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Archive for the ‘fears’ Category

Fears: They Can Cripple or Inspire

Even Dreamers Have Fears

Whether it’s fear of a living thing; spiders, snakes, dogs, bears, fear of something physical; heights, crowds, flying, germs, or something intangible; success, failure, ridicule, exposure. We all have something which stands in the way of doing anything we want to do or being anything we want to be.

The major difference between those who go on to achieve their dreams and those who don’t isn’t lack of fear. It’s learning how to overcome or manage them. But it’s also learning how to use them to our advantage. In fact, learning to listen to our fears can sometimes save our lives.

We accumulate our fears in many ways. Some may be taught to us by our parents. Others may be the result of a frightening experience. Still others come when we make an effort to do something different and we are somehow shamed or humiliated for our trouble. Some may even have no discernible basis, yet they’re no less real than all the others.

Managing Our Fears

I’ve learned to ask myself questions whenever I encounter a roadblock in my life. The first is Am I stuck because I’m afraid of something?

But fears can be tricky little devils. Quite often, thee first time or two I ask the question, I’ll get an immediate denial. But if I keep asking, the denial grows weaker, more hesitant.

Our minds are conditioned to be resistant to change but this resistance isn’t as strong as we might believe. If we keep questioning and prodding, the affinity for sameness will falter. When it does, we need to ask the next question, What am I really afraid of?

Don’t expect the answer to come readily though. The protective instinct still has a few tricks up its sleeve. We might get a vague or generally unhelpful answer. The truth when we finally get to it might actually be a confusing conglomeration of fears which over time have coalesced into one massive excuse for maintaining the status quo.

How Our Fears Keep Us Stuck

But “status quo” or “comfort zone” are just fancy ways to say “rut”. I for one have gone out of my way to move on when I’ve found myself in a rut, regardless of whether the condition is due to outside influences or of my own making.

As might be expected, those of my own making are far more difficult to break free of. The mental resistance to coughing up the real reasons and fears which keep me in the self-made rut is often the work of a master brick-layer. Chipping away years of masonry quality excuses is a major challenge all by itself. But the mind has another weapon at its disposal. That weapon is pain.

Built into those solid stone walls filled with our experiences is all the pain, both real and imagined that we accumulated with those experiences.. When we demolish one of the layers, the pain is released and sometimes even relived. If we take a step back and observe without entangling our emotions, the pain doesn’t last. Doing so, however, requires a conscious effort we don’t always employ during the demolition process. More often, we attack the walls, yanking down bricks and flinging them, willy-nilly, behind us.

Stopping the Pattern of Pain

Far too frequently, part of the lesson we were meant to learn was short-circuited by the pain so we actually have to experience the lesson and the pain again. Only then can we release the pain and the fear it hid within its prickly womb.

So, what is strong enough to make us relive the pain and release the fear?

For me, it’s passion. It’s dreams so vivid I can feel the excitement and replace the fear-based pain with success-based euphoria. I imagine myself with those dreams already fulfilled—where I’m living my passion. I feel the energy of the places I visit and live, the people who are part of my life, the things I’ve accomplished to make at least part of the world a little better. It all becomes as real as my excitement and joy over living my dreams.

Making Sure We’re Headed in the Right Direction

But imagination can take us in the other direction as well. I wrote this post out long hand a few days ago, so I had to search through the collection of notebooks which litter my office, my purse, and random surfaces throughout my house to find what I’d written. In the process, I came across a story I wrote some time ago, detailing a worst-case scenario where I had never succeeded. I’d become so destitute I’d sold my furniture and books, but was still unable to come up with the money for vet bills to save my beloved cats. I won’t take you down the miserable path I’d detailed on 9 pages of college-ruled paper, but the picture I painted was the antithesis of my dreams. It was a picture of a woman alone, friendless and destitute who lived on only for the sake of the 3 remaining cats.

By the time I finished reading what I’d written, tears filled my eyes. But I also faced a harsh reality. I have a choice. I can face my fears, do some really uncomfortable things and manifest my dreams, or I can continue to refuse to do what’s necessary, hope for the best and, if not be quite as pathetic as the story in my dream, still find myself paring my life way back and having to make some tough decisions where future expenditures are concerned.

Keeping Our Choices Real

Life is always about choices, and how we deal with our fears is one of the biggest because it can mean the difference between living our dreams or our worst nightmares. Does anyone truly wish to live their nightmares? Yet many don’t realize they do so because of their own choices.

I don’t know about you, but I have some fears I need to drop kick into oblivion. I don’t know quite how I’ll do it, but I know I’m asking for help, which is something I don’t normally do. Sometimes, the first fear you have to conquer is the fear of being a burden.

