Overcome Your Fears

Episode #149

Does fear hold you back from living a life you love? From pursuing your dreams? Listen in as Ashley and Claudine share practical tips and personal examples of fears they have and have overcome in order to live lives full of joy. peace and confidence. 


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Does fear hold you back from living a life you love? From pursuing your dreams? Listen in as Ashley and Claudine share practical tips and personal examples of fears they have and have overcome in order to live lives full of joy. peace and confidence. 

Welcome back everybody. This is episode 1 49 Face your fears and this is the month of Halloween, it’s the month of ghosts and goblins and mummies and monsters. But today we’re gonna talk about things that we really fear, right? We’re not afraid of those things anymore, maybe when we’re five, but now as adult women, there are things that we truly fear and some of those things are fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of change all kinds of fears.

But I have a question for you, for you Ashley and for all of our listeners, what would you do differently if you did not have fear, wow, I like that question, I wouldn’t feel it, it’s yeah, I mean you just feel this sense of peace, peace, you know this confidence, I could do anything. Just this full trust that God is taking care of everything and it’s guiding my steps and protecting me, and you know, I think we would just be walking around the world very lightly and joyfully and you know, almost like back in the garden of Eden. I know I think that’s the way we were supposed to live. I mean I think, but it is universal, right? Everybody hears this is not something that just one person has or if or if you’re listening and you think, oh, it’s just me, I have all these fears. No, it’s universal. Regardless of our income, our age, our life stage, we can feel these fears, their, their universal and the fears can keep us stuck.

They keep us from not rising up and shining and living our best life. So that’s why we’re going to talk about it today because we do want to rise up and shine. We do want to live life to the full as Christian women as Christian moms and fear will keep us stuck right? And really, we can’t feel happy. You know, I feel like if I, the times when I look back, um when I’m living in fear, I’m not happy, you know, I’ll even share personally, one of my strongest fears probably throughout my whole lifetime so far has been disappointing others. But I did not have healthy boundaries. I felt like I could not say no. I felt like I needed to um just try to keep the peace right. I was very much a peacekeeper. And so, to me that translated into people pleasing. So it led that extreme fear of disappointing others led me to a life of codependency, the people pleasing, which then resulted in a lot of anxiety, self deprecation and depression, You know, several bouts of depression just because it wasn’t manageable, it wasn’t realistic, it was not helpful, it was very damaging on me and my self esteem and just my quality of life.

And I think sometimes when we think about our like, people pleasing if that’s somebody else’s fear, because that’s a very common one as well. You know, disappointing others. If we have that fear and we are a people pleaser or to an extreme case, you know, codependent, then it does, it just, we’re constantly living for other people and we feel like it’s selfish if I think about me or selfish, if I have self care or for me, I felt it was selfish to say no, but at the same time my quality of life was very, very poor. So, if we think about that, how can I really show up from a place of love if I’m living and acting and serving even from a place of fear, not from love. So that was really eye opening for me and which is why I wanted to share because I know it’s common. I know disappointing others whether it’s our Children or spouse or boss friends, family, parents in laws, you know, you name it absolutely, you know, fear is a strong emotion that is uncomfortable at best, or life altering at worst, I read that and I thought it’s so true.

Like whenever we feel fear, even if it’s light, it’s uncomfortable, right? It’s like you said, you can’t be happy, you can’t be at peace, um you can’t come from a place of love. We know that Perfect love drives out fear, right? Fear and faith don’t coexist. They’re on opposite ends of the scale. So, at best it’s uncomfortable. But if we live in a constant state of fear, it can really do damage to our health. Our bodies are our state of peace, right? We want to have peace and joy and balance. And so, um you know, that’s why it’s important to talk about it, really address what fears are we facing and how can we overcome? Because if we don’t, we’re just gonna be stuck and will be holding back, we won’t be living life to the full, like we should be, we won’t feel all that joy and peace and love. And I know Ashley, you know so much about the body, but when we live in fear, it’s also super harmful to our bodies? Oh, absolutely. And I’ll even share to what happens with our brain.

