FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY SUSAN JEFFERS EBOOK
eBook . Internationally renowned author, Susan Jeffers, has helped millions of But whatever your anxieties, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation. Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Jeffers discusses the crippling effects of fear in Advanced Search. Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Self-Help .. Now, with that said, what Susan Jeffers has to say in, "Feel The Fear And Do It. Whatever your anxieties, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation. You will.
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Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is a registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D . Thoughts of Power and Love* (quotes from the works of Susan Jeffers). Read "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" by Susan Jeffers available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. Is there something.
Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Formatting may be different depending on your device and eBook type. The phenomenal classic that has changed the lives of millions of people around the globe What are you afraid of? Public speaking; asserting yourself; making decisions; being alone; intimacy; changing jobs; interviews; going back to school; ageing; ill health; driving; dating; ending a relationship; losing a loved one; becoming a parent; leaving home, failure, believing in yourself Internationally renowned author Susan Jeffers has helped millions of people overcome their fears and heal the pain in their lives with her simple but profound advice. Whatever your anxieties, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation. You will learn to live your life the way you want - so you can move from a place of pain, paralysis, depression and indecision to one of power, energy, enthusiasm and action.
The Trophy Taker. Sarah Flint. Little Girl Lost. Carol Wyer. Bad Little Girl. Frances Vick. Mummy's Favourite. Dead Girls Can't Lie. Close To Me. Amanda Reynolds. One in a Million. The Girlfriend. Michelle Frances. The Last Thing I Remember. Deborah Bee. When I Wake Up. Jessica Jarlvi. The Woman Next Door. Cass Green. Mhairi McFarlane. The Gift. Louise Jensen. All Fall Down. Tom Bale. Paul Finch.
Love to Hate You. Anna Premoli. Always the Bridesmaid. A Winter Affair. Minna Howard. The Holiday Swap. Zara Stoneley. You Drive Me Crazy.
Michael Wood. Sunshine on a Rainy Day. Bryony Fraser. The Quiet Man. James Carol. Death Note. Caroline Mitchell. No Turning Back. Three Weddings and a Scandal. Wendy Holden. Helen Fields. Amanda Robson. Her Husband's Lover. Julia Crouch. The Cosy Christmas Teashop. Caroline Roberts.
If You Only Knew. Cynthia Clark. The Breakdown.
Just Haven't Met You Yet. Cate Woods. The Dog Walker. Lesley Thomson. Friends Like Us. The Marriage Lie. Kimberly Belle. The Missing Ones. Patricia Gibney. Saving Sophie. Sam Carrington. Don't Wake Up. Liz Lawler. My Husband's Son. Deborah O'Connor. Looking Good Dead. Peter James.
Field of Girls. Martin Krist.
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Adele O'Neill. Cheryl Strayed. S is for Stranger. Louise Stone. Little Boy Found. LK Fox. The Difference Between You and Me. Celia Hayes. Just the Two of Us. Georgie Capron.
See How They Run. Sleep Tight. Embracing Uncertainty. Susan Jeffers. Dare to Connect. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. We fear living; we fear dying. Whatever the fear, this book will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation.
You will move from a place of pain, paralysis, and depression feelings that often accompany fear to one of power, energy, and excitement. I believe it is primarily an educational problem, and that by reeducating the mind, you can accept fear as simply a fact of life rather than a barrier to success.
Then one day, as I was dressing for work, I reached the turning point. I happened to glance in the mirror, and I saw an all-too-familiar sight—eyes red and puffy from tears of self-pity. When I stopped, I felt a strange and wonderful sense of relief and calm I had never felt before.
I took another long look in the mirror and smiled as I nodded my head YES. The old familiar voice of doom and gloom was drowned out, at least temporarily, and a new voice had come to the fore—one that spoke of strength and love and joy and all good things.
At that moment I knew I was not going to let fear get the best of me. I would find a way to rid myself of the negativism that prevailed in my life.
Thus, my odyssey began. I began to read, attend workshops, and talk to as many people as would listen. Diligently following every suggestion and lead, I unlearned the thinking that had been keeping me a prisoner of my own insecurities. I began to see the world as a less threatening and more joyous place; I started to see myself as someone who had purpose; and I experienced the meaning of love for the first time in my life.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway
At this point I began to notice many other people struggling with the same barriers I had finally learned to push through— the main barrier being fear.
