“Courage is resistance to fear, not absence of fear.” -Mark Twain
Fear, it can be debilitating. It can keep us from ever changing, growing and becoming who we were meant to be. Fear keeps us stuck. It’s a painful emotion that stems from the belief that some thing or action is going to cause us pain or discomfort.
No one wants to feel pain or discomfort, but what happens when doing nothing, ie staying where you are, is causing you more pain and more discomfort, than what we fear most? This is the case when we stay in relationships that we know are harmful to our well-being.
At some point we are going to have to choose and this goes for everything in life. Do we stay on the cliff, being afraid to leap, watching others soar by us, or do we summon up our courage and jump? If you have moments where you are thinking there has got to be more to life than this? You’re right – there is and that is the universe giving you a nudge. If you are waking up every day beside a partner that is toxic to you, going to a job you hate and living pay check to pay check – that’s not living – that’s existing and you were not put here to merely exist through life. You were put here to explore, learn, grow and discover who you really are and what your purpose and special gifts are. That’s why you’re here, not to serve others, not to be somebody’s punching bag, not to support or take care of other people, when it’s a detriment to yourself. You were put on this earth to solve the mystery of you – not to be a slave to someone else’s drama.
How do I be me? How do I find my authentic self? What is my purpose? What are my special gifts? These are questions that we all have to figure out ourselves, but I can tell you that to answer those questions you first have to start by healing that which is wounded inside of you. We have to deprogram that dysfunctional tape that keeps us stuck on a feedback loop, we have to learn healthier ways to cope and communicate and we have to learn how to master our thoughts and emotions so that they don’t control us.
Oprah has said that, “Our lives are always speaking to us.” The problem for most codependents is that we’ve stopped being able to hear. Part of our survival in childhood was based on how well we learned to tune out our needs and feelings. Part of our recovery must be to relearn how to pay attention to the cues we get from the universe.
At this stage of my life I am amazed at just how much guidance we actually do receive. Sometimes things come out of nowhere and it’s the exact thing I need at that moment. It’s an answer to a question I’ve been trying to figure out, or a sign of which way to go. Skeptics will call all these things coincidental, but Wayne Dyer said it best, “For those who believe no words are necessary and for those who don’t no words will do.”
We tackle our fears by moving closer to them. Like Pema Chodron tells us to in, When Things Fall Apart, we have to get comfortable with what scares us. We need to move closer to it, bask in it. A thing is impossible only until it is not. Taking action is terrifying until you take it.
A psychologist dealing with a patient who has an irrational fear of water will have their patient take small steps, like going to the shore of a lake and just sitting there and waiting for the fear to subside. In subsequent visits they will have their patient dip their toe in, next they’ll go knee deep until eventually they get all the way in. This is how we deal with what scares us.
Being outside of our comfort zone is where life is. That’s when all of our senses are on high alert and we are living each day fully in the moment. We were all meant to live full, rich, happy, abundant lives. We all deserve that and if you are not, you have a choice to make. Am I going to continue to exist or am I going to jump?
Keep in mind that jumping comes with a disclaimer. Baby birds don’t get thrown out of the nest and spread their wings and fly right out of the gate. No, they may hit every branch or rock on the way down. They may feel broken and bloodied and terrified lying in a heap at the bottom, but eventually they find their wings and they take off.
You can always play it safe up there in your nest. Never venturing out, never knowing what the world has in store for you, or you can summon up your courage and take that leap. Taking that leap of faith comes with a knowing that the universe will always be there to catch you. I can remember being in that place where I had no one, no parents, no spouse, no home, no job, no car, nothing but my fear. My dear, devout friend Nikos saw me struggling and said to me, “God takes care of the birds and the bees, what makes you think he won’t take care of you?”
I can’t tell you the number of people who have found success in their lives because they really had no other option but to succeed. Necessity isn’t only the mother of invention it’s the mother of success, autonomy, resourcefulness, focus and desire. It pulls from us all of those amazing qualities we never knew were within us.
If you jump and do what you have never done before, know that it won’t be easy, but eventually you will soar higher than you ever thought possible. You just have to decide that you want to and that you deserve to be happy and successful. Do it. Look out over that ledge of fear, spread your wings and fly.
