How to Befriend Your Big Scary Monster (And Get Past Him)
So I thought I’d kick off the Big Scary Monster series with some tips on how to actually make friends with our big scary fears. Embracing our fear can seem like a weird thing to do, because aren’t fears something to be conquered?
Remember, fear is how our minds protect us from things that could potentially hurt us. What would happen if we weren’t afraid of anything? We wouldn’t last long, that’s for sure. We’d all be jumping off cliffs and quitting our day jobs before we even have a business plan or a book proposal.
On the other hands, my favorite quote about fear says it all:
“Fear is just excitement with the brakes on.” –Jessica Mullen
We feel fear when we’re about to do something amazing, but potentially unsafe, stepping into the unknown. Whether we’re launching a new business, sending our creations into the world to be looked at, trying a new dance class or just learning to feel our emotions without eating them, we feel fear because we’re moving into an unknown space, and our Big Scary Monster is there to protect us.
Here’s a few tips for giving that monster a big hug and then passing through him:
- Recognize your monster: Understand that he’s only there to take care of you. Thank him for doing so and move on.
- Ask him what he’s protecting you from: Vulnerability, rejection, physical injury, uncomfortable emotions. What are you really afraid of? Of marketing your jewelry line, or of opening yourself to rejection?
- Develop a solid base of self-love: Though this can take years, I find that it’s the best cushion for taking a big leap. If you fail, do something stupid, totally screw up, you still love yourself and know of your own worth, whether your book gets published or not, whether you stuff down your emotions with a package of Oreos or not. Give yourself a hug and know you’re ok.
- Baby steps: Instead of showing your monster who’s boss and launching a massive marketing campaign for your knitwear line in one day, take baby steps. Create a blog or webpage. Set up a Twitter or Facebook account. Get on Etsy. No need to do all that in one day and then travel the country promoting yourself, just stretch a little here and there until the previously unknown becomes familiar territory.