I read all your articles and I know I have a lot of fear, and it affects my behavior. I lose my temper, get defensive and argue with my family members quite often. Now, I am starting to see this same behavior in my kids and I know they learned this from me, along with being disrespectful and sometimes mean. I really want to be a better parent and fix this, but don’t know how. Can you help?
Unfortunately, the old saying is true … children learn more from what you do than what you say.
This means if you want them to grow into mature, healthy, respectful, well-behaved adults, you are going to have to model that behavior. In order to do that, you are going to have to escape your fears of failure and loss (which produce out-of-control, emotional, reactive parenting) and start responding to situations with wisdom and love.
But don't be overwhelmed by that, because even though you aren't a perfect parent, you are the perfect parent for your children— that is why the universe sent them to you. There are no accidents.
To help you get out of fear though, I want you to remember that your value is infinite and absolute. You can’t be “not good enough.” It’s not even possible, because life is a classroom, not a test. This means nothing anyone says or does can diminish you. You are bulletproof. I tell you this because your fear of failing causes most of the stress, which causes your unhealthy reactions and bad parenting behavior.
Remembering the truth about your value means never needing to get upset, angry or reactive, because nothing can hurt you.With this mindset, there is nothing to fear, hence, there is no need for bad behavior.
I realize this is slightly unrealistic though, because my life (and my seven kids) trigger my fears of failure and loss on a daily basis, and I sometimes react badly (just ask them), but it helps me a great deal if I can get a clear picture of the bad behaviors I am trying to avoid.
Here are eight specific behaviors we don’t want to teach our kids by example:
Hope that helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who seeks to help individuals, couples, companies and organizations reach their potential by eliminating fear.
Recently someone posted a beautiful video on Facebook that featured a man talking about his love for his gay brother and the discrimination he faced when he publicly acknowledged that love. The video brought me to tears because I have a cousin who is gay, but as I went to re-share it, I found myself hesitating and eventually deciding it wasn’t a good idea. I realized I was afraid of the negative response I might get if I did. It really bothers me that I held back to avoid being disapproved of. It bothers me that there is so much fear around the whole sexual orientation issue. Any advice on this?
It would be healthy for you (and all of us) to explore our fears on this topic.
(Just to clarify — this article is not about the political issues around same-sex marriage nor does it reflect the views of KSL or Deseret Media Corp. It only addresses the author’s ideas around choosing a love-based mindset toward all people and how fear can get in the way.)
I believe that we experience everything (and everyone) in this world from one of two places — fear or love. We have the power to consciously choose how we want to feel or think about any situation, but usually we don’t. We usually let our subconscious mind determine how we feel, and most of the time our subconscious mind is programmed to fear.
Many people experience fear around same-sex attraction because it triggers some of their subconscious fears. If you understand these fears, you will better understand their negative reactions. Here are some common subconscious programs of fear:
1. We may be subconsciously afraid of anyone who is different from us or who we don’t understand. Whether we are talking about someone from a different race or country, someone who is disabled, disfigured or whose sexual orientation is different, these differences can create discomfort. Just being around these people could push us out of our comfort zone. Sexual orientation is a tough one because most straight people can’t fathom how anyone could possibly be attracted to the same sex. They can’t get their head around it and we tend to fear anything we don’t understand. This subconscious program of fear around people who are different can result in pulling back, staying away and putting walls up. (This doesn’t happen for you or me because we have loved ones who are LGBT. We are more comfortable, so this fear doesn’t get triggered.)
2. We may be subconsciously programmed with a tendency toward judgment. This means if there are any two opposing ideas, we subconsciously assume one has to be right or better and the other wrong or worse. Because we would naturally like to be right, we subconsciously tend to see “anyone who is different” as wrong or bad. We subconsciously cast other groups of people as the bad guys, just because they’re different. We may also subconsciously look for evidence to support their being bad and conveniently ignore our own bad behavior. (LGBT people may also fear and judge straight people for this same reason.)
3. This issue could trigger the two core fears: loss and failure. Some people fear that support for LGBT issues could make them lose their rights to believe what they believe. Some are afraid accepting same-sex attraction as normal could mean losing their children, and this would signify failure as a parent. Same-sex attraction can make some people feel unsafe and trigger both of these deep-seated fears — and people tend to behave badly and get very defensive when these fears get triggered. (Again, straight people can also trigger the fear of loss and failure in LGBT people.)
4. We may be scared of what others think of us. Some people are afraid if they seem at all sympathetic or open to people who are different, they could be seen “that way” or be looked down on. The fear of what other people think of us is a deep-seated fear that drives a large percentage of our behavior. (It is the reason you held back from posting that video.) But it is also an illusion because what other people think of you cannot change, affect or diminish you in any way, unless you let it. The world would be such a better place if we let love guide our actions instead of our fear of being judged.
