Face Your Fears with Mindfulness

It was about a year and a half ago, I was going through a tower moment in my life.  I felt my entire world, as I knew it was crumbling right before my eyes.

You know the feeling. We have all had those moments where everything you planned for, dreamed of or had high expectations for fall apart before your very eyes.

The emotions are overwhelming- swirling around you like a pig pen cloud or drowning in all the emotions where you just can’t breathe.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have had quite a few of those moments.  In hindsight, most of those moments are what fueled the necessary changes in my life.

One thing is I often turn to my art to help me through those tough times.  The drawing is a self-portrait I titled Ms. Fear.  She was the catalyst for my dedicated mindfulness journey and the evolution of Miz Mindful.

I delved into how mindfulness and meditation could help me overcome my fear responses.  The fight, flight, or freeze response.   My go-to response for the majority of my life – learned early on as a child was to freeze.  The first time I heard about the freeze response was during groups for dealing with PTSD.

As my journey continues I am able to assimilate that fight, flight, or freeze response into naming and then owning my fears.

Fear of Success – Setting the bar too low and using perfectionism and procrastination. This was my way of fighting back – against myself.

Fear of Failure – Never having or attaining what we want or dream of.  That was my flight response.  It took me on the never-ending path of worry and self-doubt.

Fear of judgment – The I am not enough response that I know all too well.  I’m sure most of us have been there.  Not smart enough, pretty or handsome enough, too big, too small, not educated enough, too quiet, too loud or the list goes on and on.  This is the freeze response.

My practice into mindfulness NOT meditation is the biggest tool to help me deal with my fears and the natural responses from them.  Retraining my brain for different responses, new pathways for my subconscious autopilot response.

Just a note – meditation before the foundation of mindfulness and changing those pathways can trigger them more than help them.

Mindfulness starts with awareness and focused attention.  It leads you to the path of being in the moment with judgment.

Ms. Fear became my visual as I was learning to re-direct my thoughts.  An exercise I learned early on, was when those negative self-doubt, self-defeating, and the full gamut of negative self-talk started, was to give it a name, say thank you, and let it move on.  It helped stop the runaway train that can easily occur.  So I named it Ms. Fear and thanked her and it allowed me to move on from it.

In addition, I was learning to do something every day to act the opposite.  The opposite I also gave a name – Miz Mindful.

I like her much better.  She gave me permission to give myself self-compassion and self-empathy.  Miz Mindful continues to evolve and I live my life less fearful and more fulfilled.

What is your biggest fear of the three?  What is your go-to fear response?

Let me know in the comments

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