I’ve always been a pretty brave person.
Picture it. Waco, Texas. Spring 1990. (in my best Sophia Petrillo voice) It was the morning of the first grade grade TAAS test. Standardized tests have never been my jam. Mama Terry, as per usual, came thru with the gamechanger. She wrote Philippians 4:13 down on a little sheet of paper. She said, “Put this in your pocket and anytime you feel anxious or scared, you take it out, read it and then set it on your desk. You can do all things, Tisha. Remember that.”
And that’s what I did. Halfway thru the test, I took out that little sheet of paper and I read the verse, written in my mom’s beautiful handwriting. I set it on my desk and then knocked that test out the park.
Don’t get it twisted, honey bunny.
I have always felt fear and I will always feel fear. In fact, I think that what surprises most people when they really get to know me is how much I feel fear and worry. You’d never know that from the outside looking in. I try my best to carry myself like a duck -- cool and calm on top and paddling furiously underneath the water.
Shooo, if I’m honest, the reason I started going down the path of personal development and self-help so early on is because I needed help managing my emotions and what I was experiencing in life.
You see, there literally is never a moment in your life when you’re not a newbie.
For example, I’ve never experienced life as a 35 year old new mamapreneur with a 10 month old baby before this moment. Tomorrow it’ll be something else and the next day. So on and so forth.
Knowing this, it’s been somewhat easy to cut myself some slack when it comes to having everything figured out, keeping my emotions in check, especially fear.
Real talk: fear is crippling. It can keep us right where we are, afraid to move forward and to take actions that we know are in our best interests. It convinces us to run instead of rise, to shrink back instead of raising our hand, to settle instead of demanding something better.
That being said, it is of the utmost importance that we are able to sit down with our fear, hold it up to the light of our self-awareness, and process what it is really trying to tell us. Our fears contain useful information about our beliefs and what could potentially be holding us back.
Here are three powerful ways for you to sit down with your fear and process what it is telling you:
1) Conduct a fear inventory.
Many moons ago, I went into a little shop at the Richland Mall in Waco, Texas that sold a lot of hippie-esque items. I ended up purchasing a little notepad that had baby Guatemalan worry dolls on top of it. On the back of the notepad, it shared the story of how indigenous people in Guatemala would tell all of their fears and worries to the dolls so that they could sleep better. The notepad was to be used to write down all of my fears and worries so that I could get them off of my chest.
I still have the notepad to this day. From time to time, I will sit down and write down every single fear of mine. If the same fear reoccurs during the process, I write it down as many times as it comes up. It feels really good to just brain dump all of the negativity that is taking up mental space.
I suggest you do the same -- carve out 8 minutes of your time and get to dumping. Write down everything that causes you fear, no matter how big or small. Scared that you might need to change your brakes or pay your bills this month? Scared that you’ll end up alone or in a crappy relationship? Scared that your boss will reprimand you for being late three times this month? Scared of your own shadow? Whatever it is, recognize it by writing it down.
2) Feel the fear.
For whatever reason, oftentimes, we don’t allow ourselves to really feel our fear. Whether it’s because we want to prove we’re tough or we’re just tired of feeling the ick. This actually makes it worse. It’s only by feeling the fear and letting it go that we can move forward feeling light instead of weighed down. As Robert Frost wrote in his 1915 poem, A Servant to Servants, “The best way out is always through” and as I like to say, “You’ve got to feel to heal.”
I got this fantastic practice from my teacher, Gabrielle Bernstein who got this from her teacher, Rha Goddess. I have expanded on it, too --
3) Feel your body.
I read somewhere that the body cannot tell the difference between fear and excitement. I couldn’t agree more. It’s important to understand how different emotions feel in your body. Oftentimes, your body knows before your mind does, so if you can get fascinated with how you’re physically feeling, you can deal with molehills before they become mountains.
Case in point, I love teaching yoga. I love sharing the practice with people and watching their face light up with a-ha moments. However, something funny would always happen to me the night before and an hour before my scheduled class -- I was filled with dread. I’m talking crippling, can I just cancel this class dread that made me stop dead in my tracks. I would feel this dread right up until the moment I took a deep inhale and started the class with, “Meet me at the top of your mat.” I can't even tell you what I was really scared of. It was just this crazy feeling.
Afterwards, I felt fantastic, like I was living my purpose. I could never reconcile these two feelings that live on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
I realize now that I wasn’t filled with fear, but rather excitement. The nervewracking, pulse racing tizzy I experienced was really my body’s way of anticipating awesomeness. Once I realized what I was really feeling, it became easier for me to harness this energy with grounding exercises, such as power posing. Before each class, I power posed like Wonder Woman for five minutes. I felt my feet connect to the earth and I lengthened up thru my spine. I also closed my eyes, focused on my breath, and visualized how I wanted the class to go.
This made all the difference.
Listen, boo, there won’t ever come a time where you don’t feel fear. It’s a part of life. It never gets easier, you just get better at processing it, determining if you should pay attention to what it’s saying and then perhaps proceeding in spite of it.
I’m just in love with Liz Gilbert’s take on fear in her book, Big Magic (which by the way I highly recommend):
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and tell me what practices help you process your fear.
I’m cheering for you. Like you’re the hero(ine) in a horror story.
From the Front Row,
P/S Are you ready to uplevel your life and kick fear in the ass? Join my group coaching program, "Developing the Maven Mindset: Overcome Fear, Self-Doubt, & Imposter Syndrome" today. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