Start by Being Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I find that remind me or shake me out of my complacency.
  2. I am grateful for choices.
  3. I am grateful for my friends and family who wouldn’t abandon me as my imagination sometimes believes.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those I’m still learning.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, friends, love, joy, dreams, fears conquered, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The accompanying Facebook Live can be found here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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Why I Write: Version 957 (or something like that)

I Feel so Blessed if I Touch But a Single Heart

I try to be as open and honest as possible here when sharing my own hopes, dreams, successes and tragedies. I know that though my experiences may be unique to me in how all of the pieces come together, the basic framework; the components which join together to create my personal mosaic are shared by many. They may put the pieces together in different patterns, add a few I missed, delete a few which don’t fit the picture they’re portraying. But in the end, we share a common bond.

Especially in tragedy or in the things over which we struggle, it is somehow comforting to know we aren’t alone and that there is someone out there who understands. For some, even those day to day struggles can become overwhelming, and a tiny glimmer of hope might be enough to open up a window in their dark room.

Sometimes when I share, I strike a note and people say Oh, yeah! I can relate. I’ve been there too. Other times, like with my last post, one of the people who inspire and support me turns around and challenges me.

Getting in Touch with Ourselves

Essentially, I was challenged to investigate my own particular perceptions. I was asked whether I knew when I saw someone that I would be attracted to them, whether or not getting to know them better furthered the attraction or not, didn’t I at least know if I had a smidgen of interest?

Let me preface my answer by saying that I’ve learned to fight back those niggling little attraction gremlins for a couple of reasons. First, the last time I allowed myself to let them have their way, I was in a mucked up emotional place. I was unhappy, angry, negative and a bit self-destructive. Needless to say, I wasn’t attracted to anyone who might actually be good for me. Or if I was, my interest wasn’t returned because they only saw the broken, messy part of me I was showing the world at the time. Second, I have a terrible history of making an ass of myself over someone to whom I was attracted. As a result, I’ve taught myself to discount the feelings and run the other way before I once again embarrass myself.

Being the friend and the strong honest woman she is, I wasn’t allowed to prevaricate. With each lame answer I gave, another question, another challenge came. So this post is for Lorna who has, on more than one occasion, forced me to take a good, hard look at who I am, what I’m doing and what I truly want. I am so grateful for her tenacity even when she makes me look at a part of myself that isn’t very pretty. She is truly in my life for a reason because, left to my own devices, I’d probably just allow those hard truths to molder inside me, tainting everything good I’ve managed to accomplish.

Her first comment about my post was:

So this made for interesting reading but was safe and “over there”. My question is do either of the last two men interest you personally?

I’m not going to include the entire conversation here, but you’re welcome to follow it on my Author page on Facebook (referenced below) if you’re interested in all the gory details. Suffice it to say, I sidestepped her question a couple of times, but like a bulldog, she wasn’t about to allow me to get off that easily. I admit, I never completely answered her question, nor her later remark: I bet you know what you like.

Knowing When it’s Time to Face Our Fears

I know a lot of my lack of response has to do with fear: fear of making the same mistakes, fear of rejection, fear of making a fool of myself…and the list goes on. But as was pointed out by another friend recently, we cannot let fear control us or keep us from doing the things we want to do like completing projects or developing deep, enduring friendships.

In order to face those fears, I’m going to answer her question here. Without further ado, here are the things I like and which would lead me to feel attracted to someone. This applies to both men and women as they are things I find attractive in my friends. I also believe that to have a strong, healthy relationship of the romantic kind, friendship is essential, and must be there before anything else can develop.

  • Sense of Humor
  • Wit
  • Positive attitude
  • Comfortable in their own skin
  • Humble
  • Intelligent
  • Supportive
  • Strong-willed but not dictatorial. Someone who has an opinion and won’t let go of it just to please someone else.
  • Young at heart
  • Responsible
  • Dances
  • Compassionate

I could add a lot more to this list, but I think this covers most of it. Anything else would just be overly picky or icing on the cake. I’ve heard different points of view about making lists of the character traits of someone you’d like to attract. That’s not my purpose here. I’m simply answering a question and maybe, just a little, giving myself permission to find someone with a few of these traits attractive, if only on a visceral level. Whether or not I’d act on my own feelings of attraction would depend on whether I manage to overcome those fears and manage to keep the attraction at level where there are no expectations other than a new friend/acquaintance and someone I might dance with now and again.

I’ve learned that sometimes, putting my fears down in black and white somehow takes some of the power out of them. Looking at them as the formless, insubstantial beings they are makes me realize they are no more than a figment of my imagination anyway; even those I’ve experienced at some distant point in my life. I just have to keep reminding myself: that was then, this is now. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’ve grown, I’ve developed, I’ve made changes and I’ve done a whole lot of soul searching. With other people, I give credit where credit is due. But with myself, I have a bad habit of minimizing my accomplishments. I think the cold, hard truth is that we have to learn to love ourselves but we also have to learn to treat ourselves like our own best friend.