How could I help them? Realizing that the processes that had transformed my life were educational in nature, I was convinced that the same techniques I had used could be taught to anyone, regardless of age, sex, or background.
Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the world in a new way, we experience fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving ahead with our lives. Together we will explore the barriers that keep us from experiencing life the way we want to live it. So many of us short-circuit our living by choosing the path that is the most comfortable. My experiment with taking the concept of fear out of the realm of therapy and placing it in the area of education was extremely successful.
My students were amazed at how shifting their thinking magically reshaped their lives. The concepts worked for them as they had worked for me.
And, not surprisingly, my students also became my teachers. They reaffirmed and added to my fund of knowledge as I listened carefully to their wisdom. Those of you who are reading this book have acknowledged that wherever you are in life at this moment is not exactly the place you want to be.
Whatever your circumstances, you are ready to start taking charge of your life. It takes courage to mold your life the way you want it to be. There are all sorts of real and imagined obstacles that get in the way. They need not deter you. In your journey through this book you will become familiar with many concepts, exercises, and other devices to help you unravel the complexities of fear.
You will learn: It takes a lot of reinforcement to incorporate new concepts into your behavior, so commit yourself to doing the exercises.
The amount of improvement you experience will depend on how much you are willing to actively participate. Also, the more you get involved, the more fun you will have. You will be surprised and pleased at the amount of satisfaction that comes as you take each little step forward. I am about to teach another fear class. The classroom is empty.
I am waiting for my new group of students to appear. My nervousness about teaching these classes disappeared a long time ago. Not only have I taught it many times, but I also know my students before I meet them. They are like the rest of us: It never varies. As the students enter the room, I can feel the tension.
They sit as far apart from one another as possible, until the seats between must be filled because of lack of space. I love them for their courage to admit that their lives are not working the way they want them to work.
And their presence in the class signifies that they are ready to do something about it. I begin by going around the room asking each student to tell the rest of us what he or she is having difficulty confronting in life.
Their stories unfold: Don wants to change his career of fourteen years and follow his dream of becoming an artist. Mary Alice is an actress who wants to discover why she finds all kinds of excuses for not attending auditions.
Sarah wants to leave a marriage of fifteen years. Teddy wants to get over his fear of aging. He is all of thirty-two. Jean is a senior citizen who wants to confront her doctor; he treats her like a child and never gives her any straight answers. Rebecca wants to confront her husband with things that have been bothering her.
Kevin wants to get over a fear of rejection that makes it very difficult to ask a woman for a date. Laurie wants to know why she is unhappy when she has everything one could possibly want in life. Richard is retired and feels useless. He fears his life is over.
As each person shares from the heart, the entire atmosphere begins to change. First, my students begin to realize that they are not the only ones in the world feeling afraid. Second, they begin to see how attractive people become as they open up and share their feelings. Long before the last person has spoken, a feeling of warmth and camaraderie pervades the room.
They are strangers no more. Although the backgrounds and situations of the class members vary greatly, it does not take long for the surface layers of their particular stories to disappear, opening the way for everyone to touch on a very human level.
The common denominator is the fact that fear is keeping all of them from experiencing life the way they want to experience it. The scenario above repeats itself in each fear class I teach. At this point you might be wondering how one course can accommodate all the diverse fears reported by the class members—their needs seem to be so varied. Fear can be broken down into three levels.
The first level is the surface story, such as the ones described above. This level of fear can be divided into two types: Here is a partial list of Level 1 fears divided into these types: One of the insidious qualities of fear is that it tends to permeate many areas of our lives.
For example, if you fear making new friends, it then stands to reason that you also may fear going to parties, having intimate relationships, applying for jobs, and so on. This is made clearer by a look at the second layer of fear, which has a very different feel from that of Level 1. Level 2 fears are not situation-oriented; they involve the ego. They reflect your sense of self and your ability to handle this world.
