HOW TO TAME YOUR FEAR

Hi friends,

Today’s post is the first in a series called unpopular opinions. Because a lot of what’s out there in the wellness and personal growth world is simply damaging, and I think we can do better. So I’m sharing some unpopular opinions and today we're starting with fear.

And in order to talk about fear, we have to talk about our ego -  that part of us that perpetually believes there is a bear waiting for us around the corner, that says no to speaking up, that tells us we’re not ready yet (ever), and that keeps us playing small.

 Why yes, this is perfect IG STORY size, cause ya'll know my love for stories...

Why yes, this is perfect IG STORY size, cause ya'll know my love for stories...

Here’s the deal: I'm tired of hearing about strategies that help us shut the ego up, push past our fears, and convince us to see our inner critic like a jerk roommate who is being mean just for fun.

THE EGO ISN'T BEING MEAN FOR FUN

Your ego is mean because it’s freaking petrified and is doing everything in its power to stop you from taking risks, because it falsely believes that risk = certain death. So yes, your inner critic is a jerk and a fear-mongler, but only because it’s trying to protect you. It’s mislead in its efforts, but it’s genuinely doing its level best.

Though relating to you fear by pushing past it may work for a moment, a month, or even a year, it’s not a sustainable way of living and is in fact damaging towards our goal of having a loving, respectful relationship with ourselves.

If you want to learn how to tame your fear and move forward, you have to learn how to make peace with the part of you that’s petrified.

Heck, you need to fall in love with it.  

Our fear isn't a kink in the machine we need to work out in order to evolve and reach some bigger, bolder, state of being. When we treat it like a flaw, we communicate to ourselves that we’re not to be trusted.

Except we can and should be trusted.

Fear is an instrumental part of our human experience. Not only did it give our species an opportunity to survive as we evolved (obvi), but to this day, it’s the part of us that reminds us that we are innately interdependent, requiring support from other people, our environment, and most importantly ourselves.

With the continually growing wealth gap, and frightening as hell abuses of power, we could all use a worldwide reminder of just how interdependent and connected we are.

So let’s consider reframing fear, shall we? If you’ve worked with me or another therapist/coach, it’s likely that you’ve done some inner child work. Made space for little you to show up and share what it’s wigging out about.

Being in a healthy relationship with the healthy human part of us that gets afraid is about being in relationship with our inner child. If your fear brings up an inner critic that looks a lot more like a big, angry bully and less like a snivelling toddler, I promise you under all that rage there is a boatload of fear and sadness. Hurt people hurt people.  Bullies are a prime example of this.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE AFRAID:

Sit down somewhere quiet, put your phone on airplane mode and set your phone timer for five minutes. Close your eyes, and locate where the fear is in your body - it might be in your belly, your chest or somewhere else. Place your hand there and draw soft, focused attention to the spot, as if your inner vision is just slightly blurred. Get curious about the sensations that you feel - is it tight, is there heat or a buzzing energy? Take a couple of deep, slow, gentle breaths into the sensation. Then, engage your curiosity a little more. Ask yourself, “If this part of me could speak, what would it say?”

Try not to judge what you hear in response. It’s okay if you feel like you’re making something up - you are! You’re connecting with a scared, inner (child) part of you that deserves its voice being heard too.

Now ask that afraid part of you, “What support do you need?”

Listen to its answer without judgment and thank it for telling you where it’s at and asking for what it needs.

Close this moment of connecting with yourself by taking a few more deep breaths, and returning to the awareness of being in your body and in the room.

TIME TO INTEGRATE

To integrate the learning, grab a journal or a friend, and explore what came up. What is your fear really like when you pause to look at it? What does that afraid part of your long for the rest of you to understand? What support does that scared part of you need? Who could offer you that support.

To tame our fear, we must learn to love it. And love isn’t just a thing we feel - it’s a thing we do and we are. Learn to love your fear by giving it your attention, letting it have it’s voice, and asking it what it needs so it can calm down and quiet down.

You got this.

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THE BE WITH MASTERMIND

Did you hear/read my announcement for  coaches, wellness practitioners, and other big-hearted business babes? If fear gets in your way on the regular and you’re aching for more support to learn how to look it in the eye and take action in your business anyway, I've got something really special for you...

This January, join me and a group of 4 other women for a six month mastermind to support you and your business growth by prioritizing your personal growth. 

It's time to learn how to show up for yourself, so that you can show up for your business and your clients like never before. It's also time to stop trying to go at this alone.

This first enrolment is for new business owners who have been full time for less than two years or who are still in the side hustle stage. 

Established business owners, I see you, and I LOVE having you around. I know your business systems are pretty damn smooth and that you've learned how to make it do. I also know that the only thing that's holding you back now is the deep internal work. I got you babe, and will be doing a special enrolment for bosses just like you very soon. To be the first to hear about it, let me know by email or IG direct message. 

PROGRAM DETAILS

FORMAT:  Twelve bi-weekly 90 minute calls expertly facilitated by me, offering you community, accountability and the emotional support you've been looking for to make your vision a reality.

VALUES: Steeped in the Be With methodology which means you have to be a YES to the following:

  • being real over being perfect
  • sustainable, intuitive growth
  • taking aligned action rather than mindless hustle 
  • exploring the possibility that you already have everything you need, including the answers you seek 

COST: $220 X 6 Months, or $1250 upfront (USD)

WHAT THIS ISN'T: A business program to teach you business strategies.

WHAT THIS IS: My zone of genius is holding space for women so they can learn to trust themselves and live from the truth of who they are. Expect to find a space space to fall apart, be challenged, grow and flourish.

LET'S GET MASTERMINDING!

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Feeling Burned Out? This Might Be Why.

I’ve spent the last month and a half pouring  all of my energy, money, time and emotional labour into recovering from a case of burnout.

That doesn’t feel like the sparkliest or proudest thing for me to share as someone who’s known for preaching the benefits of self-care, but it’s the truest.

And I’m a firm believer in telling the truth.

Here’s what my burnout looked like: no inspiration to write, mysterious body pains that made me feel like I was eighty, resentment about getting up and doing my dream job every day, and rolling in bed from side to side for hours before falling asleep anxious about a million little things. Sound familiar?

(NONE of those things turned out to be “the problem” in the end. What you think is the problem isn't usually the problem. Always go deeper.)

It was brutal.

My burnout happened in slow motion, over months of saying yes when I should’ve said no, and repeatedly ignoring what was going on for me - but it also happened in a split second, a moment of awareness when I suddenly said the words “I’m burned out” out loud and then immediately wondered to myself, “How the hell did I get here?”

Thankfully, I took my own advice, and 1) slowed down to speed up and 2) trusted that I came by this burnout honestly. I applied my own Be With methodology and coaching approach to myself, and here’s what I learned:

BURN OUT IS THE RESULT OF LIVING OUT OF ALIGNMENT

A month into recovering from burnout my friend Alyssa messaged me to ask how I was doing. I instinctively typed back, “I’m coming back to myself.” I didn’t know exactly what this meant, but I had a sense that it was a piece of the puzzle in understanding what had happened.

Everything I teach as part of Be With is something I’m working on practicing in my own day to day life. At the the heart of Be With is my relationship with myself, my ability to be with me.

Being With myself means paying attention to what I feel, and honouring my feelings as information for me to listen to. Being With myself means being tuned into my wants, needs, intuition and inner child. Being With me means living from the truth of who I am, rather than from a place of trying to please or impress others. THIS is what I mean when I say the words living in alignment.

ALIGNMENT = Being in loving, attentive and fully expressed relationship with myself

After I noticed I was burned out, I realized that I had been living out of alignment with who I really am. I was getting ready to run an offering that felt like forcing (more on that soon), I was ignoring my body’s needs for care and attention, and I was avoiding tuning into my heart and some major grief.

Burnout isn’t simply the result of having too much on our plate at once - it’s more about having things on our plate that are out of alignment with who we really are.

WE LOSE ALIGNMENT BY AVOIDING OURSELVES

I began living out of alignment with who I am the moment I began to avoid myself.

We avoid ourselves for good reason.

Sometimes, it’s because we know that how we are choosing to live our lives is a serious departure from our actual wants and needs. We fear the consequences of getting honest with ourselves, and having to change what we’re doing so we avoid tuning in.

Other times, it’s because deep down we are in a tremendous amounts of pain and tuning into ourselves means tuning into the pain.

Both were true for me. Double discomfort = double avoidance.

And it’s OK. I get it. This is some scary stuff. And often, avoiding ourselves and our pain feels like a matter of survival. For most of us, we have to hit some sort of rock bottom to finally tune in. In my case, that’s what my burnout was - a rock bottom.

THE WAY OUT IS IN

The way out of burnout/misalignment is by diving in deep with ourselves - jumping into the deep end and wading through everything that has been calling for our attention that we’ve been ignoring.

For me, that meant a month and a half of accessing the right support, making difficult choices to bring my outer circumstances in line with my true needs, and doing the difficult inner work of grieving.

I saw massage therapists, shamans, breathwork practitioners, chiropractors, and trauma therapists to help me slow down, and tune into my body.

I sought counsel and encouragement from friends to put Be With Monthly on hold even after I’d already sold it to some amazing participants.

