Do you ever feel like you’re stuck? Exhausted, overwhelmed or trying with every possible way to control the uncontrollable elements of your life so that things will turn out according to plan? Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, owner of Fly | A Fitness Revolution, says that this is a sign that it’s time to embrace your fears and really start saying “yes” to the things that keep you up at night.
“I remember many years back having a dream where I was hanging from a steep, rope-like bridge over darkness. In my daily life, I had a really big decision to make and the dream was symbolic of how I was feeling toward moving on or moving forward,” she says. “I was terrified, but I remember feeling in the dream that I needed to just say ‘yes’ in spite of my fears, and that I’d be okay. It was like gentle reminder from the Universe that no matter what my fears were, I could face them and I’d be fine.
Jenni says that fear stops us from doing many things that we want to do, and that we can either live our lives in fear, reacting constantly, or we can start doing the things we would do if we weren’t afraid. Here are three things that Jenni recommends you do to start facing your fears:
- Say yes first. If you get invited to do something that’s outside of your comfort zone, don’t automatically say no. Pause and let yourself think about why you might be hesitating. Unless it’s something you really don’t like (and you know because you’ve tried it), take a chance at it. If it is something that scares you, take small steps. “Sometimes we think others will judge us or that something will be too hard, but when we try new things little by little, we often see that they aren’t as hard as we thought they were, and our fears become less scary,” Jenni says.
- Fear is your friend – get to know it. Our fears often become much bigger and badder than what they really are. When we really listen to our fears, you’ll understand it’s not about the obstacle or the judgement of others, but instead realize that we are projecting our pains, our concerns and ultimately, our needs. Then, we actually learn what we need and start a process for growth that is necessary. “If we think about getting to know our fears like getting to know our friends, we get a much better understanding of ourselves, and we realize that sometimes they aren’t quite as big or scary as we made them out to be.
- Try something challenging each day. Usually the things we are afraid of are the things we avoid (and have for a long time). Jenni says that our fears are most often some of the things that we need the most in our lives. “By avoiding certain things, we think we’re protecting ourselves,” she says. “We reject chances and opportunities because we have fear of the unknown, but unfortunately, we miss out on some of the amazing parts of who we truly are that we’ve yet to uncover.” By letting ourselves feel vulnerable and stepping into and embracing our fears, we allow ourselves to learn something completely new about ourselves and see things in a totally new light. “Allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable to feelings of failure, anxiety or disappointment is one of the best ways to begin to understand who we are and to open up to new ways of thinking about the world” she says.
Jenni recommends stepping into your vulnerability to open yourself up to deeper parts of who you are. The more you do it, the more enlightened you’ll be. Jenni admits that she still has fears, she just acts in spite of them. This week, make fear your friend and start saying “yes” every day to something that scares you!