Episode 018 The Truth About Fear
The Truth About Fear
We are talking about a big one today...Fear. This is part two of the F word series. The first episode was Failure is Bullshit and today is The Truth About Fear.
I don't even feel you can actually define fear. Fear manifests in so many ways and just when you think you have a handle on it more fear rides in.
There could be an entire season dedicated to the topic of fear but for today we will talk about:
- Fear of Rejection
- Fraudulent Feelings
- Low Self-Worth
Fear is the most detrimental experience we can have. I know that's a bold statement but hear me out. Fear can manifest as so many things, even physical paralysis. That means you can think yourself into complete helplessness. Fear is also a control tactic. It's the one experience criminals use to control their victims. Fear has been used to control and manipulate populations. The thing all fear has in common is that it's an illusion. It's an irrational thought used to limit your experience.
Let me give you an example. I am a scuba diver. It's something me and my husband do when we travel. One time in Bali we went on a night dive, and I was terrified. I convinced myself that I was going to be eaten alive. Now I knew as a fact that there was nothing in the water to hurt me. That was just the part of Bali that we were in. And yet, I spent my entire dive and my oxygen tank freaking out. I was 100% sure in my mind that I was going to be attacked and it limited my experience. I could have explored beautiful night time sea animals and phosphorescent coral, but no, I was a mess swinging my head lamp around like a crazy person.
Now that is a simple example of what I mean by fear being an illusion, but hopefully you get my point. The only time fear is real and true is when you are in physical danger, the rest is a cruel trick.
Fear of Rejection
As a performer fear of rejection is something you have to deal with as a part of the lifestyle.
It might look like: "There's no way I can do that", "There will probably be too many people at that audition", "I'll never get seen, there's no point in going".
Your thoughts never actually say "I am afraid of being rejected" instead it creates all of the reasons why it would be better for you to stay at home.
The next time you are feeling hesitant or you are talking yourself out of going to an audition or dance class, look at what your actual thoughts are saying. See if you can identify what game fear is playing on you today.
I find that fear of rejection often arises when there are big stakes at bat. It comes up when you really want something or when you are ready to level up. If that's where you are at in your life/career know that those feelings of rejection are nipping at your heels to try and pull you down. Resist against it.
The best way I know to bitch slap this fear is to do it anyway. So what if you get typed out? So what if the audition is busy? So what to it all! Show up as your best self and find the truth. Find out if any of those fears are actually true. Maybe you are exactly what they are looking for. If you don't show up how will they ever find you?
Fraudulent feelings is a huge manifestation of fear. This is the "I'm not good enough" "Who will believe me?" "Why would anyone hire me to do this?"
Fraudulent feelings is how I most experience fear. Take for instance starting Balanced for Broadway. I wrote and struggled for months before summoning the courage to put this out there. I said "who's going to listen to me?" Now granted I have been in the healthy industry for 10 years, a yoga teacher for 5 years, and a performer always. Who am I to not teach this? It's like that famous quote from Marianne Williamson:
Why shouldn't I teach what I know? And you know what I am so glad I did because now we have a community of like minded performers who are looking to create their best work.
Fraudulent feelings usually rears its ugly head when you are about to take a leap of faith or try something new. Say you're usually a stage actor and you want to switch to film but have very little experience. Your fear might think: "Who's gonna believe I can do this?" or "Why would they hire me?" This is just fear trying to keep you playing small.
For me the best way to get over this was to get down to the truth. I have to lay out the facts to see if there was any rationality to what I was thinking. It find of feels like giving yourself a big ol' pep talk. Write down the reasons why you aren't a fraud. List your experience, your passion, your knowledge. Prove to yourself that you belong. Don't let fear convince you of anything else.
One of the nastiest forms of fear come in the form of low self worth. This is really a fear of success. Sometimes fear of success can get so heavy it often feels like depression. At its best it mimics complacency. You might have thoughts like: "Who will want me now?" "I don't even have anything to offer"
Fear like this usually shows up after a traumatic event. It could be a break up, getting fired or replaced at your job, or something more extreme like being bullied or belittled again and again.
It's not a good place to be in and really hard to get out of. Self doubt takes work. It takes therapy, self-help books, and/or the practice of changing your thoughts.
Know that fear is not real and you are worthy. India Arie said " You are worthy. Why? Because you exist"
Fear is always darkness. In fact think of fear as a dark room in your house. The more you ignore it the scarier it becomes. The longer it sits untouched the more fear based thoughts can collect. Don't ignore it, shine a light right into that dark room. Use the brightest light you have and shine it into the darkest corners.
Prove fear wrong!