I consider myself an expert in fear.
Not because I have had any major upheavals in my life. Thankfully, I’ve never overcome a serious disease, survived a natural disaster or endured emotional or physical abuse.
In fact, I am extremely grateful to declare the very opposite—that my childhood was trauma free.
Nope, I consider myself to be an expert in battling the demons in my own head.
It all started when I fainted during my first-grade choir concert. My classmate, Meg, fainted from the top row of the bleachers, and in a subconscious gesture of empathy, I went down right after her, breaking my glasses and flailing on the gymnasium floor.
It’s possible that this triggered some kind of coping mechanism in my brain, because I started fainting again and again.
I had several tests, and the doctors found nothing medically wrong with me. I literally scared myself to the point of fainting.
What affected me the most during those early years of growing up was not the tangible act of fainting, but my anxiety anticipating when and where I would faint next. Whenever I wasn’t moving, whenever I tried to be still, my thoughts traveled to the fear of fainting.
As time went on, anxiety moved around to other areas of my life, becoming my constant companion. I prayed fear would leave me alone but that’s not how fear works. Instead, it only came on stronger—robbing me of true peace and joy.
So for me, courage is about fighting for my freedom. It’s about noticing the old thoughts and beliefs that so desperately want to take over and keep me small and repeating over and over again, “Not today, fear. Not today.”
HOW TO FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM FROM FEAR:
- DECLARE that you're willing to change. Acknowledge that fear is holding you back from being free and make a conscious decision to do something about it.
- NOTICE your thoughts. Begin to discern between fear based thoughts and loving thoughts. Grab a bowl of popcorn and act as though you're watching a movie in your mind. What kind of mind drama is showing up?
- FIGURE out how fear is affecting your life. How is it stopping you from moving forward as your best self? Fear comes in all shapes and sizes, but is commonly seen as procrastination, perfectionism, paralysis, and overwhelm.
- SEPARATE yourself from your fear. Try personifying fear by giving it a nape, a shape, even a color. What does it sound like? How do you know when fear is present? It will take time and practice to distinguish between you and fear. You are not one and the same.
- TALK to your fear. It's trying to protect you from something. That's just evolution, baby. What is it trying to protect you from? What will happen if you listen to it? What will happen if you don't listen to it?
- THANK your fear. Instead of being angry and calling it mean names, love up on it. Appreciate what it's trying to do and acknowledge that most of the time, you don't need its help. Come right out and tell fear you've got it covered.
- STRENGTHEN your intuition. Fear is separating you from your inner being, your wisdom, your guidance, and your truth. Shift fear-based thoughts to those of love and faith.
Shifting you relationship with fear takes time. The thoughts, beliefs and standards that you are currently living by are deeply ingrained in your head.
But know this: Fear isn’t something to run away from anymore— you’ll get over it by moving through it.
Respect it. Create boundaries around it. Get curious with it. And hold it at a distance so you can move onward with all that you know is possible.
So tell me, how is fear holding you back today? What do you want to do about it?
Carly Hamilton-Jones is a mindset coach who helps busy, high-achieving women find the direction they’re craving and dare to start moving in it. Overwhelm, self-doubt and perfectionism are obstacles that stand in the way of our big life and business goals. Carly guides women through mindset strategies and gives them the tools necessary to create a clear plan of action and move forward with confidence. Carly has 20 years of experience coaching, mentoring and teaching women and young adults to create lasting change, shift their thoughts and beliefs and lead purpose-driven lives. Connect with her at carlyhamiltonjones.com or on Instagram @carlyhamiltonjones.