Facing Your Fears

Facing Your Fears

Every one of us has fears that hold us back, some fears may be small while others may be big. No matter what fears we have, they hold us back from things we want to accomplish, people we want to be or a life we want to have. Some fears excite us, like jumping out of an airplane or riding on a rollercoaster, while other fears terrify us, like applying for that job you think you are unqualified for or entering into a new relationship worried you’ll be left heartbroken again. No matter the fear, we experience them throughout our lives.


Fears aren’t necessarily a bad thing; most times fear is there to tell us this is something we are interested in; this is something we want but we are unsure of the outcome. It’s our bodies way of being cautious and protecting us from any potential negative outcome. Fear comes from memories of negative past experiences mixed with the unknown of the future. As our mind processes the situation it ignites emotions based off what it thinks the outcome will be. If you are entering a happy, exciting situation because past experiences were positive, your body will ignite similar positive emotions, but when you enter a situation where past experiences were negative, your body will ignite similar negative emotions. Even if the situation is different from past experiences, if there are any similarities to what you have experienced in the past, your body will jump into protection mode and ignite fear.


Fear is something that holds many of us back in many areas of our lives without us even realizing it. Unless we stay conscious and stay aware of all of the thoughts we are having, we go into an autopilot state and let our minds wander into our subconscious thoughts, letting all of those negative thoughts run wild. A quick little fact about thoughts you might not have known, the average person has roughly 60,000 thoughts per day... PER DAY! I bet you had a quick thought before reading that line that you were conscious of all of your thoughts. Don’t worry I had the same thought until I read that statistic. So, with having roughly 60,000 thoughts per day, most of us are running on autopilot allowing many of our thoughts to come and go with little to no awareness. Think about driving, I know most of you have had a time or two where you started driving to a destination and by the time you got there you had no recollection of the drive. You were subconsciously in your thoughts as you drove that drive. That type of situation happens often throughout your day, those thoughts run wild.


Since we are running on autopilot, we are allowing our subconscious mind to take the lead. We allow those deeper more traumatic thoughts that are stored in our subconscious mind to take over and run our lives. This is where we end up with behaviours like self-sabotage, doubt, procrastination and playing it safe. When we allow those thoughts that steam from past negative experiences to guide our lives, we end up with more fear, anxiety, frustration, sadness and other negative emotions, we allow our past experiences to dictate our current and future outcomes without even being fully aware of it. I am guilty of this, even though I am becoming more aware of how my past affects my current life as I am healing, I still have moments where I let my fears hold me back. It can be hard at times to push through the fears you have, especially if the fear is a big one.


Since Wes’s death I have healed a lot, I have spent a lot of time alone working through the pain and trauma that surfaced after his death. As I worked through my past, I found myself facing many fears, fears of parenting alone, fears of being by myself, fears of a new relationship, fears of navigating life on my own, fears of Aubrey and how her grief will affect her as she grows up. I found myself constantly facing new fears as I healed and continued experiencing life. Some of the fears I was up against were easier to let go of as I started building this new part of my life, but others were there hanging on by a death grip.


As I worked through my healing, I found myself moving forward little by little, I was releasing some parts of my past while accepting other parts. Slowly I was building this new life I was dreaming of and letting go of some of my fears. Then all of the sudden I hit a point where I felt stuck, I felt like time in a way was standing still for me. It felt as though the world was continuing to move forward but I was stuck where I was. I felt like I was living the same day over and over again with no desire to move forward. I had been doing so well moving forward and releasing past situations, but then all of the sudden I hit this wall. I struggled for some time with this, feeling like I wanted to continue moving forward but not knowing how to and also not wanting to. I felt like my current life and my own self was holding me back from going after the life I wanted, like they both didn’t want me to be happy. I struggled day after day trying to get to the life that I was dreaming of, the hobbies, the trips, the relationships, the experiences but every time I would start to make it happen, I would be faced with some type of setback.


I couldn’t figure out what was happening, why I was struggling to move forward. I was tired of being held in the past, I wanted to break free and move on with my life. Then one day as I was sitting on my couch it hit me, I was still operating mainly as my old self. Even though I was healing and releasing some of my past I was still operating in ways as though I was still the Tayler that was a wife, a parent with a partner, someone who didn’t have intense grief and someone who wasn’t tackling everything on their own. Even though physically I wasn’t that Tayler anymore, I still had old habits I was operating by. I knew I had to let go of that old version of me in order to fully step into this life I was building. So, I started trying to release that old self, but very quickly as I tried to embrace this new version of me, I found myself hitting yet another a wall. As I tried to step into this new version I felt as though I couldn’t reach her. I was stuck between fully letting go of my past self and fully embracing my new self, I was stuck in limbo between who I was and who I was becoming.


As I continued to try and embrace the new me, I started to realize that I wasn’t really stepping into this new life I was trying to create. I had all of these dreams but I was only taking small steps to get there, I was playing it safe. The reason I was stuck in limbo was because I wasn’t going after the dreams that scared me, I left those dreams on the back burner for a later date. The problem with that was that most of my dreams for my new life were scary, I was creating a bunch of firsts for myself and all at once, I was creating a new life basically from scratch. Once I understood that the reason, I couldn’t fully reach this new version of me was because I wasn’t going after all the things she dreamed of, was the turning point in my journey.  I knew the only way to reach my new self, was to face my fears head on. I had to start going after what I wanted even if that meant risking getting hurt, being rejected or things falling apart. I had to take risks to open new doors and give myself the chance at the life I was dreaming of.