This explains why generalized fear takes place. If you are afraid of being rejected, this fear will affect almost every area of your life—friends, intimate relationships, job interviews, and so on. Rejection is rejection—wherever it is found. So you begin to protect yourself, and, as a result, greatly limit yourself. You begin to shut down and close out the world around you. Look over the Level 2 list once again, and you will see how any one of these fears can greatly impact many areas of your life.
Level 3 gets down to the nitty-gritty of the issue: Are you ready? But the truth is this: The Level 1 fears translate to: The Level 2 fears translate to: The answer is: I know you are probably not jumping up and down for joy just yet, but believe me when I tell you that I have just given you a great piece of news. What I have just told you means you can handle all your fears without having to control anything in the outside world. This should be a tremendous relief.
You no longer have to control what your mate does, what your friends do, what your children do, or what your boss does. I am belaboring the point because it is so critical. From this moment on, every time you feel afraid, remind yourself that it is simply because you are not feeling good enough about yourself. Then proceed to use one or more of the tools in this book to help build yourself up. You have your task clearly mapped out for you.
There is no reason for confusion. I know that some fear is instinctual and healthy, and keeps us alert to trouble. The rest—the part that holds us back from personal growth—is inappropriate and destructive, and perhaps can be blamed on our conditioning.
Her answer to my pleas was always the same: When I was told it was time for me to leave, I whispered in her ear—not knowing if she could hear me—that I loved her and would be back later.
And I know she typifies the great percentage of mothers out there. Apart from such seemingly obvious connections, the cause of our fear quite possibly lies elsewhere.
But does it really matter where our self-doubts come from? I believe not. It is not my approach to analyze the whys and wherefores of troublesome areas of the mind.
I believe that if something is troubling you, simply start from where you are and take the action necessary to change it. Knowing this creates a very clear, even laserlike, focus on what needs to be changed. What matters is that you begin now to develop your trust in yourself, until you reach the point where you will be able to say: Remember that I was once a doubting Thomas myself. Just read on and let the book unfold.
Give yourself a winning chance by using the tools provided throughout this book. As you do, you will find yourself coming closer and closer to such a high level of self-confidence that you will ultimately begin to realize that you can handle anything that comes your way. New excuses have popped up since that time: In fact, her husband is willing to help her in any way he can.
He is concerned about her restlessness, and often encourages her to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a fashion designer. Each time Janet thinks about calling the local college to set up an interview, something stops her. The problem is that her thinking is all mixed up. The logic she uses automatically programs her for failure. Nor did I until I was forced to. Before my divorce from my first husband, I was rather like a child, allowing him to take over the practicalities of my life.
After my divorce, I had no choice but to start doing things on my own. Small things, such as fixing the vacuum cleaner all by myself, brought me enormous satisfaction. The first night I invited people to my home for dinner as a single person was a monumental leap. The day I booked tickets for my first trip without a man was a day for celebration. As I began to do things on my own, I began to taste the deliciousness of an emerging self-confidence. I felt like a child learning to walk and falling frequently.
But with each step I felt a little surer of my ability to handle my life. As my confidence grew, I kept waiting for the fear to go away. Yet each time I ventured out into a new territory, I felt frightened and unsure of myself. Eventually the fear will go away. As long as I continued to push out into the world, as long as I continued to stretch my capabilities, as long as I continued to take new risks in making my dreams come true, I was going to experience fear.
What a revelation! Like Janet, and so many of you reading this book, I had grown up waiting for the fear to go away before I took any chances. And it never worked. Once again you are probably not jumping up and down with joy.
I am aware that this revelation is not exactly one you wanted to hear. If you are like my students, you were hoping that my words of wisdom would miraculously make your fears go away. On the other hand, rather than think of it as a disappointment, consider it a relief that you no longer have to work so hard on getting rid of the fear.
Not to worry. As you build your confidence in yourself with the exercises suggested herein, your relationship with fear will dramatically alter. Not long after discovering Truth 1, I made another important discovery that contributed enormously to my growth: Fear of particular situations dissolved when I finally confronted them.
I can illustrate this by recounting my first teaching experience when I was studying for my doctorate. I was not much older than my students, and I was teaching a subject in which I had dubious expertise—the psychology of aging. I anticipated the first class period with a tremendous sense of dread. During the three days prior to the class, my stomach felt like it was on a roller coaster.
