You’ve done so much inner work…
You’ve taken uncountable numbers of classes…
You’ve read every book out there…
your relationship with fear and anxiety is one of discomfort, apprehension or even perpetual angst.
ARGH! What to do now?!?!
What is termed "anxiety" is often an end result of repressed or unhealed fear or overwhelm. Being that anxiousness is the end result, we're going to focus on the steps to take to deal with the causal layer, fear, which will indirectly heal the symptoms of anxiousness.
Fear is normal. It is a part of everyone; only the degree and our response to it differs.
Not all fears are bad; some fears make a lot of sense. For example, if a bus is coming at you, it’s best to feel that fear and move out of the way. Perhaps the enlightened soul might say, “That’s okay, I’ll just reincarnate at some other time; nice knowing ya!” But for most of us, well, it’s probably best to listen to that fear and take appropriate action.
Highly Sensitive Persons (HSP) have an extra challenge: We not only have our own fears to attend to, we can feel the fear of people who are right next to us, or those we’ve had connections with in the past, and many of us can feel the collective fear of a city, state or nation. One HSP told me she could feel the earthquake in Turkey from here in the States—a few moments before it even happened!
I believe we’re all born highly sensitive, but our conditioning, survival instincts, and our unmet desire to be loved forced us to shut down those gifts. Few adult humans can return an infant’s level of unconditional love, so we learned to be careful. We wanted to connect so badly that we began to resonate with even the negative behaviors from our caretakers, or absorb their energy to get that unconditional love. We figured if they could see themselves in us, we’d get the love we needed.
But it didn’t work to the desired degree.
So many of us eventually felt “burned” by loving too deeply, or what some may call caring too much, so we’ve closed our hearts, albeit often unconsciously, to wall off from potentially one-sided and detrimental relationships.
And we’ve taken this wound into our adult lives: into our relationships; our careers; and even our self-care regimens.
For HSPs, the typical inspirational message, “feel the fear and do it anyway” is more often an invitation to intense and even paralyzing overwhelm. Nor is the acronym of False Evidence Appearing Real very helpful. And what I've seen too many do is mentalize or or bury the fear, which eventually creates anxiety.
Trying to avoid fear can lead to isolation—which is fine if that’s what’s truly needed, but few people grow when alone. We need mirrors who can see our blind spots. Isolating from life is not in alignment with our gifts of feeling the energies of others so deeply that they feel like our own.
“How is that a gift?” you may ask. Go ahead ask.
“Okay, Dave. How is that a gift?”
Thank you; I was hoping you’d ask.
Our empathic abilities can help us connect with other people in a profound manner, and isn’t that what we all want anyway?
We desire intimate, meaningful connections.
HSPs don’t like small talk or superficial relationships. We’d rather minimize associating with people who don’t understand us, much less negate our abilities or think less of us for, ironically, being more of us!
From a closed down place, we can’t live a life aligned with our Higher Calling. We can’t fight the good fight with loving presence. From a shut down place, we tend to respond from the emotional body rather than with reason, which can have its place, but typically only inflames egos. When closed down, our ability to hear our own intuitive guidance is reduced. We’re more blocked than open and flowing. Not always of course, but enough to cause frustration from being on the proverbial hamster wheel of healing.
Fear can also be a catalyst for rapid, temporary change and should be honored as such, but deep transformation takes time and a heart-centered presence. Similarly, energetic walls, physical boundaries, and imagined bubbles you may put yourself in can protect you in the short term, but can exhaust you in the long term. These tools may prevent some absorption, but they’re also another way of isolating oneself and blocking intuitive guidance, healing energies, and mental understandings.
At this time of heightened fear, even if the Highly Sensitive Person is in a good mental and emotional state, the untrained HSP can feel and take on the fear of others—and there’s plenty to go around! Indeed, I’ve had clients world-wide at various and wide-ranging points on the political, religious and spiritual spectrums tell me that the collective uncertainty about the future is almost too intense to manage.
While managing our own energy may seem difficult, it’s not impossible. With very specific steps, empathically transmitted fears can be prevented and what’s already been taken on can be healed. Like any quality skill, it can take time to get good at it. But what better time to begin than right now?
Here are 7 essential tips that I’ve found most useful:
1. Try to access your emotional body more than figure anything out using your mental abilities. By working to go beyond the level of the mind, you also go beyond the desire to blame anyone or anything externally. These extremal triggers are a doorway to accessing the deeper causal levels.
Seeing what we’re carrying within can be scary and the mind will do everything possible to distract you. Therefore, having a trusted guide to hold sacred space for you is of extreme benefit. Sacred space means being witnessed and accepted without any judgements. None. Some say that we can go up to 11 times deeper in safe space than we can on your own. My experience has shown this to be true.
If this person is an untrained counselor, practitioner or alike, inform them not to try to fix you but rather empathize. Now, when sacred space is felt, voice your fears without self-editing or self judgement. Notice how any fears of being judged are lessened or gone when in sacred space.
Then, lean into what you are feeling more deeply. Acknowledge and accept your reaction to certain events rather than judge them. This reduces the negative effects of fear on your physiology and mental clarity. Recognize that though you may be feeling fear, you’re not a fearful person at your core. This is true with anger and sadness as well. These are all just parts of us, not much different in this respect than love, humor, comradery and joy.
