I have recently started to date a new woman, the first woman I have been serious about since my divorce, but I’m unsure if I really want this relationship. Or maybe I’m just afraid of being hurt again or feel unsure about myself and fear rejection. But I’m holding back and I feel like fear is clouding my judgment. I don’t want to ruin this relationship and run because of my fears and push her away — help.
We think what you are really asking is, "How do you know if you are holding back from something or someone for a fear reason (that you should work to overcome) versus holding back because your gut is saying it isn’t right?"
We are all faced with options and choices every day, and often fear making the wrong choice keeps us stuck. We believe if you work on getting rid of your subconscious fears first, you then gain clarity and find it easier to feel which path is right for you. So, we are going to give you some steps for doing that.
But first, understand we all participate in the world differently, according to our unique past experiences. Our past experiences, the family we came from, and the things we were taught all contribute in creating subconscious core fears and core values, which now influence our ability and enthusiasm toward taking risks.
Ask yourself, how do you show up in the world? What is your comfort level with risk within your relationships? Do you put your neck out to say, 'I love you' first or do you wait for your partner to be the first to confess their feelings? Similarly, are you a person who is comfortable with commitment, travel, responsibility and financial stretches? Or do you stay close to home and save money over spending it? Maybe your ability to commit to a relationship is not just about fear of getting hurt, but also your comfort with risk and vulnerability in general.
Many of us play small and safe in the world, we doubt our abilities, our looks, our worth, our intelligence, and our worthiness to do or have big things. We might play safe in our relationships, too. We might feel unworthy to ask out a really amazing woman or think a great guy would never be interested in us.
The fear of failure (fear of not being good enough) can cause you to compare yourself to others, feel insecure, doubt yourself and feel at risk in every relationship. It can also make you show up needy of reassurance, attention and validation, which often cause relationship problems.
People who have less fear of failure play bigger in the world. They commit faster, more forward first, take bigger leaps of faith, and feel more confident in relationships. They have a more secure sense of who they are, what they have to offer, and what they want from a relationship. They also start relationships because they want them, not because they need them — and there is a big difference.
The good news is, with awareness and conscious effort, you can shift yourself from fear of failing and losing out to trusting yourself, your value and your journey. We’ve been helping people do this for 15 years, so we know it’s possible.
If you have real regrets, pain or guilt from your past relationships, it can leave you feeling powerless and unable or afraid to move forward. Unfortunately, you can’t go back and fix the past, or erase those experiences and their effects, but there are three things you can do that will start to make you feel more confident with yourself and your choices. From this place you can accurately feel which direction your inner truth is nudging you. Here are the three tips for eliminating fear:
1. Claim your value
You get to decide how you (individually) will determine the value of all human beings. You have two options: You can see human value as something we must earn and something that constantly changes with our appearance, performance and property (and this mindset will always leave you feeling not good enough); or you can choose to believe we all have the same intrinsic worth regardless of our appearance, performance, relationship history, how many times we have been dumped, or married, how many children we have, or the amount of money we have in the bank.
And you can choose to believe we all have the same value, all the time and it cannot change ever (If you choose this belief your fear of failure will start to shrink).
The world has adopted the first option, though, and teaches us to measure our worth by our successes, our finances and our looks. However, you don’t have to adopt that system if you don’t want to. You can choose to believe we all have the same intrinsic worth as every other human being on the planet all the time, even on a bad hair day or the day you get dumped.
This belief helps us drop the comparison to the others game, and really lean into a sense of confidence and value. This mindset means our confidence does not take a hit every time we are stood up, make a mistake, or compare ourselves to the other guys and girls that our new partner has dated.
If you choose this belief for yourself, you will find your confidence grows and you will have less fear around your decisions. To live without guilt and regret, you must be able to stand firm and secure in your decisions and know you always did the best you could with what you knew at the time, and no decision affected your value.
2. Be open to seeing life as a classroom
Another core subconscious belief you may have gained along the way is the idea that life is a test (which you must pass or fail). This belief is tied to the idea that your value is in question and can change. You, again, could consciously choose a different mindset if you wanted to, that life is a classroom and the purpose of you being on the planet is growth and learning, but your value isn’t tied to any of it.
When you are open to seeing life as a journey towards growth and wisdom, you will feel the universe is working for you, not against you. You could choose to believe that every situation in your life is providing a perfect opportunity for greater growth. This means you cannot make a bad choice, because you can only, as Jason Mraz says, “win some or learn some”, and either way it’s a win in the long run. This mindset makes you feel safer in the world and braver. Challenge yourself this week to look for growth opportunities in every choice, instead of fear.
3. Trust the Journey
If you choose to see life as a classroom, it means that everything in the universe (and in your life) has purpose and meaning, and is there to serve you in some way. When we look up the stars, we see amazing order there and be don't believe we live in a world with random chaos running the show. We believe the universe is a wise teacher who knows what it's doing (We can’t prove this is true, but no one can prove it’s untrue — so we believe it is a mindset choice). This is a mindset choice you get to make every day. Will you trust the universe or fear everything?
If you choose to trust the universe, it might change the way you are looking at this possible relationship. You were attracted to this person for one reason, because there is something this relationship can teach you. What you cannot know is if it’s meant to be a short lesson or a lifelong one. But you are meant to be connected to this person for some reason.
This applies to every situation in your life, too. When you choose this level of trust in the universe, you can take more risks and embrace the journey that comes your way, and believe that no matter what happens it’s going to make you better in some way and for a greater purpose.
With hindsight, we believe you will see how all the dots were linked and why it all happened as it did, but for now, you get to embrace the uncertainty and trust the universe knows what it’s doing and there is something bigger in play. When you trust the journey you can also trust your gut to guide you to wherever you need to be.
If you will start consciously choosing to trust, your value is the same no matter what you choose, and trust the universe will only provide the perfect lessons you need (even if they are hard ones) you will feel more confident in yourself and with your level of risk in your relationships and other areas of your life.
Since learning these principles and putting them into practice in our lives, we have found huge leaps forward in progress. Choosing to trust in your value and your journey make us live bigger and it has always paid off bigger too.
Remember, life is not about having any guarantees; it is about taking the risks you feel nudged to take (which feel wise, even though they are out of your comfort zone) so you can grow, learn, progress and really claim an amazing life. Often it is in these times of growth and risk that you reap the greatest rewards.
Get in trust and then see what your gut is saying.
You can do this!
FOR MORE FREE
Coaching is less expensive than you think - If you need help we can find you a coach you can afford.
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.