Fear is often at the root of all other feelings. When you are unable to meet your own needs, or those you depended on as a child couldn’t be there for you emotionally or physically, a deep sense of insecurity may leave you feeling scared and unsafe in the world.
Having the belief something is dangerous (even when it isn’t) can make us fearful. A fear only has to be acknowledged to be transformed. Fear is a healthy emotion and used wisely lets us know we need to take action and take care of ourselves and those we care about.
Fear-based thinking and the associated feelings which go with it, can become a habit. We might find ourselves responding automatically, reacting to something in the present moment which reminds us of a past experience. Becoming aware of your internal dialogue is the first step towards stopping automatic fearful thinking. By having an awareness that not all thoughts are based on current reality, you are able to re-frame your current perceptions. Fear can be used as a motivating force. It helps us to move beyond personal limitations and aids us in developing coping strategies to overcome real or imagined fears.
The emotion of fear is very closely linked to anxiety. If we are anxious about something, our fear escalates. Fear is a natural impulse when we feel our survival is threatened. Frequently our childhood fears are carried through into adulthood, until we are able to gather enough information to realise there is nothing to fear. Like finding out there were no monsters living under the bed, ghouls or gremlins loitering inside the cupboards, we can change beliefs when the evidence is contrary. Children are afraid of many things. Some of their fears are very real and remain under the surface of conscious awareness. We carry around many limiting beliefs based on childhood fears.
What childhood fears were true for you?
Fear of monsters, the dark, scary movies, shadows on walls or the whistling wind? Other fears might include the fear of expressing your emotions, upsetting your mother, fear of being left alone, fear of rejection and criticism, blame or judgement. Fear of showing love, not being loved and also fear of being emotionally smothered may also have been true for you? Were you afraid of your mother’s anger, being smacked or physically reprimanded, getting things wrong, being shouted at, or being sent to your room for punishment? Fear may also include deep concerns about survival, health and poverty such as not having a home to live in, not having enough to eat etc. Safety and trust issues as well as physical or emotional health problems are all things we (and our mothers) may have feared at some time in our lives. How many of those fears are true for you now as an adult?
Their mothers had finally caught up with them and been proven right. There were consequences after all but they were the consequences to things you didn’t even know you’d done - Margaret Atwood
As a child, what did you fear the most in relation to your mother?
Add your own fears to the list
· Fear of being hit, slapped, pushed etc
· Fear of being sent to your room alone
· Fear of not being fed
· Fear of being locked away or sent away
· Fear of your mother’s anger and rage
· Fear of verbal attack
· Fear of being rejected, unloved, unaccepted or disapproved of
· Fear of public humiliation
· Fear of your mother being out of control
· Fear for your safety or survival
Through my client work and case studies shared, there is a clear indication many children have been afraid of their mothers and still are, even as adults.
· When you were frightened as a child what did you do?
· How did your fear manifest itself? (muscle tension, stomach ache, trembling, changes in body temperature, hyperventilation, crying, shaking, fainting)
· What is it you fear now as an adult in relation to your mother?
· When you are afraid of her what do you do, how does your behaviour change?
Take some time to reflect on your fears and allow yourself to move beyond your fear- based thinking, apply this three step process:
1. Thank your fear-based thoughts for being there and acknowledge you realise they are trying to keep you safe (i.e. I better not speak up, I will upset my mum and make her angry)
2. Remind yourself ‘I am not my thoughts’ (thoughts are only thoughts and not current evidence)
3. Replace the negative, fear-based thoughts by re-framing and creating positive empowering thoughts (every day in every way, I’m feeling more confident about voicing my thoughts and feelings)
Acknowledging and understanding your fears, as well as exploring why they are present, is an important step forward. If you avoid transforming your fears, you live with a false sense of security with underlying pain and confusion.
Moving beyond fear exercise
Use a blank sheet of paper
On one side, write the titles ‘Past – Present – Future’, list your fears which are based either in the past, present or future. On the other side of the page, identify your limiting beliefs related to these fears and the age that you were when these beliefs first formed.
Many of the fears we keep hold of are irrational, outdated and untrue. Making time to explore outdated beliefs in relation to your fears sets you free from them. If you'd like to download a free chapter on limiting beliefs then go to www.wendyfry.com to download this information from my first book Find YOU, Find LOVE
Two acronyms to remember for FEAR are: Failure to Experience Actual Reality and Feeling Excited And Ready. Fear and excitement create similar feelings in our gut area (solar plexus) so what we perceive as fear, may be another feeling entirely. With awareness, you are able to stop your fears escalating.
EFT as described in Chapter Six of Mothers and Daughters: The guide to understanding and transforming the relationship with your mother can help you reduce and eliminate your unwanted fears.
Download a guided meditations for fear release When fear becomes destructive, it stops you from achieving the things in life which are important to you. Whether it’s a desire for happier relationships, improved health and emotional well-being or simply living a more abundant life fear has a lot to answer to. This guided meditation will support you in letting go of what’s been weighing you down and moving past your past and enabling you to create for yourself a happier future
If you need some help and support in working through your fears please do make contact to discuss the range of support options available to you
Everything you want is on the other side of fear - Jack Canfield