The stories you tell yourself either lift you or limit you. Liberate yourself from fear by authoring an empowering narrative

Do you remember being afraid of the dark as a child? When the lights went out, the tree outside your window, lit by the moon, would cast moving shadows on your wall. Or the shape of a pile of clothing hanging from the back of a chair resembled something entirely different. Your eyes strained to see in the darkness: you could swear there was something lurking there, and it filled your tiny body with dread. Desperate to make sense of what you could not see, the mind filled in the blanks with a negative story. Soon after, the emotions kicked in, escalating the intensity of the experience, making it seem so real. Your heart pounded in your chest as you lay paralyzed, your mind racing: what if something or someone has gotten into my room? What will I do if it comes after me? What if I die?

Childhood fears evolve into adult fears. The only change is in how the fear appears: it’s no longer an imaginary shadow monster at night that threatens our lives…now it’s an imaginary shadow monster in our minds that keeps us from moving forward and into our authentic unfoldment. What if I fail? What if I look foolish? What if I am criticized or rejected? It’s these “what if” stories we invent and hold in our subconscious that keep us immobilized and treading water, afraid to explore the deep end and do the hard thing. Fear-stricken and living in shallow water, life stays mediocre and absent of the adventure, fulfillment and excitement we innately seek.

We use fear to stop us from experiencing the unknown. Not knowing what lies ahead can be scary. There are so many variables, many of which could be painful or difficult. Wanting to protect ourselves from uncomfortable experiences, we formulate subconscious stories that keep us from charting into unknown territory. Part of us doesn’t know what is there, and we don’t want to find out. We negotiate with ourselves to remain where the landscape is familiar, and in doing that, we stay metaphorically wide-eyed, covers pulled up to our chins, just like the childhood version of us fearing unrecognizable shapes in the dark so many years ago.

We also create fear when we use the pain of a previous experience to stop us from repeating the same pain. We assume experience A is going to be the same as experience B. For example, a child tastes broccoli and fears that all vegetables taste that way; a man divorces and fears all partnerships end badly; a woman is involved in a car accident and fears driving. This mechanism is designed to serve us: it creates a way for the human brain to learn from and adapt to experience when it is not for our highest good (touching a flame and feeling pain teaches us that fire burns). Yet, we must learn to differentiate the fear response that is designed to protect and teach us in the outside world, from the fear response we use to avoid the workings of our inner world. One scenario is for our learning, while the other limits our potential to expand.

You hold the power. Nothing can happen to you in your life that you haven’t already agreed to experience at the soul level. To overcome fear—regardless of what form it takes—and become free, you must go through it by facing it head on and with courage. You must know that it is designed for you to support your soul growth. Recognize that fear is only make-believe…it’s only a story. And if your creator self can make-believe a story that limits and contracts you, that same creator self can make-believe one that expands and emancipates you.

Which make-believe stories are you ready to rewrite?

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