Updated: Feb 9, 2021
I consider myself to be a strong woman. Most of the time. I have been through a lot, and I have always gotten back up after I fall. I work hard to learn what I can from my experiences and emotions. And overall, I am a happy person. I want to see the good in others.
And I strive to be the best version of myself.
I have always had this inside of me, and yet sometimes, I have felt weak, afraid, depressed and so many other emotions. There have been times I haven't felt strong. And when one or more of these emotions are with me, fear grabs a hold of me.
Recently, I spiraled after having a discussion with someone. I allowed doubt and fear to weave their ways into my thinking. All of a sudden, I found myself crying. I wasn't sure what had happened that triggered me, but I knew I didn't feel right. And I wanted to hide away from everyone and everything.
I needed to process what was happening inside of me.
What was I feeling? I was feeling angry. Sad. Defeated. Hurt. Alone. Insecure. Depressed.... and I couldn't really figure out why. So I journaled about it. I often do this when I am processing my emotions. I think of it as having a conversation with my soul. I quickly write down thoughts as they come to my mind; My soul will ask what is wrong, and I will answer it. The questioning and answering flow quite rapidly.
It goes something like this:
What is going on Sarah?
---I am feeling so depressed. I can't stop crying.
Why are you feeling this way?
---I am not even sure. I just had a conversation that frustrated me. And after a while, I couldn't even hear what they were saying anymore. I just heard the voices in my brain screaming out and I froze. I couldn't move.
What were the voices saying?
---They were saying that I am not enough. That what I do doesn't matter. That nobody cares. That I think it does, but it doesn't. And I am just a fool.
Those are not very nice words.
---I know. I hate myself when I hear those voices.
Do you believe what those voices were saying?
---Because I am afraid.
What are you afraid of?
---I am afraid of not being good enough. I am afraid that what I do won't matter. I am afraid that nobody cares. I am afraid that I am just a fool.
Do you really think that way about yourself, Sarah?
---Not most of the time. But during this time I did. I couldn't think anything else. I tried to, but the other voices were so loud.
Sarah- take a deep breath in. Hold it. Now breathe it out. Who is saying those things to you?
---I don't know. Something inside of me. Fear and doubt maybe?
OK, so fear and doubt are telling you that you pretty much suck and there is no purpose in your life. Right?
---Yes. Pretty much.
And why do you think they tell you those things?
---I heard somewhere before that fear is there to protect you from being hurt.
Do you believe that?
---It makes sense. Fear is protective. It is screaming out to help you from being put in a position where you could get hurt. It is helping you survive, in the safest way it knows how.
Ok- so fear is there to protect you. Do you think it is helping you?
---Well, not really. It is making it so I don't do anything.
Is that what you want?
Ok, so maybe it's time you have a heart to heart with your old friend Fear. Say something like "Fear, thank you for being in my life. Thank you for working so hard to protect me from failure. I know you are doing what you are meant to be doing. But it is time I do what I am meant to be doing. I know you are going to be with me throughout this journey. But I am not going to let you lead the way for me. I have to take chances. I have to do hard things. I love you. And thank you. But now it's my time. So please, keep it down a little so I can focus on what I can do to make a difference."
---Yah-I can do that. What about doubt?
Do you still feel doubt after talking to fear?
---Not as much.
Ok, let's start with that...
I write and write until I feel better. And it works. I come out of this experience with a better understanding of myself, and what is bothering me, and I can to breathe again. I love the process. It allows me to have a conversation with my deeper self; where I know the answers are waiting...it's just hard to hear them when I am listening to all the other voices of doubt and fear.
This conversation, allows me to be completely honest, vulnerable, and open.
It is deeply personal. And deeply freeing.
I recommend this to my clients;
Get a journal or notebook, specifically to use for your conversations with your soul. When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by something, take a few minutes to write down this process of questioning and answering. Write down the questions and the answers as they come to your mind. Allow yourself to be open to honesty and non-judgment.
Love yourself. Forgive yourself. And breathe.
Before I had processed the conversation from above, and what I was feeling, I sat with this feeling of depression. I pondered and continued to dig down why I was feeling all those emotions. And I felt them.
Feeling the emotions isn't always easy. I know it's important. And processing these emotions will sometimes take a little time. For me, this time, it took about three days. The first day, I sat in depression, as I listened to the voices. Then I started my conversation journaling. On the second day, I felt a little better, but there was still something lingering there. A sunken feeling of doubt in myself. I tried sitting at my piano but felt angry even then. By the third day, I was able to breathe more deeply. I could start seeing through the darkness again. I could start hearing my inner motivational speaker coming through. My doubt and fear weren't helping me accomplish anything and in the end, I just got tired of hearing them. So I stopped listening.
Doubt and fear are real. They will continue to be a part of us. Generally, what they are saying is done to protect us from failure and embarrassment. They aren't the bad guys. They are just the parts of us that want to protect us. Just like a mother that surrounds her newly standing toddler, with a bunch of pillows, so that when the toddler falls, it won't hurt as much. But the truth is, the fall will probably still hurt. The padding isn't always going to make it easier. Just a little softer.
Doubt and fear are like these pillows. They are trying to make your life more comfortable, and not hurt so much. However, when fear and doubt show themselves, sometimes your reaction to them actually stops you from progressing in the way you need to go. That is why it is so important to process them. Feel them. Honor them. Then move them aside so you can get back to work.
As you can become more mindful of this, it will get easier to process.
You are a vessel of strength, inner light, and beauty. You are capable of so much.
If doubt and fear were not holding you back, what would you do? What would you pursue? What would you get done?