Moving Beyond Fear by Mary Lou Stark
Why am I afraid to use my voice – written or spoken?
I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently. Partially due to my recent experience with a category 2 hurricane. And partially because my life isn’t all that I would have it be.
I know I have gifts that are important to share with others – that I can add value to their lives. Yet, too many times it is easier to stay on the sidelines, not drawing attention to myself.
I’ve been working to identify some of the specific things I fear. Perhaps some of these will resonate with you.
Three that come to mind are:
- Who would want to hear what I have to say? It’s easier to stay invisible.
I’m reminded of a time when I was a young mother. One of my ways of being with other adults was to join our church choir. I have a memory of a choir Christmas party (and at this point I’m not sure if it is a memory of a real event or a dream/nightmare). We were standing around in small groups. I spoke up to add to the ongoing conversation of the group I thought I was part of. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I realized that no one appeared to have heard me.
This was one of those experiences that added to my unspoken belief that what I had to say only had value when I was in the role of teacher or therapist. I still tend to listen more than talk in networking groups although it gets easier as I continue to put myself out there.
One of the ways I work to overcome this false belief and move beyond the fear is to remind myself that I have a unique perspective of the world that will and does interest and at times intrigues others.
- I’m going to say the wrong thing and get in trouble.
As the child of an alcoholic mother I learned early on that there were parts of our family life that needed to be kept secret. My route to avoid saying the wrong thing was to say nothing. I wanted to participate yet didn’t feel safe so I didn’t develop the skills of natural conversation at the time others did.
Give me a specific task to work on or talk about and I was all set. Put me in a social setting with no easy script for me to fall back on and I would do one of two things. I would get “motor mouth” and find myself over-explaining things to the point that I confused things more than I clarified them.
Or I would try so hard to find the perfect response that the conversation would move beyond me long before I opened my mouth again.
My solution is one of those simple yet not easy ones. Participate in more conversations. Relax and listen to the others. My biggest obstacle is usually myself. When I listen with my heart and intuition, the right thing to say comes much more easily.
- Others write/speak more eloquently than I do.
I am one of those people who read just about everything from newspapers to novels to business books to the story of a restaurant on the back page of the menu. (I do tend to skip the Steven King genre of horror although other mystery writers have drawn me in since my days of consuming Nancy Drew books.)
I was one of those students who quickly absorbed all the warnings about plagiarizing the writings of others – both style and content. For a while this kept me from being able to write on my own.
Eventually I realized that as it has been said for centuries “There is nothing new under the sun.” I have my own style of sharing an idea but the probability is the idea isn’t new or unique in and of itself. Others have different styles of writing and speaking but not inherently better styles.
My experience has been that my fears are based on misperceptions of the world around me. When I give myself some positive self-talk and move forward, doing the thing I fear, I am generally successful. The same can be true for you.
Remember – you are larger than your fears.
Latest posts by Mary Lou Stark (see all)
- Was Yours a “Normal” Family?
When I was growing up I thought TV programs like “Father Knows Best,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” and “Leave It to Beaver” were models of normal families. - August 15, 2017
- How to Use Your Words to Build Bridges Rather Than Fear
In today’s world speaking with respect seems to be disappearing. - July 15, 2017
- It Didn’t Really Happen
Not talking about it didn’t keep it from being real. Talking about it has made a difference in my ability to live with this reality. - June 15, 2017