NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, The Healing Project.
“Fears are merely thoughts, and thoughts can be released.”
– Louise Hay
The quote above begins Chapter 4 of the “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book,” the chapter which focuses on fearful emotions. Although I have been diligently working through all of the exercises in this book, I have decided to only post on those that are most impactful to me and which I feel will be most relevant to my readers.
In this post, I share some of the exercises from Chapter 4 and my responses, as well as some insights to use in your own journey to facing and overcoming fear.
The Price of Fear
Fear impacts all of us. We let fear stop us from pursuing our dreams, speaking our minds, sharing our love, and fully living our lives. We experience fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of the future, fear of intimacy, and even fear of success. Some of us literally become paralyzed by our fears.
The chapter begins with a checklist of thirteen fear-related statements which express negative and limiting beliefs that hold us back in life. We are instructed to check the ones which feel true for us at present. Even though a few of the statements were phrased in more extreme language than I would personally use, I checked those for which I felt heaviness in my chest upon reading the words:
- Growing older frightens me.
- I have difficulty expressing my feelings.
- I can’t focus on anything.
- I feel like a failure.
- What if I have to endure a painful death?
Following the checklist are some empowering insights from Louise Hay on the subject of fear. She states that “in any given situation, we have a choice between love and fear.” She follows by emphasizing that when you feel frightened, you are not loving and trusting yourself.
Fear is Not the Real Problem
Louise mentions the powerful book by Susan Jeffers, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” This book was published in 1987, but its message is equally as valid in 2010. In a nutshell, Ms. Jeffers postulates that fear is not the real problem that people are experiencing. The real issue, she states, is not the fear, but how we hold the fear. We can approach the fear from a position of power or a position of helplessness. When we allow ourselves to feel the fear but take action anyway, we move from vulnerability to empowerment.
“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”
– Mark Twain
Acting In Spite of Fear
Acting in spite of fear requires both self-acceptance and letting go of the judgments of others. How often do we stop ourselves from taking action because we doubt ourselves or worry what others will think? It is important to remember that everyone doubts themselves at times. Who is really sure that his actions are the right ones, and who can be certain that his actions will yield the desired results?
Those who are living the lives of their dreams are the ones who acted in spite of the worry and doubt. They are also the ones who, when they fail, pick themselves right up and try again.
Follow Your Own North Star
The happy and successful in the world do not waste needless time and energy worrying about what others think of them. They are guided by their own North Star and are willing to risk the rolling eyes and shaking heads of those who chastise them for choosing to follow the “road less traveled.”
Think of the people whom you admire. Are they the ones who do what everyone else is doing, or are they the ones who march to the beat of their own drum? The people who I admire are those who are self-aware, confident, and true to themselves and their dreams. They may not be rich or famous, but they are happy because they are living their own lives and are governed by possibility instead of fear.
Empowering Affirmations to Fight Fear
Another exercise in the “Fearful Emotions” chapter instructs us to list our greatest fears related to ten key areas of life, from career and family to health and death. Following each fear, we are asked to create a positive corresponding affirmation to help counteract the fear. The area in which I am experiencing the most difficulty at present is health. My deepest fear and empowering affirmation for my health are as follows:
Health Fear: I will continue to have a plethora of ongoing health issues and it will only worsen as I get older.
Health Affirmation: I release my health problems and embrace my right to vibrant good health!
The above affirmation provides infinitely more possibility for my future than the corresponding fear. I was so energized by the affirmation that I have affixed it to both my computer and bathroom mirror so that I can subconsciously internalize my new belief throughout each day.
In Closing – Choosing the Positive
The chapter ends with a list of suggested affirmations to counter the destructive fears from the checklist in the first exercise. I end this post with my new empowering affirmations, as well as a few quotes I like on the topic of fear. May we all “feel the fear and do it anyway!”
- My age is perfect, and I enjoy each new moment. (replaces “Growing older frightens me.”)
- It is safe to express my feelings. (replaces “I have difficulty expressing my feelings.”)
- My inner vision is clear and unclouded. (replaces “I can’t focus on anything.”)
- My life is a success. (replaces “I feel like a failure.”)
- I will die peacefully and comfortably at the right time. (replaces “What if I have to endure a painful death?”)
Empowering Quotes on Fear:
- “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” – Unknown
- “FEAR is an acronym in the English language for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” – Neale Donald Walsch
- “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey
- “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon