How to Reframe Our Fears So They Don’t Stop Us
I’m going to thread together methods you can use to (1) manage your fears so that you can (2) create your ideal life being your Authentic Self (3) with a spirit of self-compassion. You’ll be able to use these tools to create a high quality life if you study this carefully.
Where are you now?
If you’re like most Highly Sensitive People, you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
I’d like to invite you to take one minute to reflect on the following question.
To what degree are you living your most authentic life?
Low 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 High
I know that can be a big question, but think about it for a minute.
Here are a few ways that you can tell if you are acting congruently with your Authentic Self.
1. If someone asks you, “How are you doing?” do you reply, “I’m fine.” But, the truth is you are exhausted or hurt or irritated.
2. When someone makes a request of you, does your inner critic tell you that you are selfish if you say no? Is it more important to think about others than yourself?
3. When your emotional needs are not met, do you feel comfortable making clear requests so you can feel more fulfilled?
4. If you have a conflict, do you openly share your vulnerable feelings, or are you more likely to become reactive or analyze what the other person is doing wrong?
5. If someone yells at you, do you feel intimidated and go quiet or yell back?
6. Do you long to live the life of your dreams, but you are so busy putting out fires that you don’t make time to proactively take the steps to cultivate the garden of your spirit?
Now go back and rate the degree to which you are living an authentic life.
Low 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 High
There’s no right or wrong, or good or bad. Please ask your inner critic to step back. I am more interested in you learning how to take the next step toward living your authentic life … not beating yourself up.
The first step to creating a fulfilling life that is rooted in your Authentic Self is to tell the truth about where you are now.
Let’s say you were planning a trip to the Redwood National Park, and you wanted to take a map with you so you wouldn’t get lost if the GPS goes out. Highly Sensitive People like to be prepared for such possibilities.
If you were going to use Google maps, you’d first enter your current location, then your destination.
It’s the same with creating your life. You have to know where you are now. This includes your thoughts, your feelings, what you’re feeling in your body, and your interpretations about yourself and the world.
Why is it so important? Being in touch with all these things allows you to be grounded in the here and now… in your body. If you are not grounded, you won’t be present … for yourself or anyone else.
When you examine your interpretations about yourself and the world, you can discern which are true and accurate and which are false.
Many times, our interpretations generate fear on an emotional and physical level.
They spin us around like a top careening around the floor.
It’s normal to want to run from our fears and avoid them.
But you know what? The truth is that often Highly Sensitive People ruminate about our fears. The inner dialogue goes something like this:
What if I show up and I tell the truth about my thoughts and feelings, and he ends the relationship?
What if I make too many requests, and my boss finds a way to oust me?
What if I’m authentic and people say I’m selfish? I remember the time when one of my co-workers retorted, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” She didn’t want to understand me or my needs. She didn’t realize that she was the one who was being self-centered. I didn’t have enough insight to tell her that at the time.
Most of us don’t like the part of ourselves that carries our fear so we develop strategies to ignore that part.
We avoid our fears by caring for others, by working too much, and by thinking that we need to be productive to have worth. It’s an unconscious unexamined habit.
We don’t take time to be quiet and still and get in touch with our inner selves and our spiritual guidance.
Many clients in the early stage of therapy tell me that they don’t have time for quiet introspection or meditation. But the truth is, they don’t want to consciously connect with the part of them that carries the fear, but they don’t know that yet.
We can reframe our fears. They don’t have to stop us.
Consider the following acronyms for fear.
· False Evidence Appearing Real
· For Everything a Reason
· Face Everything and Recover
· Feeling Excited and Ready
Take a few minutes to journal your answers to the following questions. Write your answer before reading the next question.
Make a list of the qualities of your ideal personal and professional relationships.
Do you have that kind of relationship with yourself? Are you being a good friend to all parts of yourself? Or are you trying to banish some parts … such as your fear?
Focus on the part of you who carries your fear and bring compassion to that part. Instead of pushing it away, invite that part to sit down and have tea with you. Get to know that part just as if it were one of your good friends.
Use your imagination to write an inner dialogue between the fearful part and your Wise Self and/or your spiritual connection.
How does the fearful part feel? Why does it feel that way? How old does it seem to be? Write about all of the fearful part’s qualities and characteristics.
What would help the fearful part feel safe and comforted? You want to build a strong emotional attachment with this part so it can feel safe.
What action on your part would help that part feel safe and meet its underlying needs?
What risks are you willing to take to help this part?
Are you willing to take conscious action in a healthy non-reactive way?
Do grounding exercises. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Imagine you are a large tree with roots that reach into the center of the Earth. Call on your spiritual connection for supernatural strength. Imagine a protective barrier surrounding you that keeps your energy intact and keeps others energy out.
Think about what it would be like to express your Authentic Self … but … then you stop yourself because the fear arises.
What are you are no longer willing to live with because it requires you NOT to express your Authentic Self?
What is the price you are paying?
What does your body experience when you are not being authentic?
How does it affect your productivity?
Your mental functioning?
How does it feel to NOT proactively move in the direction of your fondest dreams because you are too scared?
Keep checking in with your fearful part. Stay close and compassionate. Keep asking what it needs to feel safe. Figure out one little actionable step that will help. Then take the next step, and the next. Continue dialoguing with your Wise Self and your spiritual connection.
How important is it to you to upgrade your skill level so you can manage your fears AND move forward in your life with the greatest integrity?
Who and what do you want to ideally align with?
How committed are you to moving forward?
What will happen in your life if you don’t do high quality inner work? Do you think it will change or stay the same?
If you would like support to work with your fears and figure out how to take your next steps to feel fully empowered, consider working with me individually or ….
join us for an intensive Highly Sensitive Person Retreat. You’ll get to work on your own issues, and you’ll also learn vicariously from the other group members. You’ll learn things you didn’t even know you needed to learn. The whole group will move from the shallow waters to the deep end of the pool. You’ll feel safer because you are buoyed up by like-minded friends.
You’ll learn a new mindset … one that leads to the pure joy of being your Authentic Self nestled in the relationship with your spiritual connection … following your divine guidance every step of the way.
If you would like individual life coaching and spiritual counseling, please complete the questionnaire on the Contact Page.
About Your Facilitator
Benita A. Esposito, MA is the author of the bestseller, The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self available on Amazon. The kindle, paperback, and audiobook (narrated by the author) have sold over 8,400 copies as of April 2022.
As a highly sensitive person herself, Benita can easily understand you, your challenges and your beautiful gifts.
Zoom videoconferences are available worldwide.
Click here to read Benita Esposito’s credentials and story.
Click here to contact Benita Esposito to inquire about life coaching, spiritual counseling and retreats for Highly Sensitive People.
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