FEAR. Stepping off the edge…
FEAR is one of the biggest immobilizers known to human kind. It stops us in our tracks no matter how capable, educated, physically able or determined we are. When fear steps into the arena the game can be very quickly over. Now I'm not talking about the fear that comes up when you are in a position of physical danger, that is the useful kind of fear that will spur you to get the heck out of there. I'm talking of the fears that we create for ourselves by either recreating past events or projecting the worst possible outcomes in the future. That critical insider with the voice of doom.
Women particularly harbor fears, but what is interesting is that many of our fears come from our own habitual self talk, criticism and self minimization which turns inevitably into self-sabotage, and ultimately to regret. That inner critic that we all have can sometimes shout so loudly in our head that it drowns out the creative, passionate drive and ambition that we all have deep inside. In my opinion regret is one of the saddest words in the English language. It speaks of missed opportunities, lost hopes and dreams and a sense of grief for what could have been in a life unfulfilled. There are so many variations on the theme of fear. Fear of judgement, of not being good enough, not clever enough, fear of failure, success, loss, abandonment, getting older, of not "looking" the right way.... the list is endless. If we allow these fears to take over we are constantly scrambling to live up to ideals that we could never hope to achieve. I'm not saying here that you are not good enough to achieve what you want to achieve. I know that is what many could possibly interpret here. What I want to get across is that it is our fear of not "having, being or doing" what we aspire to that prevents us from "being, doing or having" what we want.
Fear creates a stress response, whether it is a "real life" threat, or one we have conjured up in our imagination. Imagine yourself taking a nice relaxing walk. It's a sunny afternoon and you're enjoying the fresh air and natural surroundings. You glance along the footpath and few metres ahead you spot a brown coloured snake. How do you feel? Afraid? Panicked? Want to run in the opposite direction? Paralyzed? Do you feel a churn in you body with the surge of adrenalin?
Any normal person would feel any or all of those things if encountering a potentially life threatening situation. Your subconscious mind takes over in a millisecond to protect you from the perceived danger. Your logical, rational, creative brain function shuts down and your entire neural system is now in a state of high alert. You cannot move forward. Your instinct is to stop or retreat.
Now look again. That thing up there isn't moving. You look closer, strain your eyes a little, put on glasses even, to see it a little clearer. Focus. What is it? Is it a fallen tree branch, or is it a snake? Your physiological response is telling you it's a snake, but now you are really looking at it you are not so sure. Take a step closer, it's a bit scary still but...wait a minute...it really isn't moving. Closer now you can clearly see that it is indeed a tree branch, the shadows from the foliage giving it a lifelike dimension.You see it for what it really is, breathe a sigh of relief, and you step past it going on with your journey.
What then, if we had such a strong physical response to what we "thought" was a snake, do we conjure up in our bodies when we have such an array of fearful thoughts and beliefs constantly triggering us? The answer of course is a drip fed cocktail of toxic stress hormones that keeps us paralyzed and exhausted, sick and tired. We suffer adrenalin fatigue and reduced brain function. Loss of focus, creativity, ambition, patience and the ability to empathize. We suffer reduced immunity, digestive disruption, effects on the menstrual cycle, plus many more conditions that are the damaging effects of stress and fear on the female mind and body. Our mind is such a powerful force that it can create a full physical chain reaction based on a perception. WOW!