What Fears Are Holding You Back?

We all have them. A part of our life where we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to be everything we could be. A place where we’re allowing misplaced fears to call the shots. Sometimes, it’s cathartic to share them with others, so feel free to do so in the comments. When all is said and done, we’re in this together; we’re all a part of the same whole.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who expect me to be honest with them and myself.
2. I am grateful for the challenges in my life and the fears I’ve already let go.
3. I am grateful for the gift of writing which has, so many times, allowed me to work through a problem, a fear, a trauma…and come out whole and stronger on the other side.
4. I am grateful for perseverance. Each day, I get more and more accomplished and each day, I feel that much better about myself.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, lessons, challenges, productivity, intelligence, imagination, love, joy, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

June 4, 2015 Getting to the Bottom of Those Pesky Fears

Aha Moments Hit When You Least Expect Them

Driving down to my daughter’s late last night with one of Brad Paisley’s sillier CD’s playing in the background, Google Maps in my right ear doing its best to lead me astray and the requisite triple latte from Starbuck’s in the cup holder, my mind multi-tasked between trying to avoid the delightful beings who seemed to require periodic testing to assure themselves they had functioning brakes and all of the places my ADD brain likes to go when it isn’t occupied with a full complement of stimuli. This time, however, that unpredictable mind of mine actually managed to surprise me by coming up with something useful.

Though I hadn’t quite figured it out until tonight, there truly was a fear behind the spinning wheels I’d been experiencing on and off for the last year or so. Between the failed attempt at learning copywriting and my current weak effort to monetize my blogging by working for others, I had, until last night, overlooked a single nefarious cause for my lack of, well, sticktoitiveness. With the help of various teachers and guided meditations, I have been asking myself over and over What is it I fear? What is truly keeping me from realizing my goals right now?

While Brad sang about killing dozens of roses as he searched for forgiveness, my mind suddenly engaged and the root of my problem was so incredibly obvious, it’s amazing I didn’t figure it out sooner. But let me take a step back to allow those whose brains are less convoluted to catch up.

Just Because it is Written on the Internet Does Not Make it True

Once I nailed down the fear which was crippling me without my conscious knowledge, I didn’t have to wander far to discover the reason. Over the last couple of years, I have joined a number of groups on Facebook including a couple concerned with self-publishing. Unfortunately, many of the readers post about their personal horror stories, be they formatting, small sales, returned ebooks or any number of issues with purveyors of products and services for the unsuspecting self-publisher. This served to replace my fear of rejection (which, by the way, I believe I’ve overcome by seeing rejections as a badge of honor and encouragement to continue trying) with something far more insidious: fear of spending a lot of time, effort and money to put a piece of crap out on the internet via Amazon and Kindle where anyone can see how inept I am.

Now that I’ve identified the fear which is preventing the world from seeing what my twisted mind can conjure, I have the tools to start working through that fear and negating it just as I did the fear of rejection. Better still, I can finally move forward, do the necessary edits and revisions, and maybe even get some work as a Virtual Assistant as well! I am certainly looking forward to the end of a long stream of unproductive days.

The only thing I can’t quite come to terms with is the number of times I had to ask what fear was holding me back before I finally got an answer…and the answer came when I wasn’t even thinking about the problem! I realize the Universe takes great pleasure out of twisting my life into bizarre, pretzel-like configurations untouchable even by purveyors of horror movies, but usually, I’d have received one of those gentle wake-up calls I refer to as “Universal head slaps” long before now. This little demon has been hanging around for months!

I suppose I should just be grateful that the latest mystery is solved and get on with the business of actually finishing something and preparing it for publication. Meanwhile, I will allow myself to indulge in the occasional mindless muttering which typically accompanies my writing sessions anyway.

As it is, I spent a goodly amount of time this evening trying to resolve an issue with my laptop which prevented websites from showing up properly. Wouldn’t you know that after my typical poking around, I figured out that the issue lay in the fact the the blasted machine had set itself back to 1980 so none of the certificates could be recognized. Seriously?

I’ve babbled on long enough and the hour is getting late so I’ll leave you with my gratitudes:
1. I am grateful that my latest self-limiting fear has revealed itself so the business of squelching it can begin.
2. I am grateful for a relatively uneventful trip to my daughter’s.
3. I am grateful that my work is selling well and that I am able to support myself better as a writer than I ever could as an accountant. (could passion have something to do with it?)
4. I am grateful for all of the people who have supported me while I learned and failed and tried again until I figured things out. The cheerleading and the butt kicking have both been invaluable.
5. I am grateful for abundance: Aha moments, blessings, friends, family, love joy, support, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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