Got a fear that’s nagging you? Try this.
Wow, what a past few months it’s been!
I want to thank you for bearing with me. I haven’t been able to blog as regularly as I would’ve liked this summer. I’ve devoted the majority of my time and energy to writing (and publishing!) my second novel, Lavender in Bloom.
Now that I’ve finally brought it into the world, I can focus on some of the other things that I’m passionate about, which include sharing insights and inspiration with others to help them live a more fulfilling life! :)That said, you’ll hear from me more regularly moving forward.
And today I’ve got a pretty good topic to discuss. It’s about fear.
If you’re a living breathing human being, chances are there’s something that you’re afraid of.
I’m not talking about monsters under the bed or anything like that. I’m talking about every-day fears, things like moving to a new city, changing jobs, putting yourself out there for a new relationship, having an important conversation with a loved one, beginning a brand new career, etc.
These aren’t the BIG fears like public speaking or death, but interestingly enough, they can turn out to be the ones that keep us playing small and stuck in a life that doesn’t excite us.
As a novelist, one of my fears is always how people will receive my stories. It’s an incredibly scary thing to put a new work out there, because the fact of the matter is everyone’s tastes are different. In fact, if you were to look up some of the greatest pieces of literature of all time on Amazon right now, you’ll find people who gave even those works 1-star reviews! (Yes, even Pride and Prejudice has 1-star reviews… I know, how insane!)
In addition to this truth is also the reality that people aren’t always kind in their ‘dislike’ of your work. Again, check out any of the 1-star reviews on Amazon for your favorite book, and you’ll find people who just cruelly tear it to shreds.
Any writer knows how much it hurts to read reviews like this, but as a highly sensitive person, it’s especially painful to me. All an artist wants to do is create something that other people will love, that will resonate with others, that will move them.
So again, it was pretty scary to put my second novel out there, and I was already dreading receiving reviews. The dread was so great, I started reading articles on how to thicken my skin so that I could endure such reviews.
That’s when I discovered this simple exercise.
Basically, I had to write down the comments I most feared reading in reviews. Then for each of those comments, I had to come up with a reason why it was irrelevant.
So for example, one fear might be that some readers wouldn’t like the pacing of the story. Why is this irrelevant? Because the work is meant to be literary in nature, and books in this genre are known to be more character-driven and have a slower pace. They’re not thrillers like a crime novel would be, and the stories tend to be more about the characters’ relationships with each other and internal journey than about a plot.
So if someone didn’t like the pacing, it probably just means they’re not a fan of literary fiction, which is totally okay. I don’t have to take their review to heart because they don’t fall within my target audience, so to speak.
Completing this exercise was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done and it really can be applied to any area of life!
Let’s say you’re afraid of moving because you’re worried you might not like the new place. Why is this irrelevant? One reason might be because you can always just move again – it’s not as if your permanent address has to be set in stone.
Maybe you’re afraid of having an important conversation with a loved one because you’re afraid there’ll be tension in the air. Why is this irrelevant? It may be a hard conversation to have, but it’ll most likely be harder keeping it in. Besides, honest conversations tend to allow relationships to evolve to the next level.
One more: let’s say you’re afraid of applying to a job that interests you because you’re worried you don’t have the qualifications. Why is this fear irrelevant? Well, for one, it doesn’t set you back or hurt you in any way to just apply. Worst case scenario is you don’t hear back. But even then, the act of simply applying has most likely boosted your confidence so that you’re now applying to other opportunities as well as well and giving yourself more of a chance of nailing a new job.
So today I want to encourage you to grab a piece of paper or open a Word document on your computer, and write down all the fears that are nagging at you at the moment. Then for each one, come up with a reason why it’s irrelevant and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
When we do this, we realize just how small (and often silly) our fears are, and we empower ourselves by realizing that we’re bigger than our fears and won’t be held back by them. 🙂