I had prepared eight hours of work for a one-hour class. I had handwritten enough material for three lectures. None of this took away my fear. When the first day of class finally arrived, I felt like I was being sent to the guillotine. As I stood in front of my students, I could feel my heart pounding and my knees shaking. Somehow I got through that class period—not ecstatically looking forward to the second one the following week.
Thankfully, things were easier the next time. If not, I might have left teaching permanently! I started to become familiar with the faces in the classroom and connected some of the names to the faces. The third class was better than the second, as I started to relax and go with the flow of the students. By our sixth session I was actually looking forward to standing in front of my class.
The interaction with my students was stimulating and challenging. One day, as I was approaching that once-dreaded classroom, I realized I was no longer afraid. My fear had turned into sweet anticipation.
I had to teach a number of different courses before I was comfortable walking into class without voluminous notes. But there did come a day when all I had in hand was a one-page outline of what I intended to cover that period. I realized how far I had come. I had felt the fear. As a result, I got rid of my fear of teaching. So it goes. I kept thinking that if I could improve my self-image, then the fear would go away and I could start accomplishing things.
Perhaps by my growing older and wiser, or through feedback from other people, or a miracle would make me feel wonderful about myself.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway
Maybe all those things did help a little. What really made the difference, however, was the sense of accomplishment I felt in pushing through fear and doing things on my own. Finally, this became clear: When you make something happen, not only does the fear of the situation go away, but also you get a big bonus: The fear begins again as you prepare to meet a new challenge.
Through all the workshops and seminars I attended in my early stages of dealing with fear, I was relieved to learn something else that made me feel infinitely better about myself: I said to myself: I was sure I was the only person out there feeling so inadequate. It was such a relief to realize I was not alone in this. I had the rest of the world to keep me company.
The article told how he had to learn a tap-dance routine with the cast of a Broadway show for a publicity event. His teacher reported that the mayor was scared to death. This was hard to believe! A man who had often faced crowds of angry people, who had made many difficult decisions affecting millions of lives, who had put himself before the public in his race to be mayor.
Tap dancing was an activity that tested him in a new way, and of course he would be frightened. Once he practiced and mastered the routine, the fear would go away, and his confidence in himself would be heightened—he could put another feather in his cap, so to speak. By virtue of our all being human, we share the same feelings. Fear is no exception. Until you are in touch with the Fear Truths, you will hear about and read and see these stories and not notice the underlying principles operating.
You may never relate the experiences of others, especially those of celebrities, to your life. Not so! They had to push through a tremendous amount of fear to get where they are today.
Those who have successfully dealt with fear all their lives seem to have known, consciously or unconsciously, the message in this book: You must feel the fear.
I just went ahead and did what I had to do to make my ideas work— despite the fear. All you have to do to find a way out of your self-imposed prison is to retrain your thinking. A first step in retraining your thinking is to say the Fear Truths at least ten times a day for the next month. As you will shortly discover, retraining faulty thinking takes constant repetition. Knowing the Fear Truths is not enough. You have to keep feeding them to yourself until they become a part of your being—until you start to reverse your behavior and move toward your desired goals, rather than retreating.
There will be more later about why repetition is important. For now, just trust me and repeat the Fear Truths over and over again.
It is: Read it again. The more helpless we feel, the more severe is the undercurrent of dread that comes with knowing there are situations in life over which we have no control—such as the death of a spouse or the loss of a job. We find ourselves becoming obsessive about possible catastrophes. That is the irony of Fear Truth 5: She married a successful businessman who handled both their lives.
Janice allowed this situation because it was more comfortable for her never to put herself on the line. One day she was totally taken care of and the next she was totally taking care of.
Numbed, she went through the motions of learning his business, handling decisions regarding his health, and waking up every morning with the understanding that it was now up to her. After a while, the numbness left, the fog cleared, and she discovered a profound sense of peace she had never experienced before.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
She started to realize the heavy price she had paid to be taken care of. This all changed as she found strength she never thought she had. The new fears were nothing compared to her old fears about survival. Her husband has now recovered enough for them to live a satisfying life together. He, too, has faced one of his biggest fears—that of becoming disabled. In fact, through this experience they learned the real meaning of love.
