In the last post, I talked about how you can start dealing with your fears, observing and understanding them. The goal here is to get more familiar with them, so that you can use them as a resource (what they really are) instead of a brake. And in this post I want to help you to take the next steps to build awareness and courage.
I had lifted up these ideas:
- Fear is your ally: it exists to protect you from danger
- Danger is one of the potential consequence of your actions
- Danger can be real or perceived but it impacts you the same way
And above all, I talked about the idea that you can actually question fear, start a conversation with it, if you’re willing to break the silence, go closer and observe it.
If you consider the way fear works, you’ll notice that it’s an internal process. It happens in your mind, it’s often generated by a thought or an image that connect to some other core fears and it impacts your whole being. Like a tree, it starts from the roots and it goes up to the trunk, where it finds its strength, and it keeps going up to the branches and it prevents you from moving forward.
You can quietly observe this process inside you while it happens. You think about something, whether it’s a thought or an image, and suddenly, a negative scenario comes up, it’s just imagined, but you can feel the fear in your body. If you are still there and sitting quietly, you can locate that feeling inside you. It has a shape, a colour, a temperature. You can even describe the feeling of that emotion when it touches your body. So the process of scaring ourselves is an internal one. It happens in our minds, it impact our whole being and it pushes us to react. It has concrete consequences in our lives.
THE DOWNWARD ARROW TECHNIQUE: A TOOL TO CHALLENGE YOUR FEARS
If fear takes its power from showing you potentially dangerous consequences of your actions, you can take your power back questioning if those consequences are real. Because if they aren’t, you don’t need that fear anymore.
The Downward Arrow Technique is a tool to help you identify the core fears and core beliefs that impact how you feel and behave. It’s very helpful to play out those fears and understanding where they come from, if there’s something that happened in the past that is still hurting and especially, what’s the inner conversation going on about what happened. Because once you understand the story you attach to those hurtful past event, you get instant clarity about how fear of experiencing the same pain is preventing you from moving forward.
If you want to move past your fears, take your notebook and answer these questions:
- What is scaring you?
- What’s the part of it that is scaring you?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen?
- And then what?
And keep going until you get to the underlying core fear. If you aren’t sure, try to always add “And then what?” until you feel you’ve reached the bottom. When you’ve finished with this, you’ll have a list of:
- If this happens, than that will happen.
And here’s where you look at the process and you challenge your fear with one simple question: IS THAT TRUE?
Now you have just unmasked your fear and you know the truth about it. This is how I build courage and how you can build it too.
And if you feel like you need more help to overcome your fears, get yourself a copy of the BRAVE IT OUT Worksheet that I created especially for you.