What fear and chocolate cake have in common
Do not fear. It’s in scripture 365 times, and there are probably more quotes about it on Pinterest than that. Telling ourselves “do not fear” is like telling ourselves “do not eat the chocolate cake.” We begin to obsess about what we’re not supposed to be doing instead of making the positive choices we desire. In fact, psychologists debate whether our brains even register the word not. It’s like we are telling ourselves fear, Fear, FEAR! Or eat the cake, Eat the Cake, EAT THE CAKE!
While it may be simple to recognize and divert our thoughts when we are fearful (aka worrying, anxious) for things like lab results, layoffs, etc. On the contrary, it’s tough when we don’t even recognize we are fearful. As I have begun to study ego more over the last year, I’m convinced that we spend a good part of our waking moments operating in the fear zone. Which is home to the ego or our false self.
The text for coaching comes in
For example, I receive a text. And I share this because this conversation could have gone on with anyone about a co-worker, their spouse, or even their teenagers. I’ll call them Jack to protect the innocent.
Jack: “I’m losing my mind. I’m reacting in anger like I haven’t responded in a long time!”
Me: What is causing the angry reaction?
Jack: I see inefficiencies, and they won’t listen, and it’s making me mad. They are stupid.
Me: The stupid vs. special dynamic is ego driven which is fueled by fear. Any idea what fear might be behind this?
Pause in texting
Jack: Yes…fear of it not working out, fear of it being a poor reflection on me.
Me: Is that true? Will the actions or inactions of another be a reflection on you? Do you have the ability to control someone in that way? Would the people close to the situation not see your work, your skills, etc. individually.
In the end, he recognized that his value and skills were not dependent upon the other person. While the other person inefficiencies may affect the results he was hoping to see he is still in control of his life and the character it reflects.
Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow
Take a few moments and reflect on the last time you reacted in a negative way.
- Journal the instance that you reacted negatively and ponder for a moment what fear or fears may be behind the reaction. Make a list of the fear(s).
- When you look at the list of fears take a few moments to label them true or false. Hint: likely false.
- Lastly, make a list of as many examples as possible that disputes the fear you have listed.