Stop Fighting Your Fear and Start Inviting it Along
Have you ever watched motivational videos that show dramatic camera shots of pensive people while a deep-voiced narrator espouses the urgency with which you must change your life? You’re asked to be a warrior to fight your fears. Have you felt inspired to take action after watching these videos? If so, how long did your inspiration last?
Stop fighting your fear and start inviting it along.
Demanding that you battle your fears has its merits but doesn’t work for everybody because it doesn’t sufficiently address underlying emotional reasons for your fears. Rather, practicing self-compassion is more sustainable because it embraces and validates what makes facing your fears so challenging. The difference between the two approaches is subtle, but the latter approach means that you let go of fighting with yourself and instead gently support yourself. Ironically, it’s in embracing your fears, rather than fighting them, that you cultivate courage.
Courage means choosing to acknowledge fear.
The benefit of acknowledging that your fears are real is that you can stop spending emotional energy denying or fighting with them. Instead, you can ask your fears to sit alongside you as you put energy into moving toward your goals. Allow your fears to observe you as you take action toward what’s scary for you. Eventually they’ll get the message that they’re not the boss of you and their hold on you will lighten up.
Let compassion and encouragement be your new secret weapons against fear.
Anytime your fear starts to protest as you’re moving forward, remember to acknowledge them with compassion; they are simply not comfortable with your newfound courage. And who can blame them? Their role in your life will shrink as you accomplish more and more of what was once scary for you. How’s that for inspiration?