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I wonder how I missed this post. Fear…it’s a terrible thing and kept me stuck in a loveless marriage for as far back as I can remember. In 2010 I took the plunge and initiated the divorce he had been holding me hostage with for years. I wasn’t prepared for the loneliness, the in-laws abandonment, friends and the spite and lies, which spewed forth from my ex. His mean attempts to manipulate my children in such a way he hoped to turn them against me. Naively I leapt into more of the same but far less subtle and very cruel. I was left an empty shell. Also naively/stupidly or fearfully I have been trying to keep a friendly relationship going with my ex. For the sake of the offspring/family I argue. But actually, It’s because I Don’t want to admit that I have wasted my life with someone who is incapable of loving others properly. That it was all a sham. I Don’t think it was, I believe It’s just his way of being and once I spotted some of his manoeuvres I stopped paying his game. This was when our marriage was over, it was no longer interesting to him and I didn’t want to continue my life with him. As I have no parents living and no partner, he is the one that knows me best in the whole world and like others I feel the need for that ‘important’ person in my life. Therefore, I haven’t cut ties, have I? Still being co-dependant. Why? Fear of being totally alone. Silly really as he stabs me in the back whenever it suits him. I understand what you mean by finding your authentic self but believe that will come as we face our demons and put them to rest. Still working on them as I find my courage…
There is no worse hell than to be with someone who devalues you. There is so much LIFE to be lived! I promise you all reading this- being alone is way better than being miserable in a toxic relationship. Please, know: you CAN do it, you CAN be strong enough to get past the pain of leaving and being alone. Face your fears, your inner demons, and you will see them vanish in the light of your awareness and love. Love yourself- take all that love your captor shits on, and give it to yourself. There is no sweeter victory, no better prize than your own freedom. You can do it.
Brilliant post – will print this out and put it somewhere I can read it every day. Thank you x
Thanks for this timely article.I always look forward to mondays because i know you will send just what i need.I am still dealing with this fear after separating from my narcist husband last year.I have been through so many firsts in that one year but its like the whole of last year i was only drifting through life.I kept breaking my no contact coz i was scared of being alone.This year am purposed to face my fears and allow God through the universe to take care of and give me a new start.Tommorrow am leaving for a conference in another psrt of the country.This is the first time he will not drop me or do the bookings fof me.The first time he will not interrupt me with calls throughout the night.The first time ………of quite a number of things in my journey of finding me.Am growing through this scaring expdrience as i get closer to my fear face them and dare them……
One thing I learned is, the universe does not propel you forward until you are determined to fly! Great article, great reminders. Going through fear on the job front, I keep reminding myself that whatever scares me the most and has the greatest potential, will be the most rewarding. 2 years divorced, 3 years separated….fear, confusion, doubt, relief, and pure joy, went through all of it.looks, sometimes still do. These lessons are good for a lifetime. It always comes back to, I’m I being true to me? What is my happiness? It’s ok to keep ourselves happy and healthy. Thank you Savannah for your dedication to helping others heal and see their best future.
Spot on… so powerful. This article is my sign from the universe. I am getting ready to go on a trip to face some of my fears and I was second guessing my decision and asked the universe for a sign. This article is very serendipity.
Thank you Savannah!
Did you go? How was it?
So much needed uplift!!! I am still hurting, sometimes hardly and sometimes a lot. I do understand that it is up to me to end this vicious cycle of self-torturing myself but I still struggle to put this belief in life. But soon the time will be on my side. It is still fresh and it still first Xmas alone, first Easter alone, and there will be first summer alone, and then there will be no more first alone. Right now all these moment catch me like a sneaky mosquito that bites and there is this incessant itch for a while. Where this mosquito idea coming from??? LOL Gee…!!! I am ready for the summer!
You are so right that it is fear that holds us back. Keeps us stuck. Keeps us from moving forward. Like you, I realized that my fear response, whose purpose is to protect me, had gotten far too big and pervasive. I realized this when the terror of being alone kept me in my relationship with a narcissist who was actively devaluing me, obviously and blatantly intriguing with lots of other men and putting me on the shelf to take down when she was bored or nothing else was brewing.
I had to really come right up to that fear of being alone, invite it in, so to speak, in order to start working on it, so I could move on from the N torture. What came to me as I did this (with the help of a therapist) was a childhood memory of abandonment so painful I almost couldn’t breathe when I really allowed myself to feel it. I wrote about it at the time, and also wrote about that fierce “life force” that I was forced to draw on and that pushed me through it, just as you say it does when we make that leap into what we fear:
I can’t breathe
I am suffocating
I am afraid: it is so dark,
and I am alone.
