Letting go of fear to be your best self

Fear. One tiny little word with HUGE implications. When we give into this one emotion, we can inadvertently miss out on so much in our lives.

Have you ever lost out on an opportunity because you allowed fear to creep in and cause self-doubt?

Many people have fear because they “just want it to be perfect,” it being a relationship, a business, a project, your body, whatever other scenario that may apply. In life, nothing is really ever perfect! It’s our ability to accept this idea and press onwards despite the fact we know there will be annoyances and letdowns in our relationships, mistakes in our work lives, and that “accidental” indulgence in Aunt Ima’s cookies because dammit, they are just so good!

Before making a big decision I encourage you to ask yourself the question, is this a decision that I’m basing out of confidence…or FEAR? If the answer is fear, then further exploration of root cause must occur.

Real life check in: You absolutely cannot stand your current place of employment and constantly check the Indeed website until you’ve memorized the postings yet feel paralyzed in whether or not you should take the next move. Now is the time to ask yourself what the hold up is.

Make lists on what your biggest fears are in applying for a new position and or leaving your current place of employment. You can easily apply the list making technique to leaving a relationship, starting a relationship, going to the gym, etc. Organize in your mind (and on paper!) what those fears are, be very honest with yourself.

Young woman thinking with pen while working / studying at her desk

If you come to the conclusion that you are basing a decision off of fear or self-doubt, ask yourself what is causing you to doubt yourself, because ultimately when we choose to allow a great opportunity to pass us by, the common denominator in the equation is well.. us.

What could be going on with you deep down in your core that is causing self-doubt to creep in?

Could it be worry of not being good enough? Worry that you will fail? Or is the fear a result of negative messages or lack of affirmation you received while growing up? When we do not receive positive validation of self and unconditional love while growing up, our ability to realize these things for ourselves can be a bit stunted. The task of affirming self becomes our own responsibility which is absolutely possible, but may feel a bit foreign!

To affirm yourself and start the process of ridding yourself of self-doubt and fear-based decisions:

Take your thinking a step deeper. Examine your self-talk. Are you prone to having negative, self-defeating thoughts? Did you receive negative messages from caretakers when you were young? Did you just not receive validation or affirmation at all and now you are lacking your own ability to self-sooth and validate yourself?

Consider your achievements in life thus far despite your past negative experiences. Did your family tell you you would never amount to much? Did a past relationship cause you to question your ability to love and feel valuable?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then you, dear one, are in need of a thought makeover! The first step in any change however, is recognition. So the next time you go to make a decision, pay attention to your thoughts. Practice replacing negative thoughts with more realistic thoughts.

For example, you reallllly want to give things a try with what seems to be a very eligible bachelor, but deep down you feel fear shrouded in self-doubt. Wondering things like “what if he finds out who I truly am? He’s such a catch and I’m only_______(insert ugly thought) or I really am horrible at ________(insert other ugly thought”. Replace those negative, ugly self-deprecating thoughts with ones that are either downright positive or if you feel like you’re not ready for that, thoughts that are more realistic.

Find one aspect of you that you truly hold dear. Find that ONE thing about yourself, your appearance, your overall being that you may not love, but you feel blessed to have. It is okay to view yourself positively and recognize what you bring to the world.

Woman Standing Near Body of Water 

Start your journey of self-love and release of fear slowly. Acknowledgement of self-deprecating thoughts is typically the first step, then comes the ability to begin to change them!

Life is not perfect. And that is completely okay! Your journey may look different than other people’s, however, it is unique to you. Practice self-care, buy the candle, get the haircut, do one small thing that makes you feel good. Build upon these experiences of realizing you ARE worthy of happiness and watch how your tolerance for the negative in your life begins change.

Encouraging you to be the happiest version of yourself today and everyday,

Rachel Ann

 

Humanitas Counseling and Consulting, LLC

816 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 209

Chesapeake, VA 23320

www.humanitascounseling-consulting.com

757-739-6771

Holiday Bustle: 7 tips for keeping your cool during the holidaze

Ah, the holidays are upon us. Or should I say the holi-daze…

With the often fast paced shopping experience, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and putting out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving is even over, it can be easy to feel the holiday stress…that imperceptible sense of hurriedness that seems to permeate the air. The feeling of working extra hours just to make sure you have extra gifts for the kids under the tree. Studying and trying out that new recipe so you don’t look a fool at your holiday gathering. Or insert whatever other activity is occurring in your life and taking up extra mental and emotional space in your head.

 

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“I need to do this, buy that, cook for 8, and be here by 5…ahhh!”

 

So how does one go about taking a moment and soaking the holiday cheer in, instead of feeling overwhelmed and on edge, desperate to “make this year the best one ever”?! No need to induce all the added pressure on yourself…

The key here is NOT allowing yourself to take that stress on, and instead, be able to take a moment to step back and live in the moment. I have 7 tips for helping you through the holidaze because guess what? You deserve to create your own special memories this season whether in the kitchen with 20 family members or curled up on the couch with your dog. Everyone has the potential to have a happy holiday. So, please read on…

7 tips for helping you through the holidaze:

1.       Stay in the present moment. Maybe you are experiencing the pressure to hang up Christmas lights, transform the inside of your home into a winter wonderland, and embark on the hunt to find that perfect gift for your loved one! Sometimes it can all become a little too much. You may start to feel you’re on autopilot—you go to Target for some early present shopping but next thing you know you’ve migrated to Pier 1 yet you’ve lost sight of why you’re even in that particular store…

If you find yourself starting to experience the stress of shopping, the feeling of being on auto-pilot, trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, it’s time to regroup. Whether you take a quick moment to practice deep breathing (three breaths in through nose, hold in for a moment, then release through mouth), or decide to take a walk around your neighborhood—practice living in the here and now and staying out of the hustle bustle. If you thrive on being amidst the hustle bustle—embrace it! However, if you find yourself feeling emotionally drained and stressed, practice mindfulness and staying in the here and now.