We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures; it is not an anchor holding us transfixed in one spot. Some people have told me they are never afraid, but when I question them, they reveal that we are just differing on semantics.
Yes, they feel nervous or anxious some-times—they simply never labeled it fear.
As far as I know, everyone feels fear as he or she moves forward through life. It is absolutely possible that there are some evolved souls in this world who never experience fear, but I have not met them. If I do, I promise I will become their avid student and report back to you with their secrets. My life will work in either case. Five Truths about Fear The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.
The last chapter revealed a critical insight indeed, and that is: Obviously, the real issue has nothing to do with the fear itself, but, rather, how we hold the fear. For some, the fear is totally irrelevant. For others, it creates a state of paralysis. The former hold their fear from a position of power choice, energy, and action , and the latter hold it from a position of pain helplessness, depression, and paralysis.
The chart on the next page illustrates this concept. From this it can be seen that the secret in handling fear is to move yourself from a position of pain to a position of power. The fact that you have the fear then becomes irrelevant. It often implies control over others, and, unfortunately, is often misused. The kind of power I am talking about is entirely different. In fact, it makes you less manipulative of those around you, and certainly more loving. I am talking about power within the self.
This means power over your perceptions of the world, power over how you react to situations in your life, power to do what is necessary for your own self-growth, power to create joy and satisfaction in your life, power to act, and power to love. This kind of power has nothing to do with anyone else. It is not egomania, but a healthy self-love. In fact, egomaniacs have absolutely no feeling of power—thus their compelling need to control those around them. Their lack of power leaves them in a perpetual state of fear, since their survival depends on the outside world.
Such people spend their lives trying to pull it out of everyone else. Their need creates all sorts of manipulative behavior. If you do not own this kind of power, you lose your sense of peace. You are in a very vulnerable place.
I have found that women are more put off than men are by the concept of power, for obvious reasons. Men have been conditioned to believe that to be powerful is good. Women have been conditioned to believe that to be powerful is unfeminine and unattractive. It is my experience that nothing could be further from the truth. A self-assured woman who is in control of her life draws like a magnet. She is so filled with positive energy that people want to be around her.
Yet it is only when she has become powerful within herself that she can become authentic and loving to those around her. The truth is that love and power go together. With power, one can really begin to open the heart. With no power, love is distorted.
For the women reading this book, a good antidote to any inner conflict between power and femininity is to repeat to yourself at least twenty-five times each morning, noon, and night: An energizing variation is: Say these three statements aloud right now. Feel the energy the words convey. Their constant repetition will help make the concepts of power and love more compatible and certainly more comfortable.
The first step is to create a Pain-to-Power Chart, as follows: As we look at the Pain-to-Power continuum, most of us can place ourselves somewhere in the middle of the chart. We seem to be taking the arduous route over the mountain carrying two suitcases and a watermelon rather than flying on the wings of eagles.
Why do you throw rocks before you? The following steps will help in the clearing process: Draw an enlargement of the Pain-to-Power Chart and place it on your wall. Just the simple act of making the enlargement will make you feel a little more powerful. You are already taking action! Remember that much of the trick of moving from pain to power is taking action.
Once the chart is on your wall it will serve as a constant reminder of where you want to go in life—from pain to power. Awareness is half the battle. Having the chart physically present will also help you motivate yourself to keep moving in the right direction. Chesterton a long time ago, and it still makes me smile. It constantly reminds me that you can drop an awful lot of excess baggage if you learn to play with life instead of fight it. Put a pin at the place on the chart where you see yourself situated at this moment in your life.
Are you in the middle, where you sometimes feel depressed and paralyzed and at other times feel more in control? Or do you definitely find yourself on the far left side, where there is little you are able to do to pull yourself out of the rut? Or perhaps you are already on the right side, where most of the time you feel you are really moving ahead with your life, with only a few areas that need to be worked on.
I doubt that anyone reading this book has reached their goal of attaining absolute power over the self. Even the Buddhas have their days! There are always new experiences that challenge a sense of personal power.