No one will help me,
I am small and weak
afraid and alone;
I am falling,
there is no one to catch me
in the dark.
*Stop.* *No.* *I am strong.*
I will fight this fear,
Like an angry snarling creature I will fight;
I will scratch and claw the fear away,
powered by my strong, fiery heart
fire of heart and passion.
I will keep my eye on
the wide horizon
and never on the long way down.
Oh God, light a fire within me,
sharpen my claws, help me to fight this fear.
Your strength gives me courage,
is my greatest strength.
Right around the time I wrote this I started to realize that I could do it and I did not need to be stuck anymore.
As so many of us have discovered, the only way out of my fear was to go through it. Thanks for the reminder of where I was, and the reminder to be grateful that I was able to move on from there.
Hurtin’ Cowboy [not hurtin’ anymore]
It feels like this article was written with me in mind. I’m pinning it, so I can read it again and again. Thanks so much.
I have so much empathy for what you went through in the past. Yet, I am so very grateful through that pain you found your true self. You have helped me immensely this last year. I went through the whole devalueing and degrading process with my ex narc. We were divorced last year. We have an amazing son together so I still have to deal with him.
However, like you this pain and absolute rock bottom opened the world for me. It led me to so many different paths I am extremely grateful for the hell I endured.
Yes, the universe is always working for us. Often times your blog comes in my email at the exact time I need it. Cause in point this one today. I’ve bee. Struggling with my fear to trust again. I was thinking about your words from a previous post you had. What you miss out on when you don’t allow someone to get close. Then today I receive your email. The universe is smiling on us and paying attention to our intentions and thoughts. Your right it has our back and will take care of us when we take that leap.
As always thank you for your words. You truly are a wonderful gift
I’m stuck.. just stuck! I read this and cry. I’ve been stuck for years now. And my fear of having no family and no really good base of friends to be my network continuously leaves me stuck. I live with a man who if he does speak to me it typically is at me or down to me. I am bitter and callused and lonely and stuck. I know deep within it isn’t a matter of if I do but when I do leave. I am just very fearful of the grass not being any greener on the other side and being alone on the other side. Depression alone, I saw it take my brother a year ago. My stagnate life provides me time to soul search. I don’t want to act on haste and find myself in a darker place than I am now. So, fear also speaks as much as life. Only time knows which side of the grass I will end up on.
I am kinda in the same situation,bur what it stops me is not because I have no one to ask for help. I have my family but I don’t want to ask for help. I tell myself this is the meal you cooked for yourself and now you have to finish it by yourself. I am punishing myself because I moved from my own country to England to live with the narc despite I knew he was a narcissist and he was already made my life a hell and he was going to copletely ruin my life. And he did thanks to me thanks to him. I guess I am suing myself as a lab mice for this experiment! And one more thing the thing that in reality stopps me from running away from this beast is that I know when I am gone I will miss him badly , I will cry my eyes out… I know all that and this not because he is such a fantastic person, its because the first images I have from him the images that hit my heart and made me to fall for him. Sometimes I laugh because I know exactly what is going on , Like you say when talks he talks at me, sarcastic. down to me, respect less. But still I am using myself for this experiment as a lab mice. One day I will leave and hope that day will arrive soon. But right now I am dependent on him economicoly I am isolated from my kids , my family my friends. And besides he actually been unfaithful to me since I moved here a year ago!!! GOD what the hell is going on with us women in the chain of the devil!!!
Its very difficult to get off a loop and deprogramme ..its a lifetimes’s work trying to separate out childhood patterns that keep us stuck and socially isolated I am still working on those dynamics in my sixties and feel very cheated and upset by theses circumstances..everything I set up as a relationship lets me down …I am still living alone giving to society without
anything emotional every coming
back to me …unfortunately there are no glib answers to this recurring theme ..I have tried many therapies ,psychotherapy, rebirthing , hypnotherapy …nothing gets to the root cause .. I feel totally unsupported in life as this was my childhood patterning
Thanks for the confirmation that I need! I can feel my life taking off in the right direction. I finally broke off from negative relatives/people and doors are opening. I’m so thankful for your inspirational words.