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Over Coming Your Fear and Learning to Trust Yourself

Filed under: Uncategorized — emitaliablog
Posted on December 10, 2010 @ 4:03 pm
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For those of you who are facebook friend’s you know that it’s been snowing like crazy for two weeks in Lake Tahoe. We’ve had about 8 feet at our home and our local mountain Heavenly is open and covered with fresh snow. So begins the ski season and also begins my love hate relationship with the sport.

When I first met my husband, I was living in the French Alps at the Porte du Soleil and snowboarding daily. For the first time in my life, I was getting really good at a sport that I loved. I was fast, and fearless and surprising even myself at many points on the mountain. After being decidedly mediocre at every sport I had ever tried, including basketball, soccer, softball, running I was finally good at something. I was an extreme snowboarder. Well, let’s be honest, I didn’t do jumps or parks, but I could beat an entire group of skiers and snowboarders down a black diamond and that felt great!

And then it happened, on my way down a blue run on my way to meet friends at our favorite bar for a lunch, I got going too fast, the snow was lumpy and I fell…hard, end over end breaking both my tibia and fibula near my left ankle. A basket ride, ambulance ride, surgery and 3 day hospital stay later, I was on crutches and my reign as Queen of the Mountain was over.
What sucked the most though, was that a year later when I flew to Vail Colorado with my Dad and Arnaud, I found myself terrified of snowboarding. The sweet taste of victory had soured and been replaced by a wretched crippling fear. That led to lots of things like disappointment, self loathing, embarrassment, frustration and general pissyness. That was 9 years ago, and to this day, I still face that fear on every chair lift.

So this weeks lesson came to me today on a chair lift with my son Aidan. How can I work through this fear? How can I trust myself on a snowboard again, and have fun? How can I let excitement replace anxiety? You see, I was riding up Patsy’s Chair lift, an old chair with my 5 year old who is counting on me to help him off the lift. He’s 45 lbs of muscle and blond curls plus gear, and I’m one footed in a snowboard. So I think, what are you afraid of?

Step One- Name your fear

A little voice say’s, the lift will be too fast, he’ll crash, you’ll crash, everyone will get hurt.

Step Two- Can you change the circumstances?
Oh wait, I can give the lifty a big thumbs down (skier sign language for – “Slow the lift down or be ready to pick up the yard sale”)

Step Three – Check, does changing that element reduce the fear? Yes… Good.

Step Four – Check to see if you are trying to prove something to someone else or trying to look good. If you are, remind yourself that being afraid is human, and it takes more guts to say, I’m terrified, then to fake it.

That is a quick way to overcome fear in a short period of time. Now for the learning to trust yourself.
Based on an article by Psychologist F. Diane Barth LCSW, in the online blog Off the Couch in Psychology Today

1)Find people you trust: Surround yourself with them. The more you feel connected to and safe with the people in your life, the more comfortable you will feel with yourself. (I realize this is sometimes more easily said than done, but like everything else, it is a goal that takes time to reach. Check out #3.)

2)Put things into words: Talk, talk, and talk some more. Neuroscientists have shown that talking about what you are thinking and feeling to someone else, someone who is listening and who responds to what you say – not just reflecting back what you have said, but adding their own ideas and thoughts to the mix – can actually change the neurological makeup of your brain. It can help your right brain speak more clearly to your left brain, and your left to your right. It can help your unconscious become conscious, unrecognized beliefs to be recognized, and everything to get clearer. (Writing helps this process as well, but it might be even more helpful if you can share your writing with someone.) Of course, this goes back to the issue of finding people you can trust with these feelings.

Heinz Kohut, who developed the theory of psychodynamics called “Self Psychology,” wrote that even finding someone we can trust takes work; and that trust doesn’t appear instantaneously. We actually have to teach them what we need and how to give it to us!

3)Practice makes perfect: Like the old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall, the key to all of this is “practice, practice, practice.” None of us learns to trust ourselves magically or instantaneously – nor, in fact, should we! A perfect example is driving a car. We don’t get into a car to drive for the first time with all of the right instincts ready to go. We take driver’s ed, then we get learner’s permits, and we practice – a lot. We get a lot of verbal instruction as well – “pull up closer to the stop sign, start braking farther back, don’t brake on wet pavement, etc.” And over time we put together the verbal information with the physical experience of actually driving, of watching out for other drivers, of learning what we can expect and how we can deal with the unexpected…and gradually (hopefully) we become mature, safe and trustworthy drivers.

4) Be trustworthy: If you want to trust yourself, be trustworthy with others. Try to give what you would like to receive, whether it is understanding, empathy, counsel, or simply a quiet presence. Try to recognize what your friends and family need from you and try to honestly give what you can, when you can – without sacrificing yourself. Setting boundaries is part of any caring relationship; and negotiating needs (yours, theirs, someone else’s) helps you know and trust yourself, and helps others know and trust you as well.

Thanks for Reading for more infomartion check out my Pod Cast – you can do that at Nourish Business Coaching Page

Alexis is a Life Coach  and Business Coach.

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