I believe the way out of our subconscious fears is adopting principles of truth and consciously choosing a love-based mindset. Here are some principles I believe can guide us to a better mindset:
An individual, unique, irreplaceable human soul is the most valuable thing on this planet. If we are all irreplaceable, then our value is infinite and absolute. I therefore believe we all have the same infinite value, regardless of our individual differences. Our value is the same. This means we should never see another human being as intrinsically less than us, and we all deserve the same level of respect, honor and compassion.
The purpose and point of our being on this planet is to learn and love, and more specifically to learn to love. Life is a classroom, and you are here to stretch and grow. To facilitate your lessons, there are people and situations placed all around you to show you the “limits of your love” (a phrase coined by Marianne Williamson). Everything in the universe is here to teach us how to choose love over fear. Maybe we need people who are different to give us a chance to see the limits of our love so we can stretch and learn to love at a deeper level.
This means learning to forgive, honor and respect all men. You do not have to agree with them and you do not have to participate in their lives, but you do have to honor their rights, and it would be a good idea to refrain from judgment or attack and declaring anyone as worthy of rejection.
If you choose a mindset of judgment and rejection, you must understand you are sentencing yourself to the same. This is true because there are only two mindset options, and whichever you subconsciously choose for others, you choose for yourself as well. If you choose to dwell in fear (judgment, condemning and attack) you will also experience a subconscious fear of judgment and being attacked by others. This will create unease and is not a peaceful place to live.
If you choose to dwell in love (forgiving, accepting and edifying others) you will subconsciously feel accepted, loved and safe in the world. This is just how your subconscious mind works. You project out your own inner state and whatever you put out dwells within you.
I highly recommend you choose a mindset of love. Let go of your fears around what others think of you and remember that your value is infinite and absolute so you cannot be diminished by anyone. Choose a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness so you will feel accepted and forgiven. Make all your choices (like posting the video) a love choice, not a fear choice. Don’t do anything for a fear-based reason.
Remember that if anyone has a problem with your choice and chooses to judge you, it says more about them (and their choice to live in fear) than it says about you.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
I have issues with worrying about everything. I over-analyze and over-think every situation, and it drives my family crazy. I am seriously scared of all the bad things that can happen and experience anxiety all the time. I also worry too much about what other people think of us. I need to stop worrying, but I just can’t stop the noise in my head. Any advice?
I think it is safe to say you are addicted to fear.
A fear-a-holic is someone who is addicted to the experience of fear and anxiety such that it decreases their ability to function and negatively affects their relationships.
I recognize the symptoms because I used to be one, too.
Now, I have learned to use some specific principles of truth to change my thinking and choose the opposite of fear in every situation. The opposite or antithesis state of fear is the state of trust and love.
When you choose to be in a state of trust and love, you literally can't experience fear. The emotions can't exist at the same time, in the same place. I call the state of trust and love "clarity," because it is the only state where the fog of fear is out of the way, so you can see your life as it really is.
Most fear-based thoughts can be completely wiped out with a simple choice to trust God and focus on loving people in that moment. But you can also employ the principles used by Alcoholics Anonymous, which apply to overcoming any type of addiction.
Here are 12 steps to break an addiction to fear:
1) Admit you are powerless when dwelling in fear. Fear makes you feel weak, vulnerable, selfish and protective, and these emotions don't serve you.
2) Admit you need a power greater than you to help. Choose to acknowledge that trusting God, his safety and his love are the answer. They are the only way to real security and peace.
3) Commit to turn your life and will over to a higher power. This means you will choose to trust God about two important things that will eliminate your two core fears (the fear of failure and the fear of loss) that most often steal your peace.
5) Admit that you are ready to let a higher power help you. You cannot feel safe and peaceful, nor eliminate fear on your own. You must trust God to be in charge of your journey and your value.
6) Let God remove your defects. We all have faults, weakness and less-than-perfect features, but they do not affect our value. God knows that these defects serve you in your process of growth. They also make you more compassionate and less judgmental. Turn these defects over to him and don’t let them make you feel inadequate anymore.
7) Ask God to remove your shortcomings. Accept his forgiveness for all your past mistakes. You experience too much fear, guilt and shame around the fact that you weren’t perfect in the past. Let God erase them all, and he will. You have nothing to fear. God gives this gift so you can focus on loving him, yourself and other people instead.
8) Make a list of people you have hurt by being afraid (and, therefore, selfish). Fear kept you focused on yourself, and in this state you missed what the people around you needed. Make a list of all the people you might have neglected while focused on your fears.
9) Make direct amends to those you hurt. How can you choose love over fear and start showing up for these people? How has fear caused conflicts and contention in your relationships? Figure out what you were afraid of and apologize for letting your fear create bad behavior.
10) Continue to take a personal inventory daily and admit when you let fear steal your peace. Start writing your fears on paper. This will show you how ridiculous most of them are. This will also show you the real reason you feel angry, stressed, resentful or discouraged. Write down how you could choose trust and love in each situation.
11) Through prayer and meditation, connect to God more often. Prayer is a wonderful way to officially place your concerns and worries in his hands, so you can trust him.
12) Share what you are learning. You learn a ton from teaching these principles of truth. (That’s how I quit living in fear.) Look for opportunities to teach trust and love to others.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.