The Fear Balance
Written by: Sabine Roggermeier
Do you enjoy fear? I surely don’t, nevertheless I know it can also be useful. Sometimes it is even literally life-saving, when fear keeps us from doing things that might get us seriously hurt. Other times it is a road sign. It shows us opportunities to grow and places we need to support ourselves in.
As uncomfortable as fear can be is it really a sensible goal to get rid of all fear? I don’t think so. For as mentioned above there are definitely positive aspects to fear. What you want to achieve is balance, to not be overcome by fear, but to use it as a guideline. What can you balance fear with? Confidence. Confidence is not equal to absence of fear, but a knowing that you can trust yourself to get through it.
I recently talked with colleagues about trauma and post-traumatic growth. Trauma creates a wobble around your confidence if it doesn’t even crash it altogether. So part of the post-traumatic growth is to get your confidence back up and making it even more stable in the process. When you experienced a loss of your confidence there often might still be anxiety around loosing it again. Yet you do not need to be a victim to your confidence vanishing. I’m here to tell you that you are the generator of your confidence. It isn’t something that just falls into your lap randomly. You can rebuild it. You can protect it. You can even make it stronger so as to allow you to remain confident throughout the trials of life.
You can simply start by noticing how both, fear and confidence, feel.
Go back to a memory of a situation that caused you to fear. How does your body react? Is there a shortness of breath or tightness in your breast? Do your hands get cold? Would you like to scream, but your voice is blocked? Does your heart rate go up or do you experience nausea? After examining the state of your body come back into the Here and Now. Look around the room and notice that you are safe, allowing your body to relax again.
Now think of a situation you feel confident in, one in which you can be fully yourself and enjoy it. What does the confidence feel like in your body? Does it sit in a certain part of your body? What’s your body’s reaction? Is there a certain color present? Does your energy feel enlarged? Do you feel more grounded?
When you know what confidence feels like for you, come back to it again and again. Make it a habit, especially when experiencing fear. Throughout life your confidence can go up and down due to your experiences as well as your reactions to them, just as you will feel fear again and again in your life. Yet you are the driving force behind your confidence. Cultivate trust in this part of yourself. Don’t go into mental chatter about it, simply remember your bodily feeling of confidence and allow it to take over your life.
This week’s homework:
How can you bring that feeling of confidence back in your body regularly?