Feeling Consumed by Fear, Try This One Simple Trick & Take Back Your Power
I hadn't said this fear aloud to anyone before, but in this moment and in this space with these people that made me feel safe, I had to give voice to this fear that had been weighing on my mind and heart lately or I wasn't being completely honest with myself.
We had been sheltering in-place for over two weeks at this point. And I had been feeling consumed, powerless and ashamed over my fear. I felt both restless and paralyzed.
I took a deep breath, then began sharing as tears streamed down my face. As I said my fear aloud I felt a weight lifting. Suddenly my fear didn't feel so controlling. I could even laugh about it a little, it was a teary, snotty laugh, but the levity was welcome.
Afterwards I was shocked about the door I had opened by sharing my fear. Other people we're experiencing similar fears. I was not alone. I was not crazy or deranged for having this fear. If anything it appeared I was quite normal, like the other people I was in community with in that moment.
As if by magic, the power this fear had over me vanished. By naming it and sharing it among a group of supportive women, I was able to get out from under its thumb. It was the combination of saying my own fear aloud and hearing that other people had similar fears to mine that allowed me to take back my power. And I haven't been consumed by this particular fear since.
As we enter a new month in a new world crestfallen by a global pandemic, the amount of fear present is palpable. Extreme uncertainty, facing our mortality and the concern of financial ruin will do that to a person.
That is why it is so important for us to name and talk about our fears. When we speak about our fears to other's in conversation we share generously by extending a piece of ourselves that's all too human and familiar yet so often hidden from sight in our society. And when we shine the light of day onto our fears we begin to take their power away.
This is one reason why it is so valuable for leaders to help their team members find supportive professional development communities. The presence of fear deeply impacts a professionals' performance. Having a neutral party to share and process fears with helps us navigate challenges rationally. Otherwise we run the risk of being consumed by the fear, which leads to miscommunication and decreased productivity, ultimately hurting the bottom line.
If you've been feeling consumed or overwhelmed by fear lately, I encourage you to name it. I find it helpful to first name my fears in my journal. Then when I speak about my fears to others, I look for someone that I feel safe being open with. When I've shared my fears with people that did not offer me psychological safety before, I found that doing so had the opposite effect, amplifying my fear and the power it had over me.
So, the next time you are feeling consumed or blinded by a fear triggered by this crisis, shine the light of day on it. Start by writing about your fear in your journal, then finding someone you can share that fear with.
What fears have you been thinking about lately? Who can you share that fear with?