To Live Your Best Life
This is the first in a series of blog posts on fear. I will talk about how to face your worst fears, how to question your thoughts and fears, and show you how to use fear to find your true calling in life and work.
My son was recently diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. He has some major hurdles to face with this disease.
As mothers, our worst fears and concerns often center around our children. I watched my own mother lose her youngest son, my younger brother, by murder almost seven years ago. As a mother, I witnessed my mother going through the unimaginable. I can still hear her words, “I can’t believe I won’t ever see Byron on this earth again.” Watching her go through the unimaginable was heartbreaking.
Now she is watching me go through this health issue with my own son, and she is concerned for me and her only grandson.
In each of our lives, we have a “worst” fear that we may or may not have to face. However, if we don’t acknowledge and face that fear, it will most likely drive our behavior, and we will suffer more than grieve.
Some of us don’t ever want to face our fears so we bury them deep inside or push them away.
But guess what? What you resist persists and it can get even bigger and scarier this way. Just like our thoughts, fears can subconsciously drive our behaviors, which create the life we have today.
I found that practicing a form of inquiry called The Work of Byron Katie, helps me stop suffering. Your task is to become conscious of your thoughts and the stories you tell. Are they stories you want to live out? If not, create a new and more empowering story.
Here’s what I am doing right now to help me stay present and take care of myself so I am present to help my son.
Name your fear: In ancient cultures, the tribe would name the good and feared deities.
What is your worst fear? Write it down. Examples: I will lose my job. I will run out of money. She will leave me. He will die. I will end up on the streets.
Question it: Go into the situation where you believe it’s true and answer from that place.
Q. Is it true? Answer as a yes or no depending on if you believed it was true or not.
Q. Can you absolutely know it’s true? Yes or no
Q. How do you react when you believe that thought? Write down the emotions you feel and where you feel them in your body when you BELIEVE your worst fear. The important piece here is to notice how your body and mind react when you believe this thought. See how this thought causes suffering, and feel it and name it.
Q. Who would you be without this thought? If you couldn’t believe this thought (I touched you with my light saber and the thought disappeared), who would you be and what would you be doing without this thought? See yourself doing your life without this thought in your mind.
Turn the thought around. You want to look at this fear/thought from different perspectives. The mind seeks evidence for anything it believes. Your mind has been focused on that fear or a related stressful thought. Just like a horse wearing blinders, your mind is not seeing anything but what it believes to be true. What we are doing with The Work is looking at your worst fear from different angles to open your mind to find your real truth. This is how you get free and find some peace.
Original thought: I will lose my job.
Turn it to the opposite: I will not lose my job.
Give three genuine specific examples of how the opposite could be as true or truer than the original thought. The key is to be as specific as possible because your mind will not believe generalities.
1) In reality, today I have that job. So I can be present (not in a future story) because today I have my job.
2) My thoughts tell me I will lose my job. I don’t have to listen to my thoughts and be afraid.
3) Being good at my work is my job, and I can’t lose the knowledge of my work.
Turn it to yourself. Put you in place of the “other” – the job.
I will lose me.
How could it be as true or truer that you will lose you if you continue to believe you will lose your job?
1) I will lose me if I live in fear of losing my job. I can choose to stay present.
2) I will lose me if I allow myself to suffer and stay in the story of potentially losing my job.
3) I will lose me if I don’t eat well, exercise and take care of myself.
Now turn it around to the “other” – in this case it’s the job.
My job will lose me.
1) If I don’t stay focused on my work while I am at work, my job will lose me.
2) My job is to take care of myself so that I don’t lose myself.
3) When I’m not present, the best of me doesn’t show up to do my job.
We all get to decide what “story” we want to live by. Today I am choosing to live an empowering story that I have been in training for the past six years for this time in my life, which is facing my worst fear. Six years ago, when my younger brother was killed, I sought to go inside and do deep personal work.