Relationship with Self - Jaime Mann


Fear – Now is a good time to get to know it.

September 30, 2023

Hello, I'm JAIME
advisor, coach, and connection cultivator. Associate certified coach (ACC) and member of the international coaching federation (iCF) and the canadian positive psychology association (cppa).
Now Trending:


Why hello there. Welcome.

I hope you like my new website, and here on my blog, I will be adding a new post every 2 weeks.

This first one proved to be a doozy.

After sitting in front of a blank computer screen for what seemed like daaaaays, trying to create this post, I finally asked myself, “self: just write about the present. The now. What are you feeling RIGHT NOW?”

That was easy to answer. Fear.

Good, old, fear.

(And OLD is the most important word in that sentence.)

Fear is old.

Humans have always felt fear. It’s part of who we are.

In fact, fear is the only reason we are here right now. (Think about it – would we be alive today if, instead of running for cover, we bumbled about, pointing enthusiastically at some violent beast, grunting about the “unbelievable size of those tusks!”)

When I began examining my own relationship to fear, I realized that fear had been consistently in charge. It made each and every decision for me, and I didn’t even know it. Fear guided my thoughts, which became a swirling mess of anxiety, and reinformed my vicious inner critic (who I’ve more recently made peace with, and named Auntie Linda.)

Fear played the starring role, and I truly believe resulted in my clinical depression diagnosis, and my desperate feelings of powerlessness and dread.

Looking back, I can see how I immediately accepted each emotion and every thought that popped into my head as true. I didn’t question them – EVER. And the thing is, it is common for humans to experience an emotion in the present that comes up because of something that reminded our subconscious brain of a past experience – it has nothing to do with the present. Yet, we make it mean something – we put a story to it. In my case, I told myself SO MANY stories that were not only untrue, but they were harmful to my mental health and development.

I’m not saying that I don’t need my antidepressants (I do) or my anti-anxiety medication (I definitely do), but I accept my part – I allowed my fear to take me on a ride.

I encourage you to sit with your thoughts and examine how fear shows up in your life.

Sure, sometimes it keeps us safe (don’t get too close to a moving train) but mostly, it keeps us small (don’t put yourself forward to lead that cool project that literally makes your heart sing —like, what if you actually get it and fail miserably and everybody hates you afterward because you’re just SO BAD at EVERYTHING??!)

It’s time to get real about fear. Choose to tell yourself a different story.

When you feel fear, remind yourself that it’s simply a little sign post – and when this sign post shows up, you will take a moment to decide which way you want to go on the path.

FEAR = First, Examine All Reporting.

Reporting, as in, what facts and figures are you using here? (Some of my clients use the word Rumors – after all, rumors can be taken as fact when they are not proven to be true.)

When you feel like you should decline an interesting opportunity, because your stomach flips and you think, “Uh, who am I to do THAT??” it’s time to reflect and examine before you decide.

What are the facts?

(Hint: “I’m just not good at doing that” is not actually a true fact – could you become better? Is there enough time/resources, and do you really want to do this thing?)

  • