Why do we have fear monsters?
As humans, our reptilian brain has 3 primary functions: eat, reproduce, don’t die. It’s no wonder that our fear monsters (i.e. the part of our brain that protects us from dying!) can rage their ugly heads in a fierce and persuasive way.
How do you handle fear monsters when they show up? You essentially have two choices. You can either welcome your fear monster with open arms, let it settle in comfortably like a second skin and let it steer your life. OR… you can acknowledge your fear monster, thank it for showing up and then say “See ya later, Sis! I’m doing just fine with out you!”
My MAJOR fear monster
One of my MAJOR fear monsters (and I mean major. Like so big I’m surprised she didn’t cause me to grow pink fuzzy fur and big striped rainbow horns!) was around the scale. Even as I acknowledge it, I realize how stupid it sounds. That’s the thing about fears… they can show up even when our logical mind realizes how illogical they are!
Let me share a brief history to paint the picture of why I had demonized the scale.
Why I was fearful
I always struggled with my weight as a child. I was constantly told I couldn’t eat certain foods, I was bigger than the other girls my age and that my weight was a big concern for my parents and doctor.
I knew I was different than my peers just by looking across the playground. I was always at least a head taller and often twice as wide as the other girls. There wasn’t a lot of discussion around movement or healthy eating in my household. More talk around diets and losing weight.
As I grew up, I began to really struggle with my body image issues and I put a lot of pressure on myself to weigh a certain amount. I tried EVERY diet out there (including ones that were later determined to be really bad for you like the diet pill Phen Fen). They would all work for a short time, but I always gained the weight back.
How this impacted my mindset
When I was on a skinny streak I felt GREAT about myself. When I was in a chunky stage, I felt like shit. That scale became an evil provocateur living in my bathroom, taunting me, egging me on. I would always hold my breath before stepping on, worrying what fate it would reveal. And whatever that number was, it would certainly set the tone of my mood for at least the next 24-48 hours… if not longer.
It was not until a few months ago that I decided to do something about this fear because I was tired of being a slave to an inanimate object.
Yes, I developed a very unhealthy fear around the scale. It was not until a few months ago that I decided to do something about this because I was tired of being a slave to an inanimate object. I am elated to share that I no longer fear the scale and I want to share how I overcame my fear so you can do the same (whatever your fear monster might be!).
How to overcome YOUR fears
Step 1: Identify and acknowledge your fear
Although I knew I had issues with the scale, I didn’t really acknowledge it was a fear. My husband helped me open my eyes to the fact that it was fear that I had to overcome… not a constant game of how to lose weight.
By identifying and acknowledging your fear, you do two things. One, you take away some of the mystery which helps the fear dissipate. Two, you allow yourself to understand WHY the fear exists in the first place.
Step 2: Uncover WHY the fear exists
For me, I knew my fear of the scale existed but I wasn’t sure why. When I finally asked myself that tough question, I realized it was because I was equating my self-worth to the number on the scale.
It can be eye-opening to realize WHY something scares you. It might take some inner-child style work to really discover the root of your fears, but when you dig deep and answer this question, you have the ability to move forward and make changes.
Step 2 can be quite scary in an of itself. Asking yourself the hard question of why something scares you is not easy. And you must be brutally honest with yourself if you want to grow and change! That said, once you answer the question (and you do know the answer!), you will also feel a sense of freedom because you have the ability to make change.
It may take some inner-child style work to really discover the root of your fears.
Step 3: Decide you want to make change
It’s essential to acknowledge the fear and know why it exists. But it’s even more critical to make the decision that you are ready to grow and change.
When I decided that I was done being a slave to the scale as a metric for my self-worth, my mind expanded to understand the possibilities of what life can look like without this fear. That decision alone was hugely impactful to my current fear-free mindset.
Are you ready to ditch your fear?
Step 4: Create an affirmation to overcome your fear
The good thing about our simple, reptilian brains is that they are easily molded to new realities when you are ready to put in the work! It is amazing how we have the ability to change our mindset using positive thinking and affirmations.
To overcome my fear of the scale, I realized I had to start telling myself that my self-worth was not determined by the number on the scale. That was it! I created the following affirmation:
I love my strong and healthy body. My self-worth is not determined by the number on the scale.
Simple, right? Don’t overthink this step. Just create an affirmation that states exactly what you want your brain to believe.
Step 5: Put your affirmation into action with consistency
Here’s the thing you have to takeaway about overcoming fear. It doesn’t happen overnight! Just like your fear didn’t manifest in one day, it will not dissolve in one day either.
You must be consistent with your new affirmation to create the new narrative. And you have to attach an action step to it so it becomes a habit that sticks.
For example, I knew I had to break my fear of the scale. I know logically it is just one tool that is a metric to show how much my body mass is (and not even a very good metric at that! There are so many more comprehensive ways to measure your mass and body composition).
I decided to state my affirmation above every day and then step on the scale. Sometimes I say it once. Sometimes 5 times. The point is that I look at myself in the mirror, state the affirmation and step on the scale.
And you know what? That is it. It is just a number. Although it took a week or two to get rid of the deep breaths and racing pulse, I realized the number on the scale was JUST A NUMBER. Not any reflection of my self-worth.
By using the affirmation for over 2 months consistently (every day!), I broke free from the fear-hold that scale had on me.
Any fear can be broken with acknowledgment, decision, positivity and consistency. If you want something strongly enough, you will make it happen.
Take a moment now to think about that fear monster (or monsters!) that live in your brain. Do you want them to take up permanent residency or are you ready to clear some space for some new opportunities, energies and dreams?
Hopefully the latter is more appealing and you are ready to grow! Follow steps 1 through 5 to consciously make the changes you seek. Remember, you have all the control and opportunity to decide how you live your life and who you want to be. You are a HERO, not a victim, and when you open yourself up to growth you show up as a beautiful energy force In this world!
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