Feelings of fear, guilt, and anger can overwhelm us.
We get into these dark places where all we want to do is cower and hide or yell and scream.
These powerful feelings can help us in more ways than you know. All of these – and other feelings – are messages to us that we are not aligned.
We are not aligned when our thoughts, beliefs and feelings conflict.
For example, if we fear speaking in public, it is easy to see how we are not aligned. We think we should be able to walk right out there and deliver a camera ready speech, but we also believe we could fail miserably. We believe we might trip over our words and everyone would look at us and laugh. See the conflicting beliefs?
We live a lot of our life with this type of conflict. On the one hand, we think one way, and on the other hand, we believe in something completely different. We have conflicts in our belief systems that lead to these powerful emotions as well.
If you are like me, you have many conflicting beliefs around public speaking. I want to speak in public. I’m good at it. I’m bad at it. I have to tell a powerful story. I don’t tell good stories. People want to be entertained. People will be bored. The audience is in a hurry to leave. I won’t have enough time. I’ll have too much time. I’ll forget my speech. The lights will be too bright.
All these different thoughts and beliefs run through my head as I think about getting up on stage. Not surprisingly, I feel the fear well up.
Over the years, I’ve overcome many – but not all of my fears of speaking in public. People say it comes through practice, but it comes from better aligning thoughts and beliefs. For example, I’ve chosen to strengthen the belief that the audience wants to hear me and I’ve practically eliminated the belief that they show up to see me fail.
Here is a great exercise.
Pick an area of your life where you have feelings of fear, guilt, or anger. Write down everything you can about it. No matter how trivial or crazy they may seem. You will be amazed at what you will uncover if you take time. Write down everything, even if an idea pops into your head for just a second. If you think it, write it.
The next step is to figure out what you want. This is key to getting anything you desire. For me, it was to speak better in public.
Next, on a piece of paper make a big T. On top of the T, write what you want. On the left side, write “Supports” and on the other side, write “Conflicts.” Take everything from the brainstorming exercise above and put it on either the “Supports” or “Conflicts” side.
Read through the list of items that support you. Think of ways you can strengthen them. One powerful way is to find evidence that the items are true. Look for past experiences and stories to confirm these thoughts and beliefs.
For the list of items that conflict, you’ll want to find ways to minimize them. You don’t have to do it all at once, but over time, you can make a shift in your thinking that renders these less powerful. For me, I started questioning whether people wanted to see me fail when I was on stage. Did they really come all the way out to watch me fail? Probably not.
Where you spend your energy matters. Be sure to spend more time thinking about the items that support you. Give them power and reinforcement. Withdraw energy from the conflicting items and imagine them withering away.
Feelings of fear, guilt, and anger are powerful, and you can use them to help you. Think of them as helpful suggestions from a dear, trusted friend who loves you unconditionally.