If you keep in mind the direction you want to go, it will help you make decisions about what you are doing in your life. Before you take any action in life, ask yourself: A word of caution: Just notice where you are not taking responsibility. The next time, you can make a different decision. Remember that each time you get angry at yourself for an action you have taken, you keep yourself on the side of pain. Make your use of the chart fun. Having it as a game keeps you light about the situation.
If you have children, they can create their own charts, and you can make a family game out of the experience of growing. You might want to make different charts for different areas of your life. To be really powerful, you need to be in charge of all aspects of your life—your work, relationships, environment, body, and so on. Often people are very powerful in some parts of their lives and pathetic in others. For example, I am very powerful in terms of my career, but need to work on the area of exercise.
Note that your movement on the chart is determined only by your own intuitive sense of how far you are progressing in gaining more power in your life. No one else can judge that, though they may try. Although your life may look exactly the same to the outside world, it is your own sense of internal peace and growth that determines where you are on the chart. It is, totally, a feeling within. You may wonder if you really need to go to such lengths to get yourself moving.
Trust me—you do! In the beginning, you need all the gimmicks you can get to remind you of where you want to go. As you must have figured out by now, simply knowing what to do does not mean that you do it, or, for that matter, even remember it. The way you use words has a tremendous impact on the quality of your life.
Certain words are destructive; others are empowering. Choose to move to a Pain-to-Power Vocabulary as follows: Your subconscious believes only what it hears, not what is true. The subconscious hears you stating your priorities with clarity and choosing the outcome that serves your own growth. It, too, implies that you have no choices in life. Once again, you look helpless. I can change my diet. I can reduce stress.
I can stop smoking. I can get enough sleep. Watch how powerful you become! The same occurs with the lost job. If you are responsible, you can be better prepared the next time; you can find out what made the difference. You are in control. Each time you find yourself in better control of your life you are moving to a position of power, which will ultimately reduce your fear level. Each time you have the opportunity to stretch your capacity to handle the world, the more powerful you become.
I hope I will get a job. I know I will get a job. What a difference! The first sets you up for worry and sleepless nights. The second has peace and calm about it. You can hear the whine behind it. I have nothing to worry about. What will I do? There are many who have learned important things from the experience. I know, because I am one of those people. My experience of cancer taught me many wonderful things about myself and the people around me.
Most important, I learned how much I was loved. We stopped taking each other for granted. Also, I have changed my life in many positive ways. My cancer experience has given my husband and me an opportunity to contribute something to this world.
I wrote a very positive article about my mastectomy, which I know has been of value to many men and women. My husband and I have appeared on television together to relate our experience, bringing reassurance to viewers. So you see, cancer can be a great learning experience and an opportunity to give. You get the picture.
Maybe these semantic differences seem trivial, but I assure you, they are not. Not only does your sense of yourself change with a more powerful vocabulary, so also does your presence in the world. People who display an inner strength are treated differently from those who come across as weak. The more powerfully you speak, the more you will be a force in the world around you.
As you begin to monitor your vocabulary, you can also bring more power into your life by expanding your comfort zone. What does that mean? Most of us operate within a zone that feels right, outside of which we are uncomfortable. We might be willing to initiate friendships with people at the office who are at our level in the company, but would be uncomfortable doing so with one of the higher-ups. We might go to the local deli when eating alone, but would feel really uncomfortable in a luxurious restaurant all by ourselves.
And so on. For each one of us that zone of comfort is different, but whether we are aware of it or not, all of us—rich or poor, low or high on the totem pole, male or female—make decisions based on the confines of that comfortable space. I suggest that each day you do something that widens that space for you. Call someone you are intimidated to call, buy a pair of shoes that costs more than you would have ever paid in the past, ask for something you want that you have been too frightened to ask for before.
Watch what starts to happen when you expand your comfort zone: As the drawing shows, with each risk you take, each time you move out of what feels comfortable, you become more powerful.
Your whole life expands to take in more of what there is in this world to experience. As your power builds, so does your confidence, so that stretching your comfort zone becomes easier and easier, despite any fear you may be experiencing. The magnitude of the risks you take also expands. In the beginning you may sign up for one evening course after being out of school for fifteen years. Ultimately you may enroll to get your graduate degree.
