Honestly Removing Fear

Today’s Thought: Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. You choose!

For so long many of my decisions have been based on controlling my fear. Most recently, my fear of asserting my true beliefs and opinions to those superior to me at work has been a major feature of my everyday life. Overcoming that fear has been key to becoming more calm.

Since I began my commitment to honesty, I have transitioned from having to think hard about whether what I was saying was truly honest to honesty being automatic. This is why my fear of sharing my honest thoughts with my superiors has been a major stumbling block – it has brought back all those feelings of discomfort that came with not being honest with myself or others. Now I have broken free of those constraints – living free of the fear of judgement and confrontation (or at least more freely), I find that I am calmer than ever.

I have faced my fear and I do feel as though I have risen because of it. Tranquility sits in my soul and I bask in its warm comfort; the fear lessens because I cannot be ‘found out’ – I have been true, so there is no fear of being caught in a lie or being found to have want of understanding. I am able to absorb constructive criticism by approaching it with assertiveness – asking questions to clarify my understanding so that I can respond with strength and success, rather than languishing in terror and hurt.

Finding this way of life requires work. No one would rescue me; I had to rescue myself and that has given me my power back.

What are you most afraid of and how will you rise above it?

Honest Criticism

Today’s Thought: The difference between criticism and constructive criticism is empathy.

My struggle with my new superior continues; it has felt insurmountable recently and I have sunk deeper and deeper into a quagmire of self-destruction. Not helpful; not positive and certainly not changing anything.

Working with my therapist, we talked over why this person was triggering me so badly. There are many reasons, but actually what I need to focus on is the solution: I need to change my response to this person rather than wish the person themselves will change.

One of my difficulties with them is that whenever they criticise or comment on something either to do with work I have done or with my opinion or feeling on a topic, I feel as though they are rejecting and belittling me. While this in itself may or may not be true, I must start to do two things: frame the criticism more positively and explore exactly what they mean and change my response to their words by separating myself as a person to the behaviour or work they are criticising.

To this end, I have to practice altering my response. This is not going to be easy for me as my current responses are so entrenched within my body and I am highly anxious and emotional right now. For this reason, I am going to start with changing my reaction to small things:

  1. I am going to say exactly what I do or don’t want for a meal instead of saying ‘I don’t mind, whatever you want.’
  2. I am going to ask my superior if they can clarify what they mean the next time they say something that I feel criticises me or my work. I am going to try and change it into a learning opportunity.

Starting this way will allow me to practice using assertiveness rather than passiveness. It will empower me to be a survivor rather than a victim and it will help me to realise that this person doesn’t have ultimate power over my destiny – I do!

My chosen thought of the day is a reminder to me that this superior probably doesn’t empathise with my struggles because they possibly haven’t ever experienced such crushing self-doubt. This isn’t my fault or their fault so I need to put the power back in my own hands and change my responses. I must accept that they have weaknesses just as I do and use this knowledge to learn and move forward. After all, I have a skill that they don’t – empathy – and this gives me such a huge opportunity to influence others more positively than they do. If I change my response to them, then I have the chance to prove to then exactly how effective I can be.

Finding The Honest Root.

Today’s Thought: It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

Since this superior has come into my life, I feel as though I have been catapulted into a murky soup of confusion and fear. I feel as though I am on the outside looking in; weird; unacceptable; stupid; as though my soul is to be consumed and overpowered.

This week these feelings have led me to make the wrong decision, simply because I feared the superior’s opinion of me. My fear and the subsequent decision impacted negatively on another person and rebounded back to me as it rightly should have done. I cannot let this happen again; it is the opposite to the honest existence I crave.

Where did this all begin? All these sensations and feelings are old – they feel older than I and as if they don’t all belong to me. I recently read that who you want to be is who you truly are. I want to be free, creative, happy and caring, yet when I experience people who resurrect these violent emotions in me, I am frequently terrified, stunted, anxious and cut myself off from others.

To remove the power this superior has over me, I have to identify where these feelings originate. I have to heal and find peace.

It is time to use my honesty quest to look deeper inside; look further back and find the root cause of my fears and anxieties. If I can do this, then I will be able to remove the negative influence this person has over me and re-discover my inner-confidence.

This week’s mantra will be: ‘be who you are and want to be!’

Honestly Struggling

Today’s Thought: Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Right now I am struggling. Work is tough; we aren’t meeting our targets and my superiors are telling me it’s unacceptable. Because of this all the gremlins lurking in my mind on the look out for threat are in overdrive, telling me that I am unacceptable.

It is going to take all my strength to quieten the gremlins and goblins down. To tell them that it’s not me that’s unacceptable, it’s the situation and situations can change.

It’s going to take all my strength to convince others that we can change the situation if we really want to and that we certainly shouldn’t just accept defeat. We all need to continue to fight; we all need to believe we can win.

