I am inspired by strong women and I love to learn from them. I love how everyone I encounter has a special set of strengths and something unique to teach me. It is always my prayer that I can be humble, present, and focused to learn from their wisdom.
One of the women I love to learn from is Eleanor Roosevelt. In her 1960 book, “You Learn By Living,” (aff) she eloquently expressed some words that I strive to live by:
The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s words are so powerful because they resonate with your soul and you know they are truth. Deeply you know that what you desire is on the other side of fear, and that the cave you seek to enter holds the treasure you seek.
And though you know you have achieved great things and you’ve overcome so much, there’s still a voice inside you telling you
this time is different
you don’t have what it takes
you don’t stand a chance
It’s the voice of fear. The voice of fear is always lurking, catching you off guard, and holding you back.
And if you ware wondering: what is fear? where does it come from? and how do I get rid of it so I can live a life I love? Here’s a message from your fear:
I am Fear
I am the menace that lurks in the paths of life, never
visible to the eye but sharply felt in the heart. I am the father of despair, the brother of procrastination, the enemy of progress, the tool of tyranny.
Born of ignorance and nursed on misguided thought, I have darkened more hopes, stifled more ambitions, shattered more ideals and prevented more accomplishments than history could record.
Like the changing chameleon, I assume many disguises. I masquerade as caution. I am sometimes known as doubt or worry. But whatever I’m called, I am still fear, the obstacle of achievement. I know no master but one.
Its name is Understanding. I have no power but what the human mind gives me, and I vanish completely when the light of understanding reveals the facts as they really are, for I am really nothing.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, and Eleanor’s husband, said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We must fear fearful thoughts.
Fearful thinking can be greatest thief, robbing us of our joy, our freedom, our time, our energy, and our peace, because fear is usually unrealistic and unnecessary, and I daresay ungodly: fear prevents us from living up to our fullest potential, from embracing new possibilities, and from progressing toward our purpose.
Sure, there are occasions in which you will be in true danger, so the avoidance of fear is not the solution. Fear, like all the emotions granted to us, can serve us in our life experience, however, we must learn to discern when it involves deception, when it is based in a hypothesis of something that may or may not happen.
I had an experience with fear last week as I embarked on my second semester and started my first week of math. Math is science, art, and in this case, a requirement to get my college degree.
“Pfft, I know that!,” you may be thinking.
I thought I did too. But sitting on my student desk, with a pencil in my hand, feeling the pressure of the clock, and the timed worksheet filled of math problems, math seemed like a roaring lion that was chasing me in the wilderness. I was trembling, sweating, and stuck in my frantic thinking, convinced that I wouldn’t survive it, and struggling to come out of my tormenting fantasy. I was safe, but I didn’t know it.
As my friend Les Brown likes to say, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s up to us to destroy this evidence, get a grip and get unstuck so we don’t remain paralyzed.
Let’s go through some steps you can go through to combat the inescapable state we call fear:
Identify the fear ~ fear has many disguises – and types. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of judgment, fear of success… Sometimes we’re using overthinking, procrastination, perfectionism, or busyness to cover up a deep fear. That’s why doing the thing you think you cannot do is so freeing. You realize you always could do it and you have finally aligned with your divine nature.
Determine the cost ~ Thinking about what not facing my fear will cost always gives me so much perspective. While I’m scaring myself, I am robbing myself of the present moment and the future possibilities. When you do the thing you think you cannot do, you can achieve the things you most desire to achieve.
Determine the false payoff ~ Sometimes we are guilted into thinking that if we are in fear is “because our faith is not big enough.” I personally know that my faith is already bigger than my fears, but this doesn’t mean I won’t be in panic from time to time. The thing about fear is that is a manipulative state that you feel has a payoff. Not dealing with your monthly bills and putting that off now will gives you a sense of relief, just as would for me to avoid my math class, but in hindsight, we know the pay off is not only temporary, it’s also false. So as you look at what you are afraid of, procrastinating, or on the fence about, what “good” do you see in it? What “comfort” do you find?
When I found out I really wanted to share my life with an eternal partner and to build a traditional family with him, I understood that I kept telling myself lies that caused me to find false security. I told myself I was an empowered single mom, but that was not the case when I was settling for less than I desired, based on the payoff “I won’t be hurt again.” In which area of your life are you settling, hiding, or holding yourself back? Uncover what the payoff is and expose the lie.
Determine the real payoff ~ In some cases, like my math class, the real payoff is tangible, like a grade. I not only didn’t die, but I got an A grade on my assignments this week. I did the thing I thought I could not do and the pay off was unimaginable. Someone once said “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. it comes from overcoming what you once thought you couldn’t.” After I released the fearful thinking that consumed me, suffocated me, and overwhelmed me, I could find the clarity to know what steps I needed to take to move forward with greater confidence, and I plan to continue to do so the rest of the semester. What’s your “A+”? What’s the real pay off? How much do you want it? And most importantly: Is your false payoff worth keeping the fear?
Find a replacement ~ There’s a parable in the New Testament about an unclean spirit that is cast out of a man. The evil spirit returned because the man did not replace the evil with other words, thoughts, feelings, or actions (Mathew 12:43-45).
Ask yourself: “What am I going to replace the fear with?“ We must constantly cast out the sneaky, manipulative, crippling state that is fear, and replace it with something uplifting that will bring us power. As you love yourself more, you will fear less. Osho taught that when you love, fear disappears, and when you are afraid, love disappears.
When we meet our fear with understanding, FEAR IS NOTHING and you must – and you can – do the thing you thought you could not do, for it is through the release of fear that you will grow, expand, and evolve into the woman God wants you to be!
What is one fear you have decided to conquer? Share your thoughts and comments below! Mucho love!