Fear is a tricky S.O.B. isn’t it?
You may have heard that FEAR stands for “false evidence appearing real”. Most of the time, this is absolutely the case!
Note: fear is not to be confused with danger, which is valid (e.g. you’re being attacked).
Our reptilian or monkey brains are wired in such a way that they find fear in unwarranted situations in an effort to protect us.
They’re doing it from a place of protection! Isn’t that sweet?
(Slightly sarcastic, but also genuine).
With this in mind, we can view our fear-based thoughts through a lens of gratitude and compassion, as they’re only trying to protect us. As a species, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
However, we need to use discernment with these thoughts.
We need to take a step back and detach from them, observe them through a neutral lens, and ask ourselves what they’re trying to show us.
For example, many of my clients are met with fear-based thoughts when they decide to put in the work to transform their relationship with food and their body.
“I’m just going to blow up, and my body is going to betray me.”
“It’s not safe to relinquish control and stop tracking my food, because I’ll be out of control.”
“It’s not clicking quickly enough. My body isn’t changing. I knew this wouldn’t work for me.”
“I need to see changes RIGHT NOW! My body can’t be trusted, so I can’t stop trying to actively manipulate my body.”
These are very common fears, and they’re absolutely understandable. You’ve likely been led to believe that
your body doesn’t hold any innate wisdom.
without tracking and restricting, your body will betray you.
without constantly hustling for perfection and trying to manipulate your body, you’re a failure.
change has to be drastic and immediate! That you need to see physical changes right now.
These fears were given to us, and if we follow the breadcrumbs, these fears are very often rooted in the false belief that without that “body” and perfect food regimen, we’re not good enough.
We have a primal desire to feel a sense of belonging, so our brains are trying to do us a solid by presenting us with these fear-based thoughts. They’re trying to help!
However, that fundamental belief isn’t true (even if you can’t fully embrace that today).
So, what is the antidote?
1. In the long-term, work on changing that core belief of you not being good enough without perfection with eating habits or your body. Where did it come from? Who gave it to you? Do you apply that logic to your loved ones? Or the child version of yourself? Start there, and journal your big heart out on repeat!
2. In the short-term, meet those fear-based thoughts with a sense of curiosity! Ask them, “What are you trying to protect me from right now?” Acknowledge them, thank them for trying to protect you, and give them space to come and go.
Your rational brain and your body can then be used to arrive at the next conscious decision for you, and fear will no longer be in the driver’s seat!
Change is uncomfortable, without a doubt. Our monkey brains (ego) will come up with a million reasons why it isn’t safe to take a different approach with food and our bodies.
Our job isn’t to control those thoughts, but rather to manage our relationships with them.