We already know that what we resist persists. What we also should be aware of is that what we acknowledge and accept dissipates.
If you are feeling hopeless, for example, feel that, and then ask yourself if you’ve had that feeling before. Allow your body’s wisdom to fill in the blanks about it. Go deeper into that memory to see what's going on. Embrace that moment with all your heart and witness the emotional or physical pain without trying to get rid of it or squirm out of it. Witnessing reduces severity. And, knowing that anything unlike love can only be healed with love, fully accept and LOVE this memory and your reaction to it. This type of healing will bring you to a place of clarity to better deal with what is currently true, and not what is replaying and being triggered (for perhaps the umpteenth time).
2. If these fears feel disjointed, they're probably not your own. Allow what's not yours to flow through you. Witness the energies with unconditional love and presence. Knowing on a deep level about true responsibility from a soul-level awareness—that metaphysically speaking, no one is responsible for the soul path of anyone else—you can better manage and heal the energies that have stayed with you since their entry into your field. These events can be hours or even decades old; your body remembers everything! If you’re highly skilled, you can return them to the original source. This process, called “Return to Sender” is described in my book.
3. If your fear is that others won’t understand you, challenge yourself to understand them first. Ask questions more than judge or try to convince. Once that space is opened, they’re more likely to see you as trustworthy and then inquire what’s going on with you. And then perhaps if you say that you’re absorbing the energies of fear from outside yourself and they’re manifesting in X, Y, or Z symptom within yourself, even if they can’t relate to that, they’re less likely to judge you. Perhaps they’ll even ask you to elaborate on that, further increasing trust and connection and reducing subconscious fears of “the other.”
4. Know that it’s okay to feel the emotions of others briefly, it’s part of your gift and how you learned to connect with them. But also know that it’s detrimental to hold onto their energy. Those vibrations are not yours. As much as you may love others, it’s not your job to walk their path for them. Of course you can walk with them. You can guide them (only if they ask because no one likes unsolicited advice!). But mostly, it’s your job to love them.
You cannot know what their soul came here to experience. Sometimes people need what appears to be very difficult circumstances. Their soul does not judge these times as horrible; we do. And judging others is the opposite of loving them. Don’t give up on them; rather, offer empathy or empowerment, or just ask them what they need.
Don’t assume you know the answers because that also assumes you know their questions. You can also use the Keyhole exercise that’s in my book to better let the energies flow through you rather than having those incoming energies lodge into your cells
5. Minimize your exposure to for-profit news sources. Their job is to sensationalize everything. Loud music, bright graphics, carefully selected words and more are all choreographed to keep you glued to the television or website. Their primary concern is ratings and income, not unbiased news. This is true on both “sides of the isle.” Find people who are knowledgeable and can present themselves without overtalking or shutting down an opposing viewpoint. If we want to heal our collective fear, we have to understand all points of view.
Also keep in mind that social media sites transmit more energy than most are consciously aware of!
6. Take the time needed for quality self-care. Whether that’s done with yoga or chanting, exercise or meditation is irrelevant. Do something. Consistently. I’ve doubled my meditation practice from 1 to 2 hours a day and the effects have been tangible. If your mind just asked, “Who has 2 hours a day to meditate?” be assured that any time is better than no time. Feed the energies of love rather than the energies of fear, and what better way to connect with and feel unconditional love is there than going within and allowing your connection to Source to be felt?
Meditation, which is more than the sit on floor-legs folded-focus on oneness we've been taught, is one of the best tools for helping you stay in the present moment and to connect with Source. The mind is often a worst-case-scenario, fear-of-the-future machine. And while said worst can of course happen, meditate on the odds of each worst-case scenario happening. Those same odds can be applied to anything. What are the odds, given the vastness of this world, that something terrible will happen to you? We challenge these odds every day when we get into a car or an airplane. If your fear is what can happen to others, respond from a Divinely aligned place and open to incoming information on how best to deal with that. This is not about compliance and passivity, but rather acting with compassion to the best of your ability to affect positive change.
7. Know that collective angst can’t be cured by you. You’re not that powerful to heal everyone’s wounds or to heal the whole planet. You are but a small part of the collective. But also, a vital part of it too. As is everyone else. You may have a missing piece of the puzzle, and my belief, based on my own experience only, is that with Divine guidance you’ll be shown how and where to place that.
Ultimately, we’re all just doing our best at our level of understanding and consciousness. No one’s place on this planet is better or worse than yours.
All fears are a message that something is out of balance. Lean into them rather than try to understand them from a linear perspective. As you befriend them, they’re more likely to inform you of your next course of action, or inaction, as it were.
When you befriend all parts of yourself, fear included, you’re more able to tune into the Highest part of you and receive Divine guidance and direction. Based on numerous experiences of myself and thousands I’ve worked with, there is something out there, or in there if you prefer to see it that way, that knows more about what’s best for us than we think we do. We all have access to this guidance, but our fear or the fears of others that we’ve absorbed block us from hearing or seeing those messages. By following the above recommendations consistently, you’ll be more likely to stay healthy and focused.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being you.
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*Some of this material is covered in my bestselling book which has been in Amazon's Top 20 in its category for 41 consecutive months. Check it out here: Self-Care for the Self-Aware: A Guide for Highly Sensitive People, Empaths, Intuitives, and Healers.