 

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Take a second for you.

 

2.       Realize that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. We’ve all seen the movies, the TV programs that come on, the Facebook pictures of the “perfect Christmas”. If you’ve found that you are focusing too much on trying to recreate what you believe society defines as the perfect Christmas, stop! Whether you want to have Christmas brunch instead of Christmas ham, whether you want to go walk out on the beach with your family instead of sitting around a dining room table, make your holidays your own! If you find that you are falling into the comparison trap, it’s time to log out of social media for the day and instead–focus on who is in front of you.

 

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This family chose to take a holiday stroll. What is something that you or your family does to celebrate that is unique to them?

 

3.       Above all, realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH. In our world, people are celebrated on having excess “stuff” instead of developing memories and realizing that objects…things…don’t bring lasting happiness. Plenty of research has shown that experiences bring about a more permanent sense of fulfilment while tangible gadgets and “stuff” bring about fleeting moments of pleasure. Think about the two year old that basically receives all of Toys R Us and only focuses on playing with the boxes that the gifts came in…Just remember this season that YOU bring pleasure and happiness to others just by being you. If you don’t feel like you have the money to buy a gift, then show up with a good attitude and a helping hand.

 

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This kid doesn’t have a care in the world. He knows that he’s enough. 

 

4.       Make lists. So maybe you have a large family to buy gifts for or maybe you’ve been assigned to bake cookies for the holiday meal. Organized mind=organized life! Make a list of what you need to purchase and by what date. If you are overwhelmed by purchasing presents for everyone, set a budget for each person and make a succinct list of what you plan to buy them (keeping in mind your budget)—that way when you do decide to go shopping, you stay on track and feel more in control. Same goes for purchasing your ingredients needed for preparing the holiday meal.

 

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Santa is on to something with making this whole list thing…

 

5.       Embrace who you spend the special day with and where you are in life. This tip is similar to not falling into the comparison trap but I wanted to provide a bit more detail. So maybe you have strained relations with your family and will not be seeing them this year. Maybe you are single…again…and just feel sad that another holiday is passing you by and you don’t have a special someone to give that New Year’s kiss to.

In any case, if you are feeling down on your current life holiday status—it’s time to switch up your mindset. Instead of placing your focus on what you feel you do not have, focus on what you do have. Even if you perceive the only things you currently have to be necessities—housing, sheets on bed, clean water to drink—practice gratitude for having these items because they certainly didn’t just come out of thin air! If you are having to spend the holidays alone, then be thankful for…YOU! Think about past difficulties you have overcome and practice gratitude towards your self—focusing on developing even further inner strength.

6.       Focus on your reasons for celebrating. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or are in the midst of the Advent season, ultimately—what are your reasons for celebrating these special times? If you do not practice a particular religion, what are your reasons for celebrating? Is it a time to focus on family and spend time with one another, or maybe it’s a time to share a meal together and develop tradition?

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Developing and defining the reasons behind your celebration is key to keeping your focus where it should be and not allowing your stress to take over. Using the holidays as a teaching moment with the kids in the family, explaining traditions to them, and even reacquainting yourself with your belief system allows for a deeper look at why you celebrate. And definition always equates to clarity. Maintain perspective on why you celebrate.

7.       Lastly, HAVE FUN! Most of the time, you will have the day off from work and school unless you work in a hospital or convenience store. Even then, focus on having fun! I have worked plenty a holiday in the hospital setting and we all knew that we would rather be at home with family, but instead of letting it get us down, I remember eating good food and enjoying the company of the other people who were there. If you are fortunate to have the day off, practice self care! After the kids receive their gifts, go sneak off and take a hot bath. Go grab a long run in.

 

be bright
Be bright and find your happy, whatever that may look like to you! 

 

Do something that brings you a bit of happy and fun! Remember that you are in charge of how you feel, no one else. If you’re dreading seeing those certain family members or family friends, then recognize this and set boundaries—go ahead and mentally decide how you will handle a tense moment.  Even for the biggest Scrooge, the holiday season truly seems to pump a sort of magic in the air! Embrace the intangible magic of the season, be excited, and enjoy yourself— realizing that perfection is impossible and YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Tying it all together…

For many, holidays bring about a mixed bag of emotions. Dashed expectations, poor childhood memories, stress of making everything “just right” can certainly dampen the season. Practice these seven tips for surviving the holiday season and making it your own special day(s). As adults, we can recreate and turn around past negative holiday experiences, making the present holiday season a better experience for our kids, for ourselves, and for our spouses. Feel empowered and ready to take on this season.

 

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“I’m going to take on this holiday season with happiness and confidence!”

 

Wishing you and yours a truly magical and happy holiday season,

Rachel Ann Dine

 

www.humanitascounseling-consulting.com

Humanitas Counseling and Consulting, LLC

816 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 209

Chesapeake, VA

23320

757-739-6771