How To Overcome Fear
Recently, I submitted my writing to a popular blog. I follow several blogs that take submissions but I never felt like anything I wrote was good enough, or worthy. The “what if’s” started going through my mind. The voice in my head said I’m not a writer.
I worked on this post for a long time, some mornings I tried to edit it, but then changed it back to the way it was. Each day I thought about sending it but told myself all the reasons why I shouldn’t.
My mind said, you don’t have a proper headshot, or why would anyone want to read what you have to say. I envisioned the rejection email saying, please work on your grammar or find an editor.
My writing is not fancy, it’s not full of symbols, or big words, in fact, I love a good run on sentence, and I use the word “just” like a kid sprinkling cheese on their meatballs.
One morning I read the article again. I said to myself it’s time to hit send. I checked the guidelines for submissions and told myself So what if my headshot is old and I haven’t updated my website. I might be rejected, this might not be what they are looking for, and that’s okay.
Then I hit send. My stomach churned, my eyes widened and I felt exhilarated. I did it. I can do it. I am enough. YES!
Later on, when I had a moment to think, I had what Brene Brown calls “the vulnerability hangover”. That feeling of fear and regret after you do something vulnerable. what would people think? Should I have shared all of that? Why does anyone care and how can I get that email back?
Thankfully I felt strong, I wasn’t going to let that voice win. I accepted whatever the outcome may be when I hit send. I felt grateful for discovering my love of writing, and I knew I would keep writing, despite failure or rejection, because it is healing and helpful for others.
I thought about how I got to the point of facing that fear. Why did I do it that day? What is it that made me feel empowered to hit send?
The first thing I realized is I started taking care of myself.
When I was in fear mode, I stopped cooking. I ate whatever I could find in a pinch, usually the leftover chicken nuggets after the kids were finished. I made excuses to skip workouts. I'd stay up late mindlessly scrolling social media on my phone. Transitions happened right and left, and I had to make sure all of them went smoothly. Everything and everyone else seemed more important to me.
When you start making sure everything is right and let yourself go in the process, you are in the perfection zone. I have to remind myself perfection is unobtainable.
I don’t realize when I go into “perfection mode”. I usually start with trying to get one thing “right”. Like a virus, the need to get it “right” spreads and I am trying to cling to everything. I start to control my world, and I forget, it’s not mine, to begin with.
If you are ready to face that fear that's been holding you back, firstly, take care of yourself. It's not as easy as treating yourself to a new pair of shoes. This will be one of the hardest tasks of your day.
I set my alarm for 4:30 am most days to pray, journal, and exercise. Some nights I contemplate setting my alarm, an excuse comes to mind but then I think of how I feel on the days I wake up extra early, I am happier when the kids get up, my mind is clear and I am able to find the light even in the chaos.
I encourage you to find what works for you. Here are some ideas.
Exercise, find your favorite way to get your blood pumping and do it. Your body and mind will thank you.
Go to the gym, put your kids in child-watch, and take a shower ALONE.
Ask for help, sometimes you need an hour alone at a coffee shop, or thirty minutes at the store to shop without the kids.
Go out at night, even when it’s really cold outside and the thought of leaving the couch pains you.
Make time for your friends, pick up the phone and call them.
Laugh. Do you know how many times I go on Snap Chat and crack myself up? Try it, you won’t regret it.
Eat foods that fuel you. One of my biggest setbacks is food, I don’t like taking the time to meal plan, go to the store, or prepare food. But I feel amazing when I am eating good nutritious food.
Turn off social media. You may not realize it but you are on social media mindlessly scrolling taking in useless information and you might be comparing yourself or feeling inadequate.
Make the time to take care of yourself because it’s hard to take care of others when you are not in the right place.
The second tip I realized helped me face my fear was to tell that voice in my head to SHUT UP.
I hate the words shut up, but my mind needs a good strong talking to. That voice tells me I can’t and says I am unlovable. It feeds me lies and shames me. I have to shut it down and fill my mind with the truth. I am loved, I am a good mother, I am worthy, I can, I am special.
If you are having a hard time believing the truth about yourself write out the truths. I have sticky notes all over my house to remind me.
You are stronger than you think. Whatever fear you are facing, you can handle. Living in fear is hard and sometimes you don’t realize it, but it’s important to be mindful of where you are. Not just going through the motions of life but truly allowing yourself to be known and seen. I admit it’s scary being vulnerable, but after facing fear over and over again, I am stronger and love the person I am.