#14: The Myth of Fearlessness
Fear is one of the most common emotions we experience as human beings – and something that, as entrepreneurs, we deal with on a regular basis.
Because of that, fearlessness has become a bit of an anthem of the personal development world – even though there’s no such thing as becoming devoid of fear. In today’s episode, I explore why “fearlessness” is a myth and just a short-term fix to to our relationship with fear. I’m also covering ways to start moving out of living in fear and into action taking. Let’s dive in!
why fearlessness is a short-term FIX
When people talk about fearlessness, most of the time, they’re talking about swiping their fears under the rug and forcefully pushing forward with their projects.
And yes, while it’s important to be able to take action despite our fears, sheer willpower on its own can’t shift the deep, underlying patterns that are keeping you living in fear in the first place.
Through the notion of fearlessness, most people are actually dismissing parts of themselves that really need to be seen and heard for healing and transformation. In fact, fearlessness, as in being completely devoid of fear, doesn’t even exist.
At no point in our lives, no matter how many times we face and overcome fear, we become fearless. Fear is wired into ourselves and plays a really important role in our human system – think about how we evolved and thrived as a species, fear had to be there to protect us!
The more we ignore our fears, the more is needed from us to acknowledge and move past it. More than that, willpower only lasts so long. So it’s by definition a flawed resource to rely on for our journeys.
how to not let fear get in the way
If practicing fearlessness is a flawed solution to the deeper patterns within us, how do we move past fear to take powerful action?
Sitting with fear and understanding why it’s there is the first step to be taken. In our culture, we tend to vilify fear and treat it as an inferior emotion that only keeps us stuck. And yes, fear can indeed be an obstacle, but it’s not bad or evil. It’s just an emotion that is natural to us as humans.
Emotions aren’t inherently bad or good. They’re just emotions and are felt for a reason. They bring awareness to our wholeness and show us the path of transformation. The more we validate our experiences (including fear), the more powerful we become. We become embodied in our truth.
When you understand what your fears are about and that they can be felt without limiting your ability to take action, that’s when you expand. The more of yourself that you claim an acknowledge, the more you have power to control your emotions.
Through fearlessness, you’re doing exactly the opposite. You’re ignoring emotions that need to be heard and creating divisiveness and silos within yourself.
Creating safety and trust in yourself
Often times, fear is tuning us into things that are indeed not safe for us. That’s what we tend to call “gut feelings” – that pit in our stomachs that tell us things won’t end up well even though we can’t explain why.
The truth is that gut feelings are often right – no matter what they’re about: people, spaces, actions, plans. Often times, when you’re excessively experiencing the world through your thinking mind, you end up living from the “shoulds”, disregarding what your gut tells you through your body.
When you push past our fears through fearlessness, you’re also pushing past this inner, intuitive wisdom and likely ending in situations that aren’t safe for you or don’t feel good and aligned. Fear can be connected to your intuition and, when that happens, it’s crucial to recognize and listen to it.
The first step to being able to distinguish the voice of intuition from the voice of fear is by being in relationship with your intuitive self. By practicing trust within yourself on a regular basis, even if in small ways, you’re more likely to tell intuitive wisdom from ego-based fear.
THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF FEAR
In an evolutionary level, our bodies are wired to respond to fear through three different types of responses: fight, flight, or freeze. None of these is better or worse than the other. There’s no right way to respond to fear.
Those responses are processed through our nervous systems, so our minds are largely unaware of how fear is processed. Our fear responses are largely involuntary, which is a big reason why embodiment plays such a big role in our relationship to fear.
There are also very real social and cultural aspects to how we experience fear based on our identities. For example, as a woman, you’ll experience fear differently from a man. Same if you’re a person of color, identify as someone in the LGBTQ spectrum, or have had any sort of experiences in the past that inform your fears.
How we find safety within ourselves largely varies depending on who we are. That’s why it’s so important to allow ourselves to sit with our own experiences of fear – it’s the only way to understand it and unravel our relationship with it.
Dealing with feaR
Because fear is so rooted in our bodies, one of the best ways to navigate fear is teaching the body how to relax. For most of us in today’s society, our bodies aren’t used to relaxing. We’re always in rush mode, not spending a lot of time (if any) in self-care and self-love. Teaching the body how to relax is teaching the body to be safe with itself.
In addition to that, as women, there are more layers we need to tend to in order to feel safety in our bodies. We might have experienced trauma, sexual assault, and quite likely universally, body image issues. When it comes to what’s been deeply felt through the body in such ways, self-compassion and acceptance are key exercises to cultivate trust and safety.
Of course, none of these are tool of overnight change. These shadows are deeply ingrained in our lives and bodies. They have root in real, deep experiences that have shaped how we experience fear. Still, it’s possible to start small and start today. Recognize where you are and the nuances in what you feel, and let the process unfold. Honor your own path.
Pushing past your fears won’t heal them. Fearlessness won’t empower you to respect your fears, grow from its wisdom, and be in the driver’s seat of your life. Ultimately, navigating and embracing your own personal blueprint is what will shift your relationship with fear, and create more room for you to walk in alignment with your truth and your intuition.
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