Courage doesn’t exist without fear.
Courage is the character trait we must develop in order to overcome fear.
The only way we can build courage is by exposing ourselves to fear.
We can’t passively build it while sitting on the sofa watching TV.
Not Building Courage is Not an Option
If we don’t take the first steps to build courage, we won’t ever be able to overcome the fear that is a natural part of being human.
We must utilise courage to overcome our fear and increase our capability. Growing our capability is what creates and increases our confidence.
The more capable we feel, the more confidence we build.
Fear is a natural part of the deal of evolving and growing as a human being.
Courage is what allows us to move through that fear.
Fear of the Unknown
We experience fear when we’re faced with the unknown.
And growing into more will always be unknown.
We can’t evolve into the next version of who we’re capable of becoming if it’s already known. It doesn’t work that way.
Whenever we feel fear, our brains will tell us we’re going to die! Our brain’s job is to keep us safe – and alive! And in our minds, certainty (the known) equals safety. So anytime we are faced with the unknown, the old grey matter will scream Stop!
Fear is the No.1 reason that keeps my clients stuck, often paralysed, in their lives and marriages, and unable to move forward.
It’s also the biggest reason that prevents them from telling themselves the truth about what they really want.
They are terrified of leaving the safety of their comfort zones. Even when remaining there is making them thoroughly miserable.
Today there are very few real threats to our physical safety. We are no longer at risk of being chased and eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger!
The Root of Our Fear
What we are really afraid of is our feelings – the emotional pain we imagine we will feel. We believe we will feel that way forever and never escape it.
And so our fear of emotional pain keeps us paralysed. For weeks. Months. Years. Or a lifetime.
We fill our minds with fear-fuelled thoughts about worst-case scenarios.
We ‘awfulise’ about an unknown future.
And we vastly under-estimate our ability to move beyond our fear and overcome adversity.
We are far more resilient and resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. Very often, we don’t realise our own strength and capability until it is tested.
Moving Towards or Away
There are two ways of being in the world:
- We can choose to move away from our fear. We can react to fear and use it as the reason (excuse) to stay stuck
- We can choose to move towards our fear. We can move through it by using courage to build resilience, overcome adversity and create confidence
So, how do we move through fear and build our courage muscle? Here are five steps to get you started:
1. Decide to Move Towards Your Fear by Using Courage
It starts with the decision to be willing to move towards your fear, in spite of wanting to run in the opposite direction!
- Make the commitment to yourself that you will not allow fear to be in the driving seat of your life
- In deciding, acknowledge that your feels very real – and scary!
- Have compassion for yourself for being willing to take action in spite of your fear
- Trust that you have everything you need within you to face and overcome your fear
- Congratulate yourself – You have taken the first step to building your courage
Note: If you’re not yet ready to move towards your fear, have even more compassion for yourself. It’s okay.
2. Get Clear on Your Fear
Most of our fears are simply disjointed and often irrational thoughts swirling around in our minds. It’s time to get them out of your head and on to paper!
- Take a sheet of paper and make a list. Write down every single thing that scares you about your situation. Do a complete brain-dump. Include everything, even the things that seem ridiculous. Spend five minutes writing and don’t stop until you run out of fears
- When you have completed your list, read through your fears
- As you read, allow yourself to feel your fear and really tune into it. Allow your fear to be present in your body and notice where you feel it and what sensations you are experiencing
- As you feel your fear, be aware that what you are feeling is simply a vibration in your body, happening in response to the thoughts you are thinking
- When you are ready, read through your list again and notice that what you have is a list of thoughts, not facts (though some of your thoughts may have a factual element to them)
- Understand it is your thoughts creating your fear, not your situation. (This is very good news because you have control over your thoughts!)
3. Categorise Your Fears
- Review your list again and divide it into two sub-lists. Firstly, highlight the fears that are completely without factual basis. For example: ‘If we get divorced, I’ll end up penniless and homeless, living on the street!’ These types of thoughts are created by your inner Fear-Mongerer; it’s your brain ‘awfulising’ about the worse case imaginable. These thoughts have no basis in fact, they are simply your mind’s way of desperately trying to keep you safe by maintaining the status quo
- Choose to let go of these unfounded fear thoughts that are outside of your control. They are neither true nor helpful
- Next, make a second list of the thoughts that have some truth or validity to them. For example: ‘I don’t know how I would pay the mortgage and bills by myself if we separate.’
- For each item on this list, identify an action you can take to mitigate the fear. For example, for the above fear you might write: ‘I can create a spreadsheet of all my income and outgoings to calculate my monthly expenses.’ Assign a date to complete each action.
4. Take Action
- Begin taking the actions identified on your second list. You will immediately feel more in control of your situation and this will lessen your fear
- As you complete each action, identify the next one, and then the next, and keep going until you have completely overturned your fears
5. Remember to be Kind to You
Facing and moving through your fears is not for the faint of heart. Be kind and compassionate with yourself as you do this work – and acknowledge yourself for having the courage to do so.
It’s a process so don’t expect to go through it perfectly the first time. When your fear gets a grip on you once again and you find yourself back in that stuck place, have compassion for yourself.
Allow yourself to feel afraid. Know that it’s what makes you human.
Trust that you have the inner resources and resilience to face whatever comes your way.
And when you are ready, begin again.
You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
And there is so much more available for you on the other side of fear.
Want Support to Build Your Courage Muscle?
If you’d like to explore where fear is keeping you stuck in your life and marriage and how you can move beyond it, get in touch to request your confidential 30 minute complimentary Mini Clarity Session.
I’ll help you get clarity on your situation and we’ll explore if working with me is the right solution to help you move forward in your life and marriage in 2017.
To request your session, email me at Julie@JulieMarah.com and we’ll get your session scheduled and confirmed.