We’re all afraid of something– spiders, heights, snakes, horror movies, dogs. There are certainly some genuine, serious phobias– but that’s not what this post is about today. Today’s blog is about fears that run emotionally deeper than worrying whether or not I’ll find a spider in the neglected pile of cardboard boxes in my garage.
What do I mean by ’emotionally deeper’ fears?
Let’s take an example—
A well-educated and professionally experienced woman in her mid-forties decides to strike out on her own in business. She’s naturally an introvert and always feels awkward in social situations, so she finds that attending networking lunches and meetings is too taxing for her to do regularly. As a result, she never makes the business connections she needs to move her business forward, and she struggles to try and make a profit as a result.
What’s holding her back? Fear. She could be afraid of being rejected, which is what contributes to her feelings of being socially awkward in large meetings of people she doesn’t know well. She could also be afraid of being judged by the other related professionals in the meeting (“she’s brand new at business, she doesn’t know anything, she’s inexperienced, etc.”). Or maybe, on an even deeper level, she’s afraid of failure (“what if this business totally flops?”).
We all have those deeper fears. The tip-off is when we feel resistance to do something (like the woman above, she didn’t want to go to the networking lunches). When we feel that resistance or hesitation, that’s our cue to ask ourselves what we’re really afraid of in the particular situation we’re facing. What is that fear of rejection/judgement/failure/whatever really all about? That’s the issue that needs addressing. And once we figure that out and deal with it– we can move on.
A few practical suggestions for working through those fears:
- journaling about it
- talking it out with a trusted friend or mental health professional
- meditating on it
Sometimes simply identifying the underlying issue can go a long way towards alleviating the fear (“oh, I’m resisting attending that networking lunch because I’m worried they’ll think I’m not experienced enough to have my own business, but I know I’ve got 20 years of experience and the education to back it up!”).
Fear doesn’t have to paralyze you! You can take steps to minimize it and move forward to live a fuller life.
If you’re curious about how music therapy and GIM might help, contact me anytime. I’m always happy to answer questions!