You will be expanding. As long as you are taking those risks—no matter how small—you are moving yourself to the right on the Pain-to-Power Chart. Each night before you go to bed, plan the risk you are going to take the following day. Make your visualization as clear as you possibly can. Also, as you go through the day, be aware of where you find yourself hesitating, and start planning your future risks based on these observations. If you can push through the hesitation at the moment you recognize it, great.
Remember that the more you expand your comfort zone, the more powerful you become. The risks I am talking about do not include physically dangerous acts, such as speeding in a car, or taking drugs. Not only could you end up unpopular, dead, or in prison, but you would also be moving yourself far to the left side of the Pain-to-Power Chart. Without these ingredients, it is impossible to build your sense of self-worth. Hence your ability to handle fear would be greatly diminished.
So take only those risks each day that build your sense of self-worth. These are the risks that enhance your ability to deal with your fears. Whether it feels like it or not, you already have more power than you could ever have imagined. We all have. When I speak of going from pain to power, I am not talking about pulling the power in from any outside source.
Inside of you, just waiting to emerge, is an incredible source of energy, which is more than sufficient for you to create a joyful and satisfying life. It is only a process of tapping the energy already there, though you are not aware of it. The exercises contained in this book are designed to lead you to this great source of power. Whether you do them or not is a good clue as to whether you are willing at this time to accept all that is within you.
Just make a commitment to keep working toward it. One way to do this is to read and reread this book and other personal- growth books until you rid yourself of the negative belief systems that are keeping you stuck in your powerlessness. Most of us are filled with old conditioning that is keeping us weak. It takes constant repetition for newer and healthier patterns to take hold. You are innately designed to use your personal power. You, like all of us, deserve everything that is wonderful and exciting in life.
And those feelings emerge only when you get in touch with your powerful self. So many of us think we are taking responsibility for our own lives when we simply are not. Once you understand the concepts in this chapter you will better understand the dynamics of handling fear.
The idea of taking responsibility for your own life is probably not totally new to you. For years you have been bombarded with the message: But I am convinced that most of us do not really understand what that means. Edward is an extremely wealthy, high-powered executive who lives in a constant state of anxiety. When I suggested that he get some professional help, he responded that if the people in his life would change, everything would be fine.
Is he taking responsibility for his experience of life? Absolutely not! Mara is, objectively, sitting on top of the world. She has a great job, lives in a lovely apartment, and has many friends and lovers.
Her continual complaint is about her ex-husband: Also, her son is turning against her and accusing her of being selfish. Is she taking responsibility for her experience of life? I know many single or divorced people who are constantly complaining about their ex-husbands or their ex-wives, their bosses, their loneliness, the lousy singles scene, and so on. I know many married people who are constantly lamenting about their children, their lack of money, their lack of communication with their spouses, and so on.
Are any of them really taking responsibility for their experience of life? Not at all! They are all, in some way, playing the role of victim. They have given their power to someone or something else. Keep in mind that when you give away your power, you move farther and farther to the left side of the Pain-to-Power Chart, and as a result you become paralyzed in your attempts to deal with fear.
No wonder you feel fearful—victims are powerless! For some reason, you are consciously or unconsciously choosing to be in that lousy job, you are choosing to hate the single life, you are choosing to stay in a destructive relationship, you are choosing to let your daughter drive you crazy, you are choosing to sabotage anything good in your life.
I know it is difficult to accept the fact that you are the cause of the feelings that take away your joy in life. It is very upsetting when you begin to see yourself as your own worst enemy. On the other hand, this realization is your biggest blessing.
If you know you can create your own misery, it stands to reason that you can also create your own joy. Since taking responsibility for your experience of life is an elusive concept, I will explain the components of a more powerful way of living. Note that I have been careful not to ask you to believe that you are responsible for all your experiences in life although there are some who would argue that you are. Rather, I ask you to believe that you are the cause of all your experiences of life, meaning that you are the cause of your reactions to everything that happens to you.
