometimes we need to take pause, like I did on my hiatus, to really figure out whether or not it is time to let something go. Sometimes, we have fear of letting things go. That is why it is so important to go deeper and question our fears, our thoughts, our beliefs, our wants and our needs.
We all get afraid. Fear is normal. We need fear to keep us safe. But so many of us are letting fear keep us from doing things that we really want to do – sometimes even what we need to do.
When I decided that I wanted to get certified to be a life coach and start my business Contagiously Positive, I was certifiably terrified. I was leaving behind a ten-year career that I had not only gotten pretty good at, but also very comfortable with.
There was no comfort in this new path. I had no idea what it meant to be a life coach, or an entrepreneur. But I wasn’t happy and I kept feeling this calling, a deep desire to share my experiences of healing as a way to serve. So one day, I decided, because it felt like I didn’t have any other choice, to go all in.
The moment I answered the call, the inspiration began to flood in. But most importantly, I felt like a hole was being filled. It felt almost freeing to no longer ignore what I was feeling, even though it didn’t seem to make any sense. What’s funny, is that even a decade later, it still doesn’t always make sense. The, “why me?” still creeps in every now and then.
The truth is, many of us, myself included, become blocked because we think we are choosing the safer route. We may not be happy, but we know that we are unhappy so we think that it is better to stay with the devil that we know – so to speak. We know what unhappy feels like – or happy-ish, so why rock the boat? We can get comfortable even in our discomfort.
Fear is such a massive barrier that prevents us from answering those calls. From staying happy-ish and living in our discomfort. Especially the ones that are so unknown, so different that we can’t make sense out of why we, of all people, are getting the call.
Who hasn’t feared changing a career, going back to school, changing old destructive patterns, the unknown, the unfamiliar, becoming sick, getting hurt, losing a loved one, being rejected, becoming successful and having our routines shaken up, being vulnerable, failing, being judged, or not being able to “handle” it all?
When I first started my healing journey, a therapist told me that fear is often a false thought. It is not your reality, because it hasn’t even happened yet. Meaning, just because you think it, doesn’t mean that it is true, or will become true.
I didn’t really believe it at the time. I was in my early twenties and what did she know about my fears? But overtime, I realized that she was right.
Fear and worry is like praying for chaos. I know this because I have lived it, felt it and marinated in my fears until nothing else but that fear could be true.
Fear can create chaos in our lives because so many of the things we worry about never happen. That means that we are letting fear make our life choices, staying stuck in the trap of worry, turning our hearts away from the things that truly light us up and bring us joy, peace and love.
No matter what I’m experiencing in my life, I want to feel at peace. I only just realized this about myself. It took taking a month off and setting everything aside to know this about myself. Peace is at the core of so much for me.
At peace knowing that it is normal to “fail.”
At peace trusting that I will be okay, even when I’m not okay.
At peace in believing that it is okay to not always be okay.
At peace in knowing that my vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.
At peace with simply wanting to live a simple life.
At peace with having faith that no matter what decision I make, I can’t get it wrong, even when it seems like I have failed. Because I know that in that “failure” is where I can learn and grow.
At peace that all the decisions I have made have led me right here.
Before I signed myself up for life coach training, I started to think, “Do you know how old you will be by the time you finish? Do you really want to start over?”
That was fear doing the talking. I give you that example to show you how fear can mask itself as being “practical.”
It really had nothing to do with age though. The fear wasn’t how old I was or wasn’t, it was about starting over, creating a new beginning after getting comfortable with where I was. Being at phase one of the learning stage where I had no idea what I was doing. But what I was really thinking was, “what if I fail?” What I was really feeling was, “am I actually good enough?”
That wouldn’t be the last time I heard that voice. Fast forward a decade and trust me when I say that I still have doubts and fears. Now that I’m in my forties, I can see that it is simply a part of being a human being. Uncomfortable. Annoying. Distressing sometimes. But very, very normal.
Starting over, making a difficult decision, especially when it might hurt someone else, or doing something new, brings up fear.
Fear can be really sneaky too. It can make you think that safer is better. Some fear comes into your life when you least want it to, like when you are about to embark on something new and unknown. That voice in your head makes you think that staying where you are (in your comfort zone) is safer. But are you truly safer when you become comfortable with your limiting beliefs, fears, or feeling unfulfilled and unhappy, or happy-ish? The answer for me is no.
The problem isn’t our fear, it’s that we let fear be our decision maker. It is that simple and that difficult.
When you hear a voice say, “Don’t follow your dreams, you might fail, choose safe and secure,” that is your fear voice. When you hear a voice say, “You are too old, too young, not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, or enough,” that is your fear voice.
Here is the real truth, the truth that your inner guide (the truest voice inside of you) wants you to know: You are enough. You are not too old, or too young. You are smart, wise, and have an inner strength that you have probably already seen yourself tap into when you needed it most. You can be, do and have absolutely anything if the desire inside of you is real and true and meant for you. You have already done so many things for the first time because life is full of firsts. That is life. That is learning. That is growing and evolving. You cannot sidestep over the firsts. You cannot bypass your emotions or discomfort or fear because you are a feeling emotional human being.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”Elbert Hubbard
If you have been making decisions based on fear, or any limiting beliefs, like thinking you are not good enough, what is one baby step you can take today that will help you to not let fear be your decision maker?
What have you been putting off because you are afraid? What is is one baby step you can take today that will help you to not let fear be your decision maker?
If you knew that you would succeed even with fear tagging along, would you do it? What is is one baby step you can take today that will help you to not let fear be your decision maker?
When you feel yourself detouring into fear, think about what you are about to give up if you allow fear to run the show. Does it feel scarier to do it or not do it? Will you regret letting fear make the decision for you? Will you get down the road 2 years from now with a sense of longing, saying “I should’ve done that, I could’ve done that? I wish I had done that?”
Take a moment and become aware of where you are allowing fear to be your decision maker and how it feels deep inside.
Answer these questions without judgement. You have done nothing wrong. You are not weak. Fear is one of the biggest emotional drivers. It is normal to let it make our decisions for us, especially when it makes us feel safe.
This is a practice. You are taking the first courageous step simply by recognizing where fear is making your decisions. If that is the only step you have the energy for today, that is okay. Piece by piece, day by day, action by action, step by step, you will walk right through the fear barrier. One day, when you are ready, you will find yourself saying, “what the heck was I ever afraid of?”
If you are overwhelmed with fearful thoughts, I have been right where you are. If you want more guidance, I have a 3 hour digital workshop called Unleash Your Fears. In this workshop I share practices that will help you to explore your fears, and take those baby steps towards not allowing it to be your decision maker.
Whatever you do right now, I want you to remember this:
YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH
YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GOOD ENOUGH
YOU WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD ENOUGH
Any thought, or any person, that tells you otherwise is untrue.