So that is what I did, I started by writing down the life that I dreamed of for myself and for Aubrey. I wrote down all that I wanted to be and everything I wanted to do. Then little by little I started facing my fears one at a time. I had to start off slow so I didn’t overwhelm my body, I had to take it one step at a time and allow my body to feel safe as I made all of these changes. At times I faced resistance as I tried new hobbies or explored new experiences, while other times I had feelings of excitement and freedom as I created new opportunities for myself. As I did this, I felt the wall slowly coming down, I found my life starting to shape in ways that I was dreaming, I was starting to feel like all the hard work I had been doing was finally paying off.


It was exciting to finally be heading in the right direction again, embracing all that life was throwing my way. But even though my life was heading in the right direction and I was taking the right steps to get there, I still found myself having a bit of resistance. I was doing little things to build this life I wanted but I was still feeling like something was off. As I was enjoying this new life, I was still trying to figure out what was causing this feeling. I was doing much of what I wanted to do, so why was I still feeling held back in a way?


I continued on with embracing the new Tayler as I tried to figure out what I was missing. I thought that missing feeling was because I didn’t have a partner to share my life with, that I was held back because I was used to having someone to share life with but now I didn’t. But that couldn’t be it because I was doing so much on my own and enjoying it that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. Then I thought maybe it was because I was doing everything on my own and needed more time for myself, but that also didn’t seem accurate because I have built a great routine which has made the responsibilities seem easier to face and finding time for myself has been getting easier. As I continued to embrace this part of my life, I still tried to figure out what was causing this missing feeling.


Then in the middle of March I decided to do something I never thought I would do in a million years. On a whim I booked a 6-day trip to the Dominican with Aubrey. Just the 2 of us alone travelling to another country and one with a language barrier. For anyone who knows me, knows I have terrible travelling anxiety and normally in the past I would sit back and let who ever I was travelling with take the reins. This move was so out of character for me, I never would have booked a trip without thinking it through first and definitely not when it involved my daughter. When I called my family and told them what I had just done, everyone was so excited for me because they knew how much I have wanted to go away with Aubrey, but they were also just as worried because of my past traveling history, I mean understandably so.


If you are currently wondering why in the hell did I just book a trip by myself with a 3 year old when I have bad travelling anxiety? … your guess is as good as mine! I guess I really embodied the quotes “go big or go home”, “you only live once” or “I’ll worry about my decisions in the morning.” Whatever took over me was on a mission to accomplish something extravagant.


So, 9 days later Aubrey and I walked through the airport doors ready to start our vacation. Picture a young woman with 2 luggage’s, one in each hand, an overflowing backpack on her back and the look of fear plastered across her face. Next to her is the mini version of herself standing there with her little backpack on her back, sunglasses on, with a grin from ear to ear as she screams “WE ARE GOING ON AN AIRPLANE!!!!”. As Aubrey screamed and jumped with excitement, I took a deep breath, looked for the rights signs to follow and off we went. I knew I couldn’t turn back now; this trip was happening whether I was ready or not. So, after 3 different direction changes, the help of 2 airport staff, a lovely couple and an airline employee we made it to our first of many check points.


From start to finish the trip was amazing, we tackled every new moment head on like we were seasoned pros, we made beautiful memories that we will carry with us for a lifetime and we got to spend time together just the two of us embracing each new moment. Experiencing that trip was exactly what I needed, it put the final piece of that puzzle together in order for me to truly embrace the new Tayler. Coming back from that trip made me realize that in order to fully embrace this new version of me, I had to face my biggest fears, the ones that were attached to big dreams. This whole time I had been facing small fears one by one, but what my life was craving was the big changes like travelling with Aubrey. Those big changes were things the old Tayler would have never done, those fears would have stayed dormant for years. Since I was partly operating as my old self up until now, I was being held back from truly embracing all the dreams I have for this life I want to build. My life was forming in such amazing ways, but there were gaps because of the bigger fears I was too scared to tackle. I was holding myself back from truly building this beautiful life I dreamed of.


This trip taught me so much about myself that I didn’t know was there, it opened up a part of me that was held back by my fears. I came back with such a confidence towards life, ready for more. This trip made me realize that most times our fears hold us back from such beautiful experiences and connections. This experience showed me that fears are really just harmless coping mechanisms to keep us feeling safe, but the only thing our fears really do is hold us back from more doors being opened.


Now that I am back from my trip, I am ready to face more of my fears, I am ready to continue to go after the things I have been dreaming of so I can truly experience this life and all it has to offer.  Fears can be scary to face, especially our bigger ones. But fears aren’t a bad thing, they are there to tell us this is something I want I am just unsure of the outcome. The more you embrace those fears and slowly work through them, the more your life will open up in such beautiful ways. Once you start having positive experiences through a fear, your body stops seeing that experience as fearful and starts embracing it as exciting and safe.


One thing I’m starting to realize as I face my fears, is that we give our own meanings to our own fears based on what we have experienced. What you might see as a fear might not be a fear to someone else depending on what their past experiences have been. When I started to realize that I was giving my own meanings to my own fears based off of what had happened in the past, I started to then realize that I could change the meanings of those fears as I healed them. If I changed how I perceived my past experiences, then I could rewrite what my fears were going forward. Just because I experienced something in the past and gave it a specific meaning based off of what I thought happened, doesn’t mean I couldn’t go back and rewrite that meaning. As I healed my past experiences, I started taking a step back and viewing them from different points of view. I started seeing all side of the situation and took as much negative meaning out of it as I could. The more I lessened how negative an experience was, the less the fears became. Of course, some situations will be much more difficult to change, especially if they have been experiences that caused a lot of pain and trauma. But, if you start with smaller, less intense negative experiences, it will begin to help change your current fears.


So, as I end this blog, I challenge you to face one fear you have. It could be a small fear or you can be brave and face a big fear. Either way I am here to challenge you to face one of your fears.


You can do this, one step at a time.



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