Whenever anyone signs up for my newsletter, I ask if they’ll take a moment to reply back to me with the answer to this question: “What’s the ONE THING that is holding you back from unleashing your awesome?” And this past week, Mike responded that the thing that was holding him back was fear. I chuckled in recognition as I read this email, because I know I’ve been there – more times than I can remember. Who hasn’t, really?? Here’s a portion of my reply back to him:
You’re not alone in highlighting fear as a challenge. Fear is a normal part of life when we’re disconnected from the Truth of who we are. And when we consciously remember our inner Divinity — remember that the same Infinite Intelligence that creates worlds constitutes every cell of our body; that even when we believe we’re disconnected, we never truly are — then we can look at fear for what it is – a lie we’re believing about ourselves, and something that’s coming up to help remind us of the Truth of who we are.
You are not your fear. And you are not the worst things you believe about yourself that are manifesting as that fear. Period.
When we’re living in fear, doubt or worry, we’re living separate from the Truth of our own divinity. If some member of this “treacherous trio” shows up in my experience, I know that in some way, shape or form, I have been believing myself to be separate from my divinity. And I believe that is why those voices in our head show up, that is why fear and worry show up. It’s really just our divinity asking for our conscious recognition of it – a wake up call, if you will.
One of my favorite affirmations lately is “I can never be separate from my Good.” I use it as a gentle reminder whenever I start to “spin” about some appearance or condition in my life or another. And those eight words bring me back to center rather quickly. They have become a handy shortcut to help me in overcoming fear.
I believe that the challenges we encounter in the form of the negative self-talk that shows up as fear, feelings of not-enoughness, worry, etc., are in our lives for a reason, and that reason is to help remind us about who we are. Some people call those voices “demons” or “gremlins.” I like to call them dragons. I used to think that I needed to fight and conquer my dragons. That automatically put me in a state of resistance. Finally, I recognized that this framework was at odds with my belief that everything in creation is conspiring for my good. So I flipped the script.
It’s akin to reframing my belief about what dragons represent by looking at them the way they are viewed in Chinese mythology rather than European mythology. According to Joseph Campbell, dragons in European mythology represent greed; European dragons guard things in their caves – think gold and virgins! Campbell says that “psychologically, the dragon is one’s own binding of oneself to one’s ego.” On the other hand, according to Wikipedia, in Chinese mythology dragons symbolize power, strength and good luck. And according to this website, “a dragon overcomes obstacles until success is his.” That sounded a lot better to me!
Connecting with my “dragons” from the perspective of Chinese mythology seemed like it might be beneficial, so I created a technique for myself that I call “befriending your dragons,” and subsequently started using it with clients as well. If everything in creation is conspiring for my good, that includes my dragons, so why resist them? They’re merely showing up as a vehicle for my greater good.
Overcoming Fear by Befriending Your Dragons
I’ve come to realize that these dragons represent our divinity awaiting our conscious recognition. I like to think of them as a wake-up call that we’ve lost sight of the Truth of who we are – Spirit expressing in form. As I view them through this lens, I stop resisting and start embracing them. In that conscious embrace of my dragons, I am guided to the gifts they bring. Overcoming fear becomes possible by befriending it.
So in the “Befriending Your Dragons” process, close your eyes and enter a meditative state. Then picture the dragon and give it a name. So in the example of fear, I just call the dragon “Fear” (very creative, I know!). As I connect with the dragon, I ask why it’s here and what gift it has for me. And then I listen for its response. More often than not, I’m surprised at the answer. I then engage in additional conversation with it as I feel guided to.
As we acknowledge our so-called “negative” emotions, we help defuse them primarily because we stop resisting them. In that process, we take back our power and create space for a shift to occur. To that end, I invite you to go within and ask your dragons – whether they’re named Fear, Doubt, Discouragement, or something else – what message they have for you. And ask them what gifts they are bringing with that message. You might be surprised at what comes up.
I’ve heard others recommend ignoring fear, doubt and other negative self-talk, and pushing through them instead (this used to be my go-to strategy) as approaches to overcoming fear. And when we do that, we can miss the opportunity to learn about and experience the gifts they have for us. If you do “befriend your dragons,” please do share any insights gleaned from your experience with the process in the comments below.