There is a lot more about this in the next chapter and in chapter 9. As you read the following seven definitions of taking responsibility, keep remembering that whenever you are not taking responsibility, you put yourself in a position of pain, and hence decrease your ability to handle the fear in your life. Taking responsibility means never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling. Until you fully understand that you, and no one else, create what goes on in your head, you will never be in control of your life.
Why are you so filled with anger that he finds it impossible to communicate with you? Why did you always need to rescue him?
Why did you make him so much an extension of yourself that you expected too much from him? Why are you not creating more satisfaction in the job you already have? Why are you not asking for what you want in the job you are already in, instead of constantly complaining that nothing is right? If you are feeling some pain from identifying with any of the stories above, good. It simply pinpoints an area on which you have to work.
The point to remember is that when you blame any outside force for any of your experience of life, you are literally giving away all your power and thus creating pain, paralysis and depression. Taking responsibility means not blaming yourself.
I know this sounds contradictory, but it is not. Anything that takes away your power or your pleasure makes you a victim. For some, this is more difficult than not blaming others. When will I ever learn? It is important to understand that you have always done the best you possibly could, given the person you were at any particular time.
Now that you are learning a new way of thinking, you can begin to perceive things differently and possibly change many of your actions. There is absolutely no need to be upset with your past, present, or future behavior. It is all simply part of the learning process—the process of moving yourself from pain to power.
And it takes time. You must be patient with yourself. There is never any need to be down on yourself. Taking responsibility means being aware of where and when you are NOT taking responsibility so that you can eventually change. It took years before I realized that the place I played the victim role most often was with the men in my life. I remember many evenings of complaining for countless hours with my girlfriends about the grief the men in my life were causing me.
I was able to build up incredible anger and resentment about them. It was a Moan and Groan Society. No wonder: During this time I was certain I was taking responsibility for my life.
Ironically, only through this realization was I able, for the first time, to have a wonderfully nurturing relationship. I am now quickly able to tune into what it is. Once I realize what I am doing, I can get into the task of correcting it. As I correct what needs to be handled in my life, all my anger toward others disappears. My daughter, Leslie, recently commented on how fantastic my marriage is. You become a bottomless pit. The man in your life could stand on his head for you, as some of the men in my life tried to do, but it is never enough.
I might add that if someone is not supplying your basic needs to be nurtured and loved, certainly you would serve yourself by leaving. One clue that you are truly taking responsibility is when you feel little or no anger toward this person.
You realize that you chose to be there in the past and you are now choosing to leave. S he is doing the best s he can given her his level of personal growth.
Anger is your clue that you are not taking responsibility. Relationship with another is only one area where you can give away your power.
It is important to look at all other areas of your life as well, to determine where you are not taking responsibility. Your clue will be any one of the following signs: Whenever you feel any of these, determine what you are not doing in your life that is causing the telltale sign.
You will be surprised how easy it is to locate where you are abdicating responsibility. Taking responsibility means handling the Chatterbox. This is the little voice inside, the voice that tries to drive you crazy— and often succeeds! If you are not aware of your Chatterbox, it sounds something like this: Maybe I was too cool this afternoon when I bumped into him at lunch.
Maybe I should have been warmer. I look so fat in this outfit. And my makeup was terrible. He seemed a little cool. I wonder if it was because he heard I went out with Allen the other night. He has a lot of nerve if he expects that. Or this: The others spend their day loafing and they get invited to the meeting.
You never get rewarded for all the hard work. It just pays to be a big manipulator, like all the rest. An honest hard worker is just not appreciated anymore. If my parents had had money, I would have been able to socialize with people who have some clout. I really feel used. Who does he think he is? This kind of thing always happens to me. Anything to escape such insanity! We are all victims of our Chatterboxes at some point in our lives.
The good news is that there are very effective ways to get rid of this kind of negativity, which will be discussed in later chapters. For now, simply notice that your Chatterbox is making you a victim, and commit yourself to replacing it with a loving voice.
By the way, once you get rid of the negativity your Chatterbox brings, you will really begin to enjoy being alone. Once you understand payoffs, your behavior will make much more sense to you.
Let me give you a few examples. Jean Jean was feeling horribly stuck in her job and wanted desperately to get out.
She viewed herself as a victim. Poor Jean!
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