You know, how does, what does fear do uh and how is it manifested in our brain? Because it’s very it’s very God given, right? It’s an emotion all emotions are God given. And this was his designed to keep us safe. So, our bodies are wired to keep us safe, and our brains have a job, right? So, our when we feel fear, there’s danger or a threat, um our amygdala signals danger, danger and then signals to our nervous system and alerts our nervous system and then our nervous system is like we need to survive, right? So, what happens then is our stress hormones are released and that’s adrenaline, that’s cortisol. And what’s happening is our blood is even pumping away from our heart to our limbs. So that way we can get ready to run or fight for freeze. Um Again it’s very survival base. So, and then also what happens is our blood pressure increases, our heart rate increases, our breathing gets more rapid.

We even have digestive changes. And so, it’s really important and most importantly I think is even our cerebral cortex which is responsible for reasoning and judgment and problem solving that is affected. And so, we have very, we have difficulty with rationale making decisions, making, how can I respond in this situation? We’re just like instinct, just go you know I got to get out of here, I got to get out of here. So, but are the danger, quote unquote is very different. It’s not like we are in a forest, and we see a bear, oh my gosh what do I do? It is just it’s day to day stress is that make that amygdala alert, right? So, it’s if our Children are not obeying or snap on us, it’s if you know difficulties in our marriage, it’s um getting reprimanded by a boss, it’s different things that we deal with on a day to day. Uh, it will alert that system, that fear system.

But if we, if it’s chronic the stress hormones they call cortisol, the silent killer. If it’s constantly, if we’re in this state of chronic fear, it does damage. And in the long run it does even more damage. It can lead to, you know, certain diseases and, you know, um, factors into Alzheimer’s and lots of things that we don’t really think about that is just really eye opening. It’s not just, oh, I don’t like the situation, it’s scary. I’m gonna avoid it. It goes way beyond that. So, this, this lasts a lifetime. So that’s why we want to talk about it. So, it’s so detrimental to our health as well as our quality of life. Absolutely. I know I like that you said, you know, we don’t make decisions from a rational perspective, You know, we’re making decisions from self preservation, growth and coming from our highest and best self, you know, interestingly enough, I had conversations with two different people this past week that shared the fear of being hurt again in relationships and I think when we have that fear, um, it keeps us from creating and developing deep connections with others, right?

Had experienced losses of close friendships and there was this fear now, like I don’t want to really give my heart all the way because it hurts, right? And it’s not something that you consciously go around thinking, but it shows up in your actions and then it shows up when there’s loneliness, right? You’re lonely and you’re like, okay, well why are you feeling that? What? And then it comes out, it’s like, well I’ve been hurt before, and I don’t want to be hurt like that again. And so, it’s just very interesting, all these things this fear can do not only to our bodies, but to our relationships, to our minds, um to our heart, all of it, it affects all of it and, and sometimes we don’t even know we’re living in that state of fear. I know for me, one of my biggest fears is the safety of my Children and now my grandchildren and they can go, it can get very rational very quickly. Like there’s no logical reason for me to get fearful of them. But I might see something on the news and all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, that might happen to my child or my grandchild.

So, all of a sudden, I have this fear and I really have to take a few minutes and process that and we’re gonna share some practical with you. But I have those are my fears, you know, and I have to really work at it to not let it take control over me, my body, my heart, my mind, my soul. Yeah, yeah. I would like to add something in their, so I was just thinking as you were talking about how when we do experience this uncomfortable emotion of fear. We go to self preservation and the behaviors we tend to adopt our self soothing, right? I mean you think about babies as babies for trading our babies to try and self soothe right? Trying whether you were let your child cry it out or give them a pacifier or go in and you know the attachment theory, just cuddle them and love them until they fall asleep. Whatever we do that as adults, it’s just changed. Typically, don’t cry ourselves out anymore or have a capacity, right?

But what we do is we might eat; we might sleep excessively. We might um Netflix bitch. So now no, of course not. Are you pointing that out of me know that tends to happen pretty often, right? We might drink, we might just not take care of our bodies and what happened or even in social situations, avoid connecting with others, avoid putting ourselves out there again, um avoid social situations, whatever it may be. We adopt certain behaviors to self preserve. But when we think about it in the moment, it’s helpful, right? It’s keeping us feel more comfortable because like I’m comfortable here in my shell in my little cave. I don’t I don’t want to go out there. I’m good here. I’m good. But when you really think about it, are you really, really happy? Are you really, really good? Are you is this the life you want to live?

