The day humans discovered their own mortality was, in a sense, the true dawn of consciousness. This knowledge is the essence and root of all self-awareness. Our ability to use this awareness to our greater good or to our detriment is at the core of the work I do with my clients on a one-to-one basis and also in my online course, The Positive Habit which will featured in the Health Supplement of Tuesday’s Irish Times (29/11/16). Put simply, I help people realise that they always have a choice about how they live their lives with the knowledge of their own mortality.
During the week I saw one of my regular clients who shall, of course, remain anonymous. This person, I believe, is an inspiration for his constantly optimistic and positive outlook and his incredible ability to live without fear. You may wonder why he needs therapy! The reason he comes to me is not to help him overcome any unwanted anxiety or negative emotions but to reinforce, on a subconscious level, his decision not to let fear be the defining factor in his life and to be in charge of his mind no matter what chaos happens in his outer world.
Fear undoubtedly has an essential place in our lives – the fear of burning yourself if you were to put your hand into fire is a healthy one that protects you just like the fear you experience when someone cuts across you on the road. However, many of us carry an abundance of other “unhealthy” fears that prevent us from engaging fully with the wonder of the world. Some of these fears operate at a more subtle level and erode our self-confidence and self-esteem. For example, being worried about what people will think of you if you express certain opinions or wear certain clothes, or the fear of asking for a pay rise, or the fear of challenging a difficult colleague or acquaintance, or the fear of being judged.
In my opinion, the fear of success/failure and the fear of life/death share the same roots- a false sense of security. By choosing not to face your fears you are effectively making a decision to stay in a comfort zone that may seem to protect you but in fact stunts you from ever reaching your full potential. Imagine living a life free of these unnecessary fears.
The first step is to identify your fears and then to challenge them. live without fear
Some of you may have heard of Michelle Poler, a Venezuelan student who experienced global recognition for challenging all of her fears in a college project entitled “100 Days without Fear”. She proceeded by asking herself what is the worst thing that could happen in a given situation. This is a question I also often ask my clients when they are struggling with making decisions or letting go of a debilitating fear. To watch her TED talk (which ironically represents her 100th fear) click here.
The opposite of fear is courage. The courage to live by your convictions and not to allow unhealthy fears to hold you back is crucial.
On Friday evening I was at IMMA at the opening of two new exhibitions. Ironically, the thing that most caught my eye was not the art work but a lovely young woman who displayed a living example of courage. She exuded a charm and uniqueness in her style and had the courage to dress differently and I loved her clothes. I stopped her and asked if it would be alright to photograph her for my blog and she kindly allowed me to snap her in the middle of the gallery. Her name I discovered is Madame Lute. If you are reading this, Madame Lute, thank you for spreading your positive vibes. Madame Lute makes and models her own vintage clothing. To me, she represents someone who embraces the best in herself and shows it to the world with courage. live without fear
This week, please examine your own “unhealthy” fears and start to challenge them. Cherish your ability to consciously let go of irrational fears that could be holding you back. After all, what is the worst that could happen?
Next week I have the opportunity to challenge one of my fears – cabin fever; I’m flying to Sydney for Christmas and will face my fear of being on a flight for a really long time. I am choosing to embrace this fear and look forward to sharing my journey with you.