Fear, evolutionarily speaking, can be really valuable. For example, it lets us know when we are in danger. But in the world that we are living in right now, we don’t have to worry about getting eaten by a tiger, right?
We all have fears, and that’s completely fine. The thing is that we are used to talking about our fears in a way that gives them more power than they actually have. And what I’ve learned in looking at my own fears head on is that fears are only as powerful as you allowed them to be.
This time, I don't want to talk about my fears but TO my fears. This is kind of a throwback topic to me and I am looking forward to sharing it with you. So, let me introduce you to one of my old blog post series, the Dearest Fear series.
About two years ago, I decided to create a blog post series called Dearest Fear. The main concept of the series was about writing letters to my fear, and every letter was a post.
I really wanted the blog series to be more robust and wanted to talk about all my fears, but in the end, there were just two posts. Yes, only 2 letters:
Now, I think it's time to read those letters again.
In the past, when looking at my fear and trying to write it a letter, I was able to notice the real reason I was afraid, upset, or nervous. In fact, I realized that I was allowing my fear to have all the power and energy to control my emotions. But I also realized that I didn’t actually have to be afraid of this or that.
Recently, I have found myself not exactly writing a letter, but having a real conversation with my fear. What is below the surface? What am I unwilling to engage with? From this, I was reminded once again of this #DearestFear series that I am sharing again with you.
I have to say that I am very thrilled to see how so many things have changed in my life in the last couple of years! In fact, right now, there are many exciting things happening to me, which made me think, have feelings, and even have new fears.
In this season of change, it felt like the right time to look at where I’ve been. Also, I encourage you to look at your own fears and see what conversations need to be had. To check the full content of the letters, you can go to the original post or listen to me read them in the Be School podcast.
Without further ado, the first letter:
This letter is all about professional recognition. It’s about being "qualified" or "deserving".
After reading those words out loud on the podcast, I feel like I am preaching to myself. I still feel like I need so many things to be really worthy or qualified for an opportunity, things like:
More, more, more. I’m afraid that someone else will say no to me, so I pad myself all of these external markers of success. Meanwhile, there are people waiting for me to show myself as I am, but my fear just won't let me see it. This fear is a kind of imposter syndrome. When you let fear act as your recruiter, you’ll never be qualified enough.
With this letter, I just want to invite you to free yourself from pressure and acknowledge your fear. Talk to it. Feel it. Let it know that you don’t have to worry anymore, that you thank it for bringing it to your attention, but now you are moving on.
Comfort, convenience, and convention versus risks. Does that ring a bell? How often do we let fear not really seem like fear? We just tend to do what is wise, what everyone tells us the next step should be. However, when you get underneath the surface and you ask more questions, it’s different shades of fear that appear.
With this second letter, I want to invite you to start examining what you think you should do and what you really want to do. Try to rationalize this feeling of resistance based on how other people have acted or what’s most comfortable or convenient for you right now.
Like I said before, it’s not that fear is bad. Fear is useful in some situations, but not in most of them. From this letter, you can start to call yourself out and in. You can honestly ask “Is this really what I want for my next step?”.
My favorite question and tool are just to ask “why?” as many times as possible. Why, why, why. When you start digging, you are able to find a true reason, intention, or maybe fear. Once you really name it as fear, you will be able to engage with it in a different way.
I truly invite you to take some time to write a letter to your fear this week. If you are not sure what to write about, go back to that resistance feeling and make yourself these questions:
That’s probably where you want to start writing and just say “Hey fear!”. It doesn’t need to be a poetic or flowery letter. Just try to have a real conversation with your fear. Actually, you can say “Hey fear, thank you for the ways you’ve protected me, but I’ve got it from here”.
All the letters look different, and all the conversations look different as well. In fact, for some of you, maybe you just need time to sit, think, and ponder. Try to engage with your own fear and name it. Try to notice it as you move through the rest of your week. Maybe you are not ready to act on it yet, but you can start to get to know your fear in a new way.
Remember, fear is absolutely valid, but most of the fears that we build up don’t have to be real unless we allow them to be.