I need to believe I can win; that I have the skills and competency to lead my team to the finish line where a participant’s pack awaits us! We might not win gold, but we will finish the race and we will give every ounce of effort we have.

Over the past three weeks the murky mist of depression has been hovering, infiltrating the breaches in my armour. It’s a fearsome vapour, but I intend to be a vigorous opponent. When it whispers poison, I will shout back with the remedy. The remedy is knowing that I am enough, just as I am. I will not capitulate, because I am enough and no matter how grinding and gruelling the journey, I can make it. It doesn’t matter if I take a different route; it doesn’t matter if I have different equipment in my pack or a take a different mode of transport. It matters that I get there.

I am enough; you are enough. We all are enough, just as we are.

Fighting Fear with Honesty

Today’s Thought: I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.

The past two weeks I have been living in my lizard brain. I have allowed it to hijack me and infiltrate my thoughts and generate my feelings. It is sickeningly exhausting and I have resolved to stop it.

I now have a superior who scares me. Why is this? It’s because I am terrified she will expose me as a fraud; that she will see I am incapable of doing my job; that she will confirm what I fear most – I am a failure.

How am I going to change my thought pattern? I am stuck with this superior, so I have to find a way not to just live with them, but to thrive with them; I must find a way to believe in myself and my capabilities and I need to be as honest with myself as I am trying to be with others.

I am going to make a list of hard evidence that proves I am good at my job and then a list of the areas I need to improve in order to feel really confident at my job. I am going to use this list when working with my superior – if I feel it’s an area that I am competent in, then I am going to make sure I have the evidence to prove it to hand; if it’s an area I am fearful that I lack the skills with knowledge for, I am going to ask for advice and support.

For others to believe in me, I need to do so first. Honestly, it’s a tough ask – I rely on others for reassurance so much that it is going to be deeply uncomfortable to change, but change it I must.

My honesty journey is now taking me to unchartered territory – I must be positively honest with myself.

Honesty Unappreciated/Inappropriate.

Today’s Thought: We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions; that we’ll screw up royally sometimes. Understanding that failure is not the opposite of success – it’s part of success.

It’s hard to do this when so many aspects of yourself are in conflict!

I am hardwired to think I am only as good as my achievements or doing as well as other people think of me, therefore when things go awry, as they are naturally going to from time to time, I relentlessly beat myself up and wallow in the slime of shame.

This week, I messed up. I was too honest too soon. I met a new superior for the first time and they fired questions at me. I had failed to anticipate that this would happen and panicked. I couldn’t think straight; I stuttered, sounded unsure of myself and gave poor answers. I knew the answers were poor and apologised to my superior, saying ‘I’m so sorry, that was a terrible answer.’ They replied with a roll of the eyes and ‘Yes, it was.’

Shame crashed into the room like a tsunami, dragging with it the debris of every other embarrassing or humiliating moment of my life. The jagged edges tore through my composure, leaving it in tatters. I cried. More shame; I was engulfed.

I had shown my vulnerability and it was found to be unacceptable. ‘Do you usually cry?” they said, distain punctuating every word. I felt crushed, child-like and admonished. More shame.

On my road to a more honest existence, I had not anticipated the reality that not everyone wants to see the real me and that I actually have to be OK with that. I am struggling to accept that there are aspects of my daily life where I am going to have to put on a front; wear a shield and pretend. It’s hard for me as I feel this pretence is akin to not be accepted for who I am. What I have to do is consider that maybe it isn’t that at all; it’s simply that in some situations, it’s not acceptable to be the real me. It doesn’t me the person hasn’t accepted me, it means they want me to manage the situation differently.

In my job, I am required to present a particular image, give particular answers in particular ways. It’s how we ‘win’ in the ‘game’ we’ve been asked to play. I have always feared games; I lose games because I don’t always understand the rules. My role is something I fought hard to achieve – I thought it would make me happy and besides, I’d been told I would never achieve it so I felt I had to fight to prove to others that I could, that perhaps it would bring acceptance.

What I should have done was not fought; I should have taken the feedback of others less as a challenge; less as an assessment that I was unacceptable and more of an indication that my talents lay elsewhere. Right now, I feel I am in a constant battle to survive in my role; it makes me unhappy. I am unhappy because to be successful I have to hide my true self. Putting on a show feels dishonest and unnatural – it feels as though I am not being accepted, even though it isn’t really that at all. It’s just a role that needs fulfilling. I must learn to separate myself from the role and ultimately I must find another role more suited to my true self.

Whilst I endeavour to forgive myself for exposing my fragility to my superior, I must try to accept it as a step on the road to better things. I must remember that not everyone will appreciate an honest presentation of myself. I must accept that sometimes an honest presentation of myself is not appropriate. I must accept this, shield myself and move on.

I must choose courage over comfort (with thanks to Word Fandom http://wordfandom.wordpress.com).

Honesty Cannot Pretend.