I dropped down into the depths of my own emotional process, committing to making space to grieve not having the relationship with my parents that I really long for, especially as I begin planning my own family.  

I’ll be spending the next month sharing in detail about what this work has and continues to look like. It feels vulnerable, tender AF, and exactly right where I need to be.

And I'm inviting you along for the ride, because I think we need to be having more honest conversations about what we're feeling and thinking, as well as what we avoid feeling and thinking. ALL of it is is part of our full human experience, and I want us to learn to navigate it with more self-compassion, less shame, and plenty of grace. 

 A vision of a woman driving herself into the ground.

A vision of a woman driving herself into the ground.

 
 Having the courage to acknowledge I was out of alignment took a lot of being by the water - the space I find most sacred and supportive. 

Having the courage to acknowledge I was out of alignment took a lot of being by the water - the space I find most sacred and supportive. 

 
 Then, it took plenty of baby steps, on actual walks, to start getting curious about what my real needs and wants are. 

Then, it took plenty of baby steps, on actual walks, to start getting curious about what my real needs and wants are. 

 
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HOW TO HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

When was the last time you had a knockout weekend?

Earlier this fall Tanya told me that T wished I would make weekend plans for us more often - that I would take more initiative with what we get up to. I was shocked and offended. I was always down for whatever. Since when did our down time start feeling like it wasn't enough? 

And yet, if you were to ask me to name which of our adventures I’d initiated over the last several months, I would be stuck for an answer.  

I could blame our wedding - we planned the whole thing, start to finish in just under 8 months. Hello decision fatigue!

I could blame my childhood, heading out on a family outing almost always lead to a blow up right before we left. Planning an adventure meant planning for conflict.

Heck, if I wanted to, I could blame my business. As a solo business owner, I wear every hat under the sun as part of Be With - I make every decision, initiate every creative project and mitigate for every risk. 

Here's what threads those excuses together - fear and scarcity. 

 

FEAR AND SCARCITY

I wasn’t really pouring my all into our weekends together, because I was afraid there wasn't enough of me/money/time/everything to go around. 

When we're stuck in a fear of "not-enoughness" aka scarcity, most of us believe our joy has to wait until our circumstances shift. When we do this, we unintentionally defer our ability to feel joy - right here, right now. 

Here are some of the ways I got stuck deferring my joy over the last few months:

- When we own a car, then we will get to visit with our siblings more often.

- When we have a summer house in the country, then we’ll spend more time outdoors.

- When I feel better in my body, then I will dress in a way that’s hip, sexy and free.

- When we get our finances locked down, then we’ll get to have babies.

 

THE DEFERRING JOY FORMULA

As you can tell, it's a pretty simple formula. It looks like this:

when I finally do/have/am __________, then I get to be/feel/do ______________ 

All of us are living SOME version of the above. And that's okay - we live in a consumer culture build on scarcity (hello capitalism), and come by this mindset honestly. 

Having said that, it really doesn't serve us.

And it sure wasn't serving me in the first few months of my marriage!

Here's the great news! The last four weekends of my life have been some of the most deeply satisfying and fulfilling weekends I’ve had in years. And making that happen wasn't even all that hard.

 

WHAT I DID DIFFERENTLY

I decided I was done deferring my joy, and got curious about what it would mean to give myself permission to LIVE out the latter half of all those sentences above without demanding the first halves.

In example, 

When we have a summer house in the country, then we’ll spend more time outdoors.

became:

Let's go on a hike, and rent a by the hour car to get out there!

and

When we get our finances locked down, then we’ll get to have babies.

became:

Let's start talking about having babies with our community and each other! Conversation is free!

and 

When I feel better in my body, then I will dress in a way that’s hip, sexy and free.

became:

Let's go for a walk down by the water! I'm gonna wear my favourite outfit for the seagulls!

 

In short, I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE. And I got here by giving myself permission to stop deferfing my joy till I "earned it"

 

TRY IT YOURSELF

Fill this sentence in for me…

When I finally do/am ___________, then I get to do/be ______________.

WHAT? WHY?

For what good reasondo you not deserve to be happy right here and right now?

I know you’ve got your reasons, just like me, but here’s what I also know. As adults we get to make new decisions about how we see and understand the world. We get to choose our mindset, and our mindset is what shapes how we live our lives.

Whatever you filled that second blank in with - what would happen if you allowed yourself that freedom right now? If you gave yourself permission to feel sexy, to leave work early, to spend time with who you want to, to be who you actually are? What would change for you?

What's one thing you've been delaying enjoying until (fill in the blank here). Tell me about it in the comments below, and then take a chance this weekend - give yourself just ONE joyful experience that you've been deferring till later. I promise you'll thank yourself. 

 

xo,

Barbara

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