And if it is, that’s your choice. However, there is another option you can choose. You know what I don’t want to stay in this place and that’s where I got and I know both you and I in our own, like you said, even with watching something on the news, I have two choices here. I can let the news stories affect me and cause these thoughts in my brain of I fear for my Children’s safety, my grandchildren’s safety. And then you could freak out and try and control and or you can learn to trust, pray and just try train your brain to not focus on those negatives, right? Because a lot of a lot of things we fear might not even happen. Right? And so why live our life in this bondage in this prison? So, but again, if you want to do that, that’s your choice. I mean self preservation is comfortable. It’s easy. Yeah, it’s comfortable. But it creates other, you know, it does create loneliness and depression. You know, it’s interesting the bible tells us over and over to fear not like so many times that’s repeate. And one of my favorite Psalms, it says in chapter 56 verse three “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” And we’re gonna start sharing some practicals.

But even though that’s something as Christians, we have to practice it’s kind of what you just said, we have to retrain our brains right, so often we want to just handle it ourselves or self soothe like you said, like it’s so much easier to eat a pint of ice cream than to go spend time in prayer and meditation at least for me, like in my flesh, it’s so much easier to go eat a pint of ice cream, right? So good in the moment, it feels so, so good. But it doesn’t help, it doesn’t change anything. So anyway, let’s share a few practical actually, I’ll share the first one.

I think the first one is just to have an awareness. What do I fear? Like, you know, you and I obviously we do this work, and we talk with each other, so we were very aware of like what do I really fear? And so for me, I’ve gotten in touch that a lot of mine is fear of the safety of my Children grandchildren and there’s nothing in my past that should, you know, I don’t have any experiences to create that, but it’s there, you know, maybe from living in this world and watching occasional news reports, I don’t watch the news a whole lot, but every once in a while, something bad happens and certainly with school shootings, we can’t miss those.

So now that I have grandchildren, I’m like, oh what happens when they start going to school, they’re still young, but you know, and it’s these fears so once I have an awareness of it then I can deal with it and I can um put into practice some things that will help heal that fear. Yeah, and I want to put in a note there too that in order to gain awareness you have to take the time to just sit down and reflect right, be introspective. A lot of us are so busy in our schedules and sometimes we don’t like to sit alone, right? We cannot reflect and we cannot, you know gain that awareness to the to the full extent, you know of what do I really fear and really and write it down journal, write it down and just so you’re aware and you can see it um outside of your brain right? Kind of floating outside person, you’ll see your list because then you can be more rational and you can look at them and be like oh you know what, that one seems kind of silly, you Know that maybe I don’t need to fear that one um that really helps you.

So, I’ll jump onto number two, focus on truth and fact. So, there is this statistic, I can’t remember where I found it, but it was 80-90% of things that we fear are imagined. They’re not even real tangible fears. So, when you think about that and when you do the first step of the awareness, writing down what it is you fear and just like brain dump, right? Or thought download. I know you like that term, write down, write them all down and then go through and see what of these fears are act actual facts and truth and legitimate fears right now or what our fears that I’m imagining stories I’m creating in my head based on news based on any other influence influences coming in based on past experiences. You know, I know a lot of us when, especially as moms, we fear a lot of negative situations happening to our Children that we experienced right?

Whether it’s abuse, you know, I fear my children experiencing abuse, right? Especially like sexual abuse. And so, my daughter, I’m much more hyper vigilant of who I would allow her to sleep over. You know, whose house I would allow her to sleep over, which is not very many, but I can try to control situations and manipulate situations because I’m putting my fears on it. But again, like that is a real fear, right? Those things happen. But to what extent am I going to let it control my life and let it control my children’s life, right? Yeah. So important to focus on fact and truth because you’re right, so much of what we create is in our minds only. It’s, you know, creative imagination. Yeah. The what ifs and it’s not fact and truth and that’s so important. It goes back to stories the stories we tell ourselves, we create these fear-based stories, you know, we did a great episode on that, but um really focusing on fact and truth and that’s really helpful to like, okay, like with my two Children, I have to remember they’re safe right now.

