You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Fear Monger. The Fear Monger, is the voice from deep inside us that has the potential to keep us complacent, stuck and safe. It prevents us from moving forward and striving towards a place of change and living happier. The number one key to fighting The Fear Monger is recognizing its presence. Don’t get me wrong it is tricky, it talks a good game but once you start paying attention you can usually recognize it’s language and tone. Most of The Fear Monger’s messages are around being responsible, staying safe, thinking of other people, and being a good person. The Fear Monger tends to pick up on whatever it is you value (e.g. your family, status, security) and twist the message around until you are convinced the best thing for you to do is stay put, make no changes and take no risks.
The Fear Monger can be tricky, frequently when he/she starts talking to us and getting under our skin we express the anxiety/fear that emerges in a variety of ways: picking a fight with our significant other, eating too much, drinking too much, feeling anxious or unfocused. Each of us expresses it differently and at different times. As I have started paying attention to my Fear Monger I am amazed how unconsciously she will just play there in my brain perhaps saying, “you can’t do this, who do you think you are” and if she plays long enough, eventually I will have this overwhelming urge to eat, or watch TV and stop whatever work I am doing. If I am not vigilant and aware of her messages, before I know it I will have shut down my computer and I will be eating a bag of Reese cups in front of the TV.
So what can you do? How can you defeat such an elemental part of yourself?
Step One: Start recognizing your Fear Monger. Give her/him a name a face–it can be extremely creative or something as simple as Scared Nancy (bet you couldn’t guess, that’s mine ). Pay attention to the message she/he tends to send and when he/she tends to come out the most. Build awareness around how you react to the fear monger, do you eat, watch TV, become agitated, pick a fight or just give up.
Step Two: Once you recognize the Fear Monger has been playing your head acknowledge it, actually bless it. Frequently I will say, “thank you ‘scared Nancy’ I appreciate your fear but I got this one. I can handle this and I want to move forward”. I know that sounds crazy–but trust me it works. It is as if acknowledging this very real part of us allows her to relax–she feels heard and she can then settle down. The message she is sending is a negative one, her mission is to protect us from growing too much, getting too much out of our comfort zone.
Now I admit depending on how much change you are making you might need to acknowledge her over and over again. This is a process, at first you might not recognize your Fear Monger has been talking until you are in the midst of an argument with your spouse. The more you practice, the quicker you will catch The Fear Monger in the moment. Eventually you will catch him/her as they are chatting away their negative propaganda and you will be able to bless them and move on in the moment.
Step Three: Know your big picture and take small steps The Fear Monger is there to help us from getting hurt. He/she is a real part of us, just a scared fearful part. So in order to keep her fear messages to a minimum, you need to have a two fold process, first know your big picture. Know what you are going after: more time with your family, more fulfillment, more happiness, more vacation time, etc. Once you know what your larger goal is you can then begin to break it down into small steps. Maybe you are wanting to explore going back to school. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go back to school next quarter. You can start with small steps: researching schools, gathering application materials, making a plan for finances, and taking entrance exams if necessary. I know from experience, when we know why we are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone (big picture) and then able to take action steps (small steps), blessing our Fear Monger along the way we will be able to live happier lives.