Fear is an interesting “concept”.  There is a part of it that’s very real.  It’s biological role is to keep us alive.  Our brain scans the world around us for threats so it can mobilise all necessary impulses and signals to keep us on guard and alive.  However, those threats have changed over time.  No longer are they about wild animals and other tribes (although some might say this is still the case).  Nowadays, these threats come in the shape of machines, computers, and other inventions of the modern world, as well as the speed of change and how we cope with that.

tiger threat

As humans, we recognise five key areas that our brain considers as threats in our world:

  • Threats to our status (where we consider ourselves in the pecking order)
  • Threats to our certainty (where our brain likes to predict what will happen next)
  • Threats to our autonomy (where we like to have choices to make)
  • Threats to our relatedness (where we want to fit in and be part of the system)
  • Threats to our sense of fairness (where universal justice and balance needs to prevail)

Let’s take a look at the one to do with “relatedness” in more detail as this focuses on how we interact with each other and has been shown as one of the key triggers in our overall humanness and ability to function within society.

2 Fears that Stop Everyone

While the threats may have changed over the last decades and centuries, the human being hasn’t evolved quite as quickly.  Just like in tribal times, we humans have two core fears that begin to dictate our choices and behaviours:

  1. We’re not enough
  2. We won’t be loved

And these fears are real.  You just have to read the celebrity press where we see that no matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how lucky you’ve been, we all live these fears.  Or you can take a trip to your local park/playground and listen to how the children are interacting with each other to see how these fears gestate from very early on.

We do things and say things because we want to be enough in the eyes of those around us.  We want to secure their love and we do so often at the cost of ourselves.  We sink into patterns of self-destructive behaviour and addiction in our quest to be enough, or to comfort ourselves when we feel we’ve failed at being enough or that we are worthy of love.

So what can we do to improve our chances of managing our fears and having more control over them?

3 Ways to Break Through Your Fears

There are 3 things you can think about when it comes to managing your fears of not being enough or not being loved.  Notice I use the word “manage” here.  I’m not going to pretend that you can eliminate your fears.  Fear holds an important role in your life.  However, many of our fears are self-inflicted and thus need to be managed and minimised for us to lead a more fulfilling life.  Here’s some tips:

1. Find a strategy that someone else is using well and copy it.

Fear of not being enough, or not being loved touches everyone.  Some people just seem to manage it better than others.  Success leaves clues.  Look for the clues and copy what others are doing.  It might be someone you know from work, a friend of yours, someone in a group you are part of.  Take the opportunity to talk to others about how they manage their thoughts and beliefs about themselves.

2. Change Your Story

How long have you been telling yourself that it was the bullying, or that thing that happened to you, or someone else’s fault and that’s why you are not enough or lovable?  How long have you been the victim of your life?  Honestly.

What’s the real truth?  How long have you chosen to believe you are unworthy?  Allowed yourself to be abused physically or mentally because you won’t be loved otherwise?  How long have you allowed the other person to hold power over you long after they should?

What would happen if you changed the story? What if that bullying was more to do with that little girl suffering the effect of her parent’s nasty divorce, rather than anything to do with you?  What if that redundancy was actually the best thing that ever happened to you because it allowed you to start something new?  What if your parents just didn’t know how to love you with all their hearts, unconditionally, and therefore made you work for their love?

Think about what your real story is.  What you want it to be.  Think back to your childhood with your adult rationality and understanding of why people do the things they do.  Change your story to be something that works better for you.

3.  Change Your State

When you first start dating someone, you give compliments, give your time, give your patience, and you find pleasure in the giving as much as you do the receiving.  After time, you start keeping score, you only give when you get.  You have changed your state.  You have moved to the land of entitlement.  This happens in your relationships, your job, and your world around you.

Your emotions are energy in motion (e-motion).  When you change your posture, your movements, and your expressions, you change your state, which changes your fate.  Obesity is a symptom of people’s emotions.  Alcoholism can often be a symptom of depression.  Sports teams psych themselves up before games and matches for a reason – they need to get into the win mindset to have any chance in winning.

What do you have to do to change your state and resulting fate?

My Journey

I was bullied for many years while growing up and allowed myself to believe the bullies were right to do so.  It was only after starting my coach training and getting coached myself in my late 20’s that I realised I needed to change my story.  The bullying was nothing to do with me.  That little girl who started it so many years ago was the victim of a horrible divorce.  I didn’t even know what divorce was in those days, never mind understand the effect it was having on her.  And she had to unleash her anger energy somewhere, and unfortunately chose me.

So I changed my story.  I don’t need it validated by her because she doesn’t have that power over me.  I’m grown up now and I get to choose what my experiences mean to me.  And through changing my story, I changed my state.  I am no longer the victim of bullying.  I am someone who lived with a bullying experience that affected some of the key years of my life and taught me many different things about myself.  And now I am someone who won’t allow people around me to be bullied in the workplace.  And so I will work to help them find the courage in their very real situation to turn it around and find their voice and their new story.

If anything I have written here resonates with you, contact me to learn more about how coaching can help you and to set up your 1-hour free session before making any commitments.


Photo credit: Claudio Gennari …”Cogli l’attimo ferma il tempo” / Foter /CC BY