Men + Myself + God

Tag: fear

Smile at Fear…or something.

by P. Braithwaite

There’s this misguided idea that fear is something we have to rage against, power through, or overcome. I’m learning that’s a fallacy.

I’m working on a biggish project — gearing up to teach a class based on my own truths. It’s scary and three times a day fear crops up and I try to talk myself out of my own dreams.

You don’t really wanna teach this class. No one will come.

For all of my coaching techniques (reframe, refocus), I’m learning to breathe into the fear. What does that mean? When the fear comes, I stop what I’m doing and just breathe. I’m learning to sit beside the fear and watch it: sometimes it stays for a few minutes, other times it quickly scurries away.

More and more I’m understanding that there is nothing we need to do. There’s nothing to overcome. Our only task is to keep breathing. Fighting thoughts with thoughts is like fighting fire with fire — unproductive. Just sit beside the fear and watch it pass.

Your dream will be waiting patiently when fear passes — and you will continue to do your work.

And so it is.

Break Ups and The Fear of Not-Enough-Ness

by P. Braithwaite

One of my biggest fears in life is that people are better off without me. I worry that the room becomes more awesome when I leave it; the air becomes lighter when I’m not breathing it; Things magically become better because I’m not there.


When I was little, I was always sent to bed before my older brother, so while the OTHER Braithwaite’s watched 90’s sitcoms, I’d be exiled to my bedroom. I’d be so upset, begging for a few more minutes because I was certain that, when I went to bed, the real fun would start (it probably didn’t help that Brother periodically told me I was adopted). I don’t know what I was imagining: strippers? Clowns? A live pony and cocaine? I was certain that when I left the room, things would immediately get better.

It never dawned on me that, sometimes, I was actually pretty tired.

I think that’s why break ups are so hard for me. No matter how dysfunctional or disillusioned, I’m always afraid that I’m the reason things sucked. I’m always focused on how I can be better, brighter, happier and more accommodating. I’m always terrified that, while I’m sad or upset, they’re happier and freer without me. I give away all my power and joy when I imagine that I’m the sole reason things are (or aren’t) good. I simultaneously make myself more important and less important than I truly am.

This elaborate scenario boils down to something pretty common: “fear of not being enough” (Google it. It’s actually a thing.)

I read a quote on BFF-Bri’s blog that said “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” I think this is the same for not-enough-ness.

Here’s the truth: WE must only be enough for ourselves.

When we can look at ourselves and say, “I’m enough for me.” Everything else is sort of foolish. Why? Because NO ONE… (no coach, saint, sinner, rock star, lover, best friend, counselor, therapist, poet, preacher, guru, shaman, spirit) NO ONE is enough to cure someone else’s not-enough-ness. And on some level, most of us are suffering from this affliction.There is a special kind of narcissism involved in thinking that your presence has a permanent impact on someone else. People, generally speaking, are happy/miserable independently of you. Yes. You can totally brighten up someone’s day, and, yes, an unkind word might make someone miserable for the moment…but NO ONE is the sole reason for another’s content (or discontent). You can only make someone happy (or miserable) if they let you. I’m using the word “make” here loosely, ya’ll. We are all responsible for our own emotions.

I like to think of it like this: everyone is walking around in their own little room – a crowded cocktail party in their own heads. You might add to the dynamic, you might even dance inside of a circle, but you alone cannot create or destroy someone’s life. Everyone has their own personal energy. Everyone is living in their own personal dramatic story (it sounds crazy, but secretly…it’s a little true).

So today, I’m working to stop competing in the invisible happiness war. It’s time to stop torturing myself about whether or not The Besticle is happier that I’m not around. The circular thinking is incessant: Is he happier? Has he moved on? Can the new chick make him happier?

The real question then becomes: Am I happier? Am I freeer? Am I more awesome by myself?

And even beyond those questions, the realest ones of all: How can I cure my own not-enoughness? How can be enough for myself? How can I feel awesome in the company of myself?

Is anyone else in a happiness war with themselves? Let’s make a peace treaty together!

My Flirtationship with Fear

by P. Braithwaite

I am afraid. Yep, I am. It’s true. I am writing blogs, speaking for pay, launching a business, and changing my life, but let me assure you, I am scared.

This confession, perhaps, isn’t the smartest thing to admit. I’m this life coach, entrepreneur, and I’m co-facilitating a fear workshop in May. Admitting I’m afraid might not be the best for my brand, but I am not a f*cking brand. I am a person.

Last night, I had the privilege of dinner with a friend of mine. He is a (single and handsome, ladies) motivational speaker and author who is always good company. Over steamed vegetables and tofu, I updated him on my business. I explained how tired I am, how hard I am working, and how I feel like I cannot relax. I waved my hands like a crazy person, and let my shoulders creep up to my neck.

“This is the entrepreneurial life, ” I asked. “right?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he held my wrists and told me to breathe. When I obliged, he made me breathe again. He led me through a meditation about an eagle in flight.

“Imagine an eagle learning how to fly…”

I breathed in deeply one more time. And then I cried. I didn’t sob or anything (we were in a restaurant), but I shed some quiet man tears and felt the feeling under my fear.

“What are you feeling?” He asked.

“Afraid. Afraid that if I stop moving, I will fall.”

“You’ve gotta trust that you know how to soar…”

Here’s the truth: we all get scared. It’s universal and good sense. If we didn’t get scared sometimes, we’d probably run into oncoming traffic. I’ve done some work around my fears and I can generally move through them, but here is what I learned last night:

We have to stand in the fear to overcome it. We don’t have to live there, but we have to acknowledge it’s presence if we are to recenter ourselves. We spend our lives keeping these uncomfortable feelings at bay. We (I?) get frantic, as if that will keep the fear at arms length. See we believe that if we ignore the fear and act quickly, we’re winning. Perhaps we are, but there must also be a moment where we turn around and face the beast. If you’re like me, you take a breath and have a cry. No matter the ritual, when we look fear in the face, it dissipates a bit. In its place we see ourselves, huddled in a corner begging for some kisses and a hug.

Go ahead…hug yourself.

It is a blessing to have someone who is compassionate with your fears, but we must learn to be compassionate with ourselves. Fear lets you know you’re in the vicinity of your desires. Fear lets you know you’re awake, alive, and living fully. I’m all about action in the face of fear, but yesterday I was reminded to have compassion for your scared parts ….

Then, of course, do what scares you anyway.

How are you compassionate for what’s scaring you today?