I’ve spent the majority of my life afraid of rejection. I spent years trying to be what other people wanted and I landed at rock bottom I didn’t recognize myself, and fell into deep depression, drug addiction, eating disorders, and self sabotage. When I turned 27, I found myself crying desperately, shaking alone on a cold bathroom floor, and I realized I couldn’t live that way anymore.
Fear and worry cast a shadow over our actions, defeating us before we even start.
For the first time, rather than asking what the world wanted of me, I asked myself what I wanted. Who I wanted to be.
I left my corporate job in advertising to become a writer. I spent five years traveling, visiting meditation retreats, meeting gurus, all in the pursuit of happiness. What I learned is that happiness is not a pursuit but a practice.
Like yoga or healthy eating or quality time with family, happiness is an endeavor that requires consistent attention. By showing up to your happiness practice, you're choosing yourself. You're saying you matter.
It was only through self-reflection that I recognized fear as the source of my depression. Then, I was I able to work through it and heal the root cause. Rather than spend your life guided by fear, recognize yours, face it, and free yourself to live a more fulfilling, authentic life. Here are some of the most common, most destructive fears we face, a description of the root cause, and a mantra to help you overcome them.
Fear of Failure
Many people who are afraid of failure are achievement junkies who lack confidence. They try to prove their worth through their achievements. At one point in their lives, most people who fear failure felt alienated or left out and turned to productive means of achieving and winning to prove their worth.
Fear fix: Instead of focusing on the outcome you want to avoid, turn your attention to what you do want. Focus fully on the positive aspects of your life. You don’t have to work so hard to prove anything to anyone, because you belong in the world just as you are. Give yourself permission to be you and celebrate the good things in your life.
Mantra: "I am enough as I am, there is nothing to prove."
Fear of the unknown
A person who fears the unknown will stay in a job they hate, a relationship that has expired, or other situations that do not serve them because the unknown is terrifying. Security and protection will always trump happiness. If we peel back the layers of the person who fears the unknown, we will see uncertainty and lack of control.
Fear Fix: Recognize that all setbacks in life are miracles in disguise. Things that feel like problems or barriers are really pathways to revelation. Trust that your future self is guiding you to a better situation.
Mantra: “I am willing to live my life in new ways, I am open to my personal growth and expansion."
Fear of Change
People who fear change will focus their attention on the past instead of being in the present or planning for the future, causing them to miss out on countless opportunities. The person who fears change is really suffering from a lack of trust in the universe. They fear they won’t be supported through the transition.
Fear fix: Act on create the outcome you desire. This will empower you and help build confidence through the transition.
Mantra: “I am surrounded by support and love. All of my needs are met now and always."
These insights are excerpted from the author's new book, Adventures for Your Soul.