We are told to ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’, to fall and get back up in the face of failure and finally to discover that we may in fact be more scared of shining, more scared of success than we ever were of failing in the first place.
This has been my story also.
You may know the story, child grows up with criticism and toxic parenting and hides their light to keep others happy. Fast forward into adulthood and we continue trying to please others. Maybe we went so far as being a people-pleaser and in the process we lost who we were, and were found hiding in the shadows far more secure and less scary than revealing the best of who we are.
In fact, I found depression, anxiety and social phobias extremely painful, but they were also very known to me. I felt secure in my absolute insecurity.
So, change to me, any kind of major change from failing to succeeding, from darkness into light is a big deal.
Why We Fear Change
From changing jobs, to getting married, to divorcing a loved one, to travelling or moving to a new house, to starting a new business, to giving birth to a child – all absolutely understandable reasons for fear.
The fight or flight response is inbuilt in all of us. Going down generations of evolution as human beings, we still feel we must flee in the eyes of impending danger such as a tiger chasing us or a lion coming to chow down on our heads, but somewhere along the way we forgot to check in to see if the fight or flight response was still relevant today. We forgot to question why we are scared when no tigers are present.
We are scared because our new tigers and lions are experiences out of our comfort zone. Triggers from childhood when we were perhaps belittled or criticised for trying new things or an unconscious belief that parents and adults in our lives growing up would only love us if we kept them happy.
My mother needed me to keep her happy. I felt responsible for her happiness most of my life. Due to feedback I received as a child, if I gave her what she wanted she was happy, if I went against that she would block me out and face a wall and give me a lengthy silent treatment. As a child this was devastating to me. Whenever I wanted to talk or had something challenging I needed to say, the silent treatment was very cruel and made me feel I was invisible and worth nothing.
What I noticed as a sensitive child was a feeling that when I was doing well or getting positive attention from my father or school, she would show the appearance of being pleased, but the vibes I got were not so. I felt a growing envy from her, which equalled in a child’s eyes her not loving me. So I learned that if I kept myself small and hidden, and didn’t shine, that I wouldn’t feel envy coming from her.
Fear of change can be so hard to process.
The New is Wanted but ALSO Not Wanted
Over my life I have noticed this deep need for change, enthusiasm for the prospective new coming in, excitement about it, but if and when it comes there is a feeling of meltdown, overwhelm and intense anxiety and this is where I am right now. Excited but equally terrified. I want this new experience, but a part of me is screaming ‘NOOOOO!’. That ‘No’ is coming from the child that still wants her mother to love her for being small: that ‘No’ is coming from part of me that feels far safer in the ‘known’ of life, but the unknown is what life is all about and we can continue to avoid the new, but eventually we need to step onto the unknown path, regardless of how much fear arises.
For example, my life has been on what I call the ‘slow train’ for a long time. The comfort zone was way too comfortable. I knew I had to make some big changes both in my life and how I operated. I was slipping back into procrastination when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and in a way I used it as an excuse to avoid the upcoming changes I had set for myself.
And this past week, after 3 months, I finally celebrated the successful fundraising campaign for the new mental health and music station Peace Within Radio that I am setting up and from that date a tidal wave of new things started to happen.
Committing To The Path Even When We Feel Overwhelmed
The fear of change can either stop us in our tracks or propel us into who we are meant to be growing into. We can hide from it, but the growing dissatisfaction can become so much that we know we have to take those new steps, wherever they may lead. It is in this self-commitment that life sets us in motion for our new lives. Life will not bring us what we need until we commit to that which has been calling us forward, even if we are scared on every level to take those steps.
Once I committed to going forward with Peace Within Radio, life immediately brought me ideas, people and the focus needed to take this step. However, change is not easy and my first week of self-commitment is full of excitement, but also intense physical tension and stress. The idea that this project is flowing reminds me of the big task I have ahead. To face once again fears of speaking and awakening to whoever this new me will be. I am to learn new tools, new skills, new technology in the short time before the launch on April 1st. And I am to interact with many new people, which as a once socially phobic person is very hard.
In my non-commitment days, I kept putting off the launch date until a good friend reminded me that whatever the launch date, there will always be a lot to do. So, it’s important when we are moving forward and afraid of change to recognise that putting off the change is not always good for us, but that taking the leap when we are still unprepared and scared is an important part of the move into the new.
Baby chicks learning to fly just leap, no idea if their wings will work, they just do it. Actors go on stage, nervous to step out from behind the red curtain, but the nerves and fear actually give the performance its greatest energy. When actors are not nervous their performances can often be stale and boring. We need fear to propel us. Like an airplane needs propellers to take off, perhaps we can learn to see fear as a necessary piece of human engineering that not only protects us from lions and tigers, but shifts the energy in our bodies so we can take that leap of faith.
The Tendency to Try and Control
When change comes and we consciously choose it, it is perfectly natural that we might grab onto passing people, control systems to tether us down so that we feel safe again. We may do this by trying to rush the process, trying to control other people, over-planning, pushing and forcing our energy forward, but often this is not what brings great change about.
What brings great change into our lives is learning to be more receptive, less masculine and more feminine. There is space for masculine ways but change needs to have a good balance. The masculine may move us onto the path and get us to move our feet forward or flap our wings to fly, but the feminine is the guiding light and receptive way of receiving what we need to do, what we need to know, what we need to open to for the change to be fully integrated in a loving and wholesome way.
My challenge has always been that when the new idea comes, I run full steam ahead into it, burning out very quickly and not taking the idea through to fruition, instead running, leaping, crash landing and stopping. I would over-plan and try to control my reality by finding ways to not procrastinate, but in doing so I overwhelmed my energy by giving myself no relaxation or ‘me time’. And we need ‘me time’ to refuel during big change. We need to take ourselves away from the situation or in my case the computer and let go of ‘doing’ in favour of ‘being’.
When we take the more feminine route, we open a door within us that allows us to take stock of where we are right now, what we need right now and it gives life or the universe the opportunity to fill our cup back up so we are ready once again to ‘do’ from a more grounded, centred place.
It’s so important that if we ever want something we feel passionate about to not just be a dream that is planned, but is also brought into the physical world fully, to commit to the idea, to drop into the feminine way of being receptive and follow through.
LET THE FEAR PROPEL YOU FORWARD
FLOW INTO THE FEMININE
And remember that every single person who takes a big leap of change feels the same emotions you are feeling right now.
As we learn to cover new ground and learn new skills or move from an old life into a new life, we are like nature, the seed dream was planted, the shell cracks open as we begin to commit to the new, the fear encourages us to move through the soil and up, past the overwhelm of rocks and perceived obstacles and to flow through to the surface to reach the light of a new day. And from there we grow, evolve and follow through.
What change are you embracing right now?