They’re in good places and, and you never know, I mean anything can happen to anyone at any time. I mean obviously a big part of my fear for one of my kids is he goes hiking in the mountains alone right time. So for me, I can, you know, hold my breath a bit like uh and then the other one, my other son skateboards to work on busy streets, so, you know, I don’t feel comfortable with all that, but I have to remind myself, okay, they’re both wise, they’re both mature. You know, I have to just focus on fact and truth that people skateboard everyday, people hike in the mountains every day and it’s okay, you know, that’s the fact and truth of the situation and um, which helps me a lot. So, number three take baby steps if there’s things, you’re fearful of doing. So, a lot of the things we’re talking about, of fear of, you know, like you said, pleasing others and we fear of harm to someone, I love sometimes we’re fearful of building relationships or going out in public, those things.

So, no practical, number three is to take baby steps, you know, just do something very small in the direction of what you really would like to do right? Like for me, I honestly, this is a weird one, but I didn’t go to grocery stores till I was like 20 five, by myself and I had two small Children. I just did not like I was very fearful of going out in public by myself, I don’t think I pumped my own gas till I was in my mid. There were very lot of things, I just very fearful of the world and people and so I didn’t do a lot by myself. Like I either went places with a friend or then I got married and then I went to the grocery store with my husband. So, this is very strange. Like I look back now and I’m like, now I really like to go alone, right? Like that’s like, no, no, I’ll go by myself, thanks. You know, once you have a house full of kids, you’re like no, I’ll take that hour by myself, right? But I didn’t do, I didn’t go places alone until I was, I would say at least 25 it’s so funny now, like I travel, I go across the country, I do so many things by myself, but it started with taking little little baby steps, like literally just going maybe to a 7, 11 by myself, something very small, then going to the grocery store and it seems so odd because this was decades ago, but I had a real fear of going places alone and now there’s nothing nowhere I can’t go alone.

I can go to an event with 1000 people alone. I’m totally fine. But it started by taking little baby steps. Oh yeah, I had to do that with saying no to people. Yeah, maybe I couldn’t go 180° the other way and be like no, I’m, you know, say no to everybody and anyone. But I did I had to have myself practice saying no in certain situations little by little, you know, and then it got much easier. I mean there’s still a little bit of discomfort, but I don’t have that fear and anxiety. Like I used to I mean, I would get almost paranoid. So yeah, baby steps is huge and give yourself time, right? It’s a process. We’re not gonna wake up the next morning, like great, I’m all healed. Yeah. And don’t shame yourself along the way either. Like, I should be further along, I, you know, Susie Q can do this. Why can’t I? Right, so much of that. Like, what’s wrong with me? Because I kind of really felt back then there was something really wrong with me like what is wrong with me. Like no one else has these issues. But there are people out there.

Number four, grow your anti fear muscle. So just as Claudine mentioned with number three, the baby steps just one at a time start to face them. For example, I’ll share personally we had adopted a dog that was about eight months old, and she was getting very protective, and she was like on walks we could hardly walk her, she would sound so aggressive, she would lunge at people lunge at other dogs. Um even when I visited my family down south and if someone came in the door she would try to lunge after them, never bit anyone. But it was getting scary right? It was definitely getting scary for me being her owner. Um and so we had to re home her but still that trauma of having her affected me, I never ever had a fear of dogs, but after that experience and we had her let’s say maybe eight months like that, that’s about all we had her um looking back like wow that’s a lot longer than we should have.

But I it took me a while to work on that fear, I mean, and it was really sad because I loved dogs, we had dogs previously and so, but I didn’t want to be stuck there and just swear off dogs forever. And so, I decided that just baby steps, right if there is a dog that didn’t look very intimidating, I’d go petted and now hi you know chat with the owner, you know I would take those baby steps until eventually we adopted the puppy which was not fearful at all. Um and even still I would have some fear with the puppy, but it was gradual. It was a process, and you know, I know this is a smaller scale of a fear, but it eventually that fear mostly went away for the most part, right? And so now yeah, but it is it’s if you want to again, it’s a choice. Face those fears a little bit at a time, you know, to help work through it. I remember Passion probably was about 30 years ago, there was a book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways.

