It is important to recognise and acknowledge fear and embrace it. Sometimes ‘negative’ emotions like fear or anger propel us into action – so they can be really good motivators, especially if you are able to leverage them to get unstuck and start moving out of a situation that is depleting you and towards a place you want to be in. However, if fear is stopping you from pursuing your passion, your purpose and your career goals, it is not serving you. It can manifest as a fear of failure or fear of success. I go deeper into exploration of this with my clients. Sometimes I share with them a funny, yet often true definition of FEAR as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” It has helped my clients to take a different perspective.
So how do you do that? By cultivating self-love, awareness and being less judgemental of self (and others). Now, self-love is a concept that has been tossed around a lot and is often confused with ‘being selfish’ or ‘pleasing oneself’. The dictionary definition is pretty simple – ‘regard for one own’s well-being and happiness’. Yet it leaves us clueless as how to get there and it is not to be confused with buying new clothes or beauty treatments, indulging in hobbies or activities that are gratifying. There’s nothing wrong with these, but they address our wants or desires, not our needs. That is why they can never leave us fully satisfied and we for ever crave more….
Our needs on the other hand are a must-have for us to be leading a healthy happy life, and apart from physiological needs that we all have (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) our higher order needs will be closely linked to our values. We often confuse needs and wants because of the society and time we live in -relentless marketing and advertising is trying to convince us that the latest fashion item is a ‘must-have’ that we just need to ‘do it!’ and that we must have a certain experience, which is then going to make us happier, smarter, more attractive, and so on. Equally, certain industries, companies or careers are seen as ‘sexy’ and others not so. I have often seen clients struggling as they educated themselves to pursue a career that is socially highly regarded but has nothing to do with their core values and needs.
Going back to love and self-love, it is first and foremost about cultivating awareness. It is about being mindful. People who are cultivating self-awareness tend to know what they think, feel, need and want.
They act on what they NEED and not necessarily on what they WANT. If a want is taking you away from your true self, stop and check with yourself – am I pursuing this desire/want because I feel less of? Because I feel this will ‘improve’ me in some way? Because person XYZ has it? Often acting on impulse, which is RE-acting, will not bring us the result we want – true fulfilment. By staying focused on what you know, in your heart of hearts, is truly GOOD for you, you will be more and more able to turn away from automatic behaviour patterns, that lead you into guilt, self-blame, keep you stuck in the past and generally lessen self-love and self-esteem.
As we can only change that which we first recognise and accept, being mindful and self-aware is definitely step number one. Paradoxically, acknowledging and accepting an emotion, say fear or anger or doubt, liberates us to take action to change our pattern of thoughts and behaviours. Acceptance does not mean staying stuck, quite the opposite. Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance opens the door to change. Self-love also cultivates the state of ‘enough’. Abundance. Fear always comes from the feeling of lack or worry about a possible loss.
On a practical level you can ask yourself daily:
-Am I in love or in fear?
-What would love do now?
-Who is responsible for this (situation)? What is my contribution to this (situation)?
-Who am I angry with?
Boiled down to bare basics we can see that most of our emotions and actions are rooted either in love or in fear. They are at the opposite end of the spectrum and we mostly stand in one or another and create our life from there.
The state of ‘being in love’ brings more love, fulfilment, success and abundance. The state of ‘being in fear’ keeps you stuck, in blame, guilt, shame, in ‘lack mentality’. When we are in fear, we fear that we will lose something (respect, love, prestige, money). When we are ‘in love’ we are in the state of ‘being enough, having enough, doing enough’.
Finally, ask yourself, am I cultivating self-love or am I leading a compromised life out of fear?
Am I setting healthy boundaries in relationships, at work and with family and friends?
Am I in this job/career because it meets my core values and needs or because it answers my wants (plush offices, high salary, company car, etc)?
Am I staying in this job/career even though I hate it because of fear? What is this fear about? What am I afraid of losing? What can I gain if I acknowledge this fear fully and still take action to change?
Here is a simple table I put together to help you get clarity on the motives of your actions and behaviours as well as to understand better why you feel the way you feel, from time to time. Please KNOW that WE ARE ALL in the same boat, and we all oscillate between love and fear. But approaching life with self-awareness, full responsibility and intentionally creating your life IN LOVE will help you gain fresh insights and take inspired action.
|SELF LOVE AND SELF ACCEPTANCE||GUILT, SHAME|
|ABUNDANCE||LACK, FEAR OF LOSS|
|TRUST, FAITH||ANXIETY AND WORRY|
|HEALTHY BOUNDARIES||VICTIM MENTALITY|
|SELF-AWARENESS AND GROWTH||BEING STUCK, PLAYING SMALL|
|PERMISISON TO FAIL AND LEARN||SELF-JUDGEMENT AND LOW SELF-CONFIDENCE|
Are you ready to invest in SELF-LOVE and FULFILMENT and ABUNDANCE? If yes, I’d like to hear from you!