As we head into our seventh week of self-isolation, I find there is still one common emotion amongst the people I’m talking with. That constant emotion is fear. While the fear has changed in some ways since the very beginning of this pandemic, it is definitely very much in the forefront of our daily lives. But how much is too much? And how long can we endure a living in fear?
Bottom line is there are still so many unanswered questions. And with uncertainty, comes anxiety, loss of control and fear. How do we manage ourselves and our lives when everything is so uncertain?
For many years, I was a licensed trainer with Dr. Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Her book has been instrumental in helping so many people world-wide, I thought it might be useful to capture some of the learnings.
3 Levels of Fear
While all our fears may be different, they also have commonalities.
Level 1 Fears: Surface Story Fears. These include:
Things that Happen to Us such as aging, illness, losing a loved one, losing money, accidents, etc.
Things that Require Action such as making decisions, changing careers, changing relationships (starting new ones, divorce) etc.
Level 2 Fears: Things that are Created by our Inner State of Mind (Ego). These include:
rejection, failure, being conned, being vulnerable, etc.
Level 3 Fears: I CAN’T HANDLE IT! This is the biggest fear of all because:
The underlying fear here is that you don’t trust yourself that you CAN handle it.
Interestingly enough, the pandemic is hitting all 3 levels of fear in each of us at the same time. We may pass through the various levels, but we are constantly being bombarded by all 3, with Level 3 being the worst. Why? Because what we are actually saying is, we don’t believe we will survive whatever we fear we can’t handle.
“PUSHING THROUGH FEAR IS LESS FRIGHTENING THAN LIVING WITH THE UNDERLYING FEAR THAT COMES FROM A FEELING OF HELPLESSNESS.” ~ Susan Jeffers
Building Our Trust and Resilience
Complete the sentence, “I can’t handle”….what? Breaking this down by actually writing down why you feel you can’t handle it will help you have a full understanding of what specifically you are afraid of. Many times, what we think is exaggerated. But when we write things down, we can realize that we may have more control than we think.
We’ve all heard many wonderful and inspiring stories of how people are doing what they can during this pandemic. From health care and other front-line workers to volunteers, there are many people putting themselves out there to do what they can. Does this mean they don’t have any fear? The answer is no. Everyone has fear but the difference is in how we hold our fear – meaning; does it keep us stuck or are we still able to move forward?
The trick lies in taking action. When we are stuck, we are in pain. When we take action, we give ourselves power.
PAIN TO POWER
Which side of the chart are you on? If you are feeling like you are on the Pain of the chart, what is one action (doesn’t have to be anything big) you can take that will help move you closer to the Power side?
None of us gets far alone. If discovering your fears and taking action still seems daunting, consider hiring a coach to assist you. Simply contact Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 905-466-1903.