And my mother-in-law had given me a copy and I don’t I know, I read it, but I don’t remember anything from it because it literally was probably about 30 years ago. But it’s such a great title. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Like the end goal is not to never feel fear, right? Because we’re always fear. We’re just wired that way for self preservation and survival. But feel the fear and do it anyway. What do you really, really want to do? What things that you want to do? But scare you, you’re gonna grow your anti fear muscle by just going out there and doing it and then the next time it won’t be as scary right? And then the next time and the next time like I said now I can fly across the country by myself. I can go to a lot of events by myself, none of that. Um I might still feel uncomfortable. Don’t give me there might be a little apprehension, right? But it’s not, I’ll still feel a little bit of that emotion, but I can still do it and now I have more confidence that like, oh no, I can do things scared, it’s okay.

So, it’s not holding you back, you know? Exactly, it doesn’t hold me back from living the life I want to live and going in the direction of my dreams. Yeah. And even in social situations I can share for myself, because I know many people can relate as you know, like going somewhere new, right? Maybe not knowing many people. So if you think about in your mind, I can either think about how scared I am and I hate these situations or I can think about, I want to go in and be a light to somebody and I’m just gonna try and spark one positive conversation with someone and for me, I’m such a positive affirmation person, I will just compliment someone. Oh, I love your dress and that can start a conversation, right? Or oh, I like your hair or whatever, it may be. Right. So, going in more with a positive thought in mind rather than how scary the situation is that really helps with flexing that fear of muscle and taking those baby steps because I fear people, I do, I fear people, especially with someone who was very codependent and fear of disappointing people, I am that person that you know like that um I forgot the name of it, it’s totally blanking now, but when you walk into a room you think all eyes are on you.

Oh yeah, yeah, the name for that? No, no, no, not at all. Um but because of that fear, I didn’t want to be stuck there, that’s not how I wanted my life to be right and so I made the conscious decision, okay, going into the situation, I need a different mindset, Stop focusing on the fears, focus on let’s just be a light, let’s be light and I can encourage someone because that is the strength I have to encourage so and it really makes such a huge difference. And then as you said right, doing those baby steps, you’ll feel a bit more confident and more comfortable and then the next time it’s not so scary and then the next time it’s not so scary. So, and it really is just transformative, and it will lead you to the life that you really love and feel good about and you know create more happiness and joy. Absolutely, absolutely, that’s great and as you were speaking that reminded me of another practical .

Last, but certainly not least, is to pray and I already brought up the scripture, but you know that helped me a lot. Overcoming my fears like when I had to go places alone, I just prayed, I really prayed about it, God help me be safe, God give me confidence. God gave me the strength and then I realized I was never alone and that was a huge turning point for me is to really pray in all circumstance, right? Especially when I was filled with fear and insecurity to pray, just gave me this piece uh and knowing like that scripture said, I’ll just put my trust in you whatever is gonna happen, it’s you know you’ve got it in your hands. So, prayer is powerful, we all know that just you know, just to say it just remember to pray. I know in the moment of fear we can forget because like you said, our body all the chemicals that are flowing through our body and the cortisol in our brains aren’t as rational but really just take a deep breath and pray. Yes, and deep breathing helps calm that. So yeah, then we can tap into the cerebral cortex and start thinking more rationally.

Alright everyone, Well, I just appreciate you tuning in with us for another episode. I also want to put a plug in there out for Claudine’s wonderful program, coaching program. If you want to check her out, find her on ClaudineSweeney.com. She has a yearly program that you can get some more information on and this month actually she is focusing on fears with her clients and in her program. So please check her out. And she also has the opportunity both of us have the opportunity to have offer coaching calls, a free initial coaching call with you to figure out where you are right now, where you’re stuck, what areas in your life you want to grow in. If there are fears that are keeping you stuck and holding you back from really living the life you love and feeling confident, then please reach out. So again, check out Claudine at ClaudineSweeney.com and Ashley at MindOverChaos.com And we hope you have a wonderful rest of the week, and we’ll catch you next time. Take care.