Today’s Thought: People of integrity do not hide their reactions or opinions. They do not manipulate others through deception and they do not pretend.

This week I pledge my integrity; that I will not pretend and that I will be courageously honest!

So I will start by admitting I am scared of failing, but I am not scared of learning the lessons from failure.

My anxiety is raging, but honesty calms its vexation.

Self-doubt is insidiously sliding into every cranny of my being, but honesty can clear those pathways for self-assuredness to take up residence.

This week’s reminders: I can do difficult things. Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean I can’t do it and having to work hard at something isn’t a failure; it’s a triumph! I can and I will!

Honesty Partnering Integrity

Today’s Thought: Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.

Soon I will have to do just this. I have been anxious for days, unsure as to why and grappling with the sensation that I am about to make a huge mistake. This week I hit upon the answer – I am letting fear influence my decisions once again; I am allowing myself to be manipulated because of my fear of someone’s reaction; because I have not been entirely transparent in my actions, because I wanted to keep someone who is seemingly powerful close. In short – I am trying to control my world again.

As soon as I consider a course of action that doesn’t involve pandering to the desires and wishes of this other person, I feel much calmer. I still fear their reaction, but I fear the consequences of making a decision based on the wrong reasons more; I think it will have far bigger consequences.

If I am to build a honest life; an honest organisation in which I work and an honest team who support one another, then I must watch my thoughts and actions closely. I must unwrap my courage and feed it and make a decision based on the needs of the many rather than the ambitions of one.

I can choose my words; I can choose my actions. I have power over whether I practice my values and we all know that practice eventually makes perfect!

Fear Vs Honesty

Today’s Thought: Fear never goes away. All that we long for lies on the other side of fear. The best way to get to what we want it to go through the fear.

Confrontation terrifies me. It makes me curl up and submit just so I can avoid the sickening feeling of having created an atmosphere; upset someone; make myself look potentially silly or, most of all, avoid being shouted at. Confrontation or, to be more specific, what I believe confrontation to be, makes me feel like a child. I feel unsafe, vulnerable and as if what will follow will feel unjust.

Clearly all that I feel is old – it comes from somewhere in my past and whenever I have to confront someone, those old feelings return and hijack me. What can I do about it? All I want is to make that crushing fear disappear.

Unfortunately, I have to face it. In my pursuit for a more honest life, I have to confront some people and issues – it’s unavoidable. This means the fear is unavoidable – I am going to have to work through it.

Tomorrow I have a meeting; there will be someone there who is going to challenge lots of things, because they have an almost compulsive need for control. The right thing for me to do will be to challenge back when I genuinely believe that what they are saying won’t be best for the clients or organisation as as whole. This is usually where I come unstuck. Normally I find reasons to agree with them just so I can avoid them sulking for the rest of the meeting or coming back later to whine and impress the brilliance of their views on me again.

I must stop doing this, so tomorrow I am going to add to my honesty challenge. To be my most honest self, I have to remain true to my vision and therefore take a deep breath and calmly pose a different point of view. Whatever happens next is out of my circle of control and actually out of my responsibility. The only responsibility I have is to be calm and kind when I deliver my honest response. The response of the other person is not my responsibility – it’s theirs and I shouldn’t fear it, they should!

Look out fear, here comes honesty!

Speak The Truth…Even Though It’s Scary!

Today’s Thought: Speak the truth…even if your voice shakes!

Now, this is not me advising that you blurt out ‘yes, your bum does look big in those trousers’ or ‘you’re a right cow, you know that?’! I am simply advising that it’s important to be truthful, even when to speak your truth makes you feel afraid and vulnerable. This is because, although that moment will feel deeply uncomfortable and you will be fearful of what will happen next, if you don’t speak the truth, you will regret it and regret always weighs heavy. Not only will you avoid the shackles of regret, you will feel the rush of strength that comes from making your voice heard!

Speaking the truth comes with a responsibility, though. You need to be sure that your reasons for wanting to speak the truth are non-judgemental; positive and have nothing to do with trying to manipulate a situation so that it suits you better. I have fallen into this trap – I have spoken up in meetings, not because I want to better the situation for the whole organisation and its client base, but more because I was afraid of some other suggestion and wanted to get my two-pence worth in to prevent things going in a direction that made me uncomfortable! That’s not the truth; that’s fear masking the truth!

Be honest with those around you, but start by being honest with yourself. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? How are you going to respond (as opposed to react)? Will your response be kind, meaningful and help achieve a goal? Honesty only comes from a considered response; not from an emotional reaction and it takes practice to be truly honest.

Practice your honesty every day and your confidence will build by the regular injections of courage it brings. Measure the motives behind your honesty before you administer it and you will feel proud of how well you know yourself and handle yourself in all kinds of situations.

Sometimes honesty isn’t always about getting your voice heard by others, it’s about getting your voice heard by you before you share it with the world!