I am not talking about speaking up to the “bad” that happens in the world (of course, there are plenty of reasons to do that), but to the bad that happens on the inside, in our minds.
I’m pretty sure, fear, in the form of negative self-talk or criticism filters each day’s experience of most people.
It isn’t the scared-to-leave-the-house kind of fear, or fear of spiders, or of being attacked.
No, it is in some ways a worse kind of fear – a fear so merged with everyday thoughts, feelings and actions that it is almost invisible to us.
Most of us live with these fears, muttering their warnings and restrictions:
- ”Who do you think you are?”
- “Don’t speak up – you’ll get hurt.”
- “No one likes you – you don’t belong.”
Malignant when you think about it.
We hear these fears on the periphery and carry on with the day; rarely challenging them head on. We do not speak up against these fears or question their veracity.
The problem here is that we have not been taught to not believe everything (negative and positive) we hear inside. We have not learned, or practiced applying critical thinking to the doubt-spewing, possibility paralyzing thoughts that dwell within the bony walls of our craniums.
What would it be like to engage with these voices that shut us down? I thought I would share some of my responses and offer some attitude shifts to deal with the fears above.
Who do you think you are?
(This is such a classic. Have you said it to yourself? It used to show up very regularly in my thoughts until I began to challenge it. Now, it knows better).
Response: “I’m (name) and I am a good-hearted person” State your name and a particular quality that you appreciate about yourself, stand tall within yourself and see what happens to the fear. Say it again and mean it. Do it a few more times. Does the fear step back? We have to learn to reclaim these places in ourselves that we have given over to doubt/worry/fear and make them our own playgrounds.
Don’t speak up – you’ll get hurt
Response: “I am going to speak up because what I have to say is important for me to share with others. I feel good about myself when I share.” Addressing the issue the fear is using to keep you in bondage will help to create more space and insight for you. Would you really get hurt if you expressed yourself? Answer this honestly and objectively. People may not agree with you, or meet your expectations of an outcome, but that is not enough reason to conclude that you shouldn’t speak up.
No one likes you – you don’t belong.
Response: “Nice try, Fear! I am loved by many and I belong right here, right now. I belong to the whole and can never be apart from the whole.” Feeling invisible or not being worthy to be liked or be included are big fears. We all want to feel belonging because it makes us feel safe and being an outsider can feel scary. So, this is an especially important fear to face head on. Yes, there are times when we feel alone, disconnected and unloved and those are the times to take a step back and see who is feeding you the script that says you are alone, disconnected and unloved? That fear needs to be challenged and taken to task.
We could spend a whole lifetime in lockdown, ruled by anxieties and inner oppression of our self expression. But we don’t have to; we can choose new scripts in which we address ourselves with kind voices and align ourselves with the good stuff in our hearts.
Now think how different the world would appear if we switched these inner conversations for more positive ones. What are your most common negative thoughts/fears that you would like to challenge? What would change if you replaced these old scripts?
Share your thoughts with us and, if you like this post, please feel free to share with others and don’t forget to like us on FB. Cheers.
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