Your fear has a face. Learn to love it and push forwards!…

Your fear has a face. Learn to love it and push forwards!

You already know what your fear feels like. Perhaps it’s that flurry of butterflies, swirling around in your stomach. Perhaps it’s the sense of sweaty palms or blushing. I don’t know, you tell me! Fear has a thousand physical expressions and we all experience it differently.

How is it holding you back? What would you be doing differently if you didn’t have that little voice in your head? Would you be creating that series of podcasts, putting yourself forward for a promotion, asking that cute guy for a date?

Fear sucks.

Damn that fear!

Curse it, hate it, beat it, slate it! Damn yourself, whilst you’re at it, for letting it be there. Why can’t you be like all the others who just do stuff, right?!

Other people can just decide to  deal with A, B or C and they simply get on and do it. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be more like them!? Weak, pathetic, useless. A complete and utter failure!

NOOOOOOO!

You’ve done that to death already, haven’t you!? How is it working out for you? Badly? Wow, big surprise!

Bullying yourself doesn’t work. Hating fear doesn’t work either. The people you envy don’t have some list of talents and skills which you somehow lack, they’ve simply taken a different view of their fear. Yes, their fear. They have it too, you know! You’re not that different.

Fear is your friend!

Yes, that’s right. You heard me. Fear is your friend. It wants the best for you and it’s doing its damnedest to help you.

Fear isn’t some monster inside your head, wrecking your dreams and spoiling your life. Fear is just one of those friends who can be a little annoying sometimes. You know, one of those friends who jumps in a little too quickly with their advice. The friend who knows what’s best. We all have one of those, don’t we.

Well, fear is just like that.

Close your eyes and picture your friend!

Not quite yet, finish this paragraph first. Once you’ve finished this little bit of reading I want you to close your eyes and give your fear a harmless, friendly, cartoon-like face. It could be an animal, a person. Hell, it could be a tree or a stone for all I care. It just has to be nice, concerned, with a sweet and gentle voice. Oh, you can give it a cutesy little name, as well.

That’s it. Close your eyes now and dream up your scared little friend. Hear its frightened little voice. When you have that picture and its voice and name all figured out, you can open them again.

Now, what do you do with friends who are scared?

How could you bully that little lamb in the picture? You couldn’t could you?

No, you’d listen to what it has to say. You’d want to understand its motives. Why is it trying to help you in this way? Listen to that fear and hear its message!

Comfort that character. Imagine yourself talking to it in a calm and reassuring manner. Teach it that nice breathing routine you learned in yoga*. Cuddle up with it and imagine its body relaxing as you, too, take those nice deep breaths.

As it relaxes, let go of your muscles too. See how floppy, loose and calm your body can be when you just give it a break, permission.

That character is now the face of your fear.

Every time those feelings begin to rear their cute little heads you’ll find yourself picturing this darling little friend of yours.

You wouldn’t want to throw that friend in at the deep end, would you? No! So, decide what the first step towards your goals might be, reassure your friend that all will be well, and do it.

2018 could be the best year ever. With fear as your friend you can hold its hand and move forward. One step at a time!

* The breathing technique I teach to my clients is as follows: breathe in through your nose whilst counting (in your head) to three. Hold that breath whilst counting to three. Exhale through your mouth whilst counting to six. Repeat and adjust the length of the sections until you’ve found a soothing, regular, rhythm.

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Paul Hughes

I’m a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist practising in Oxford, Reading and London, UK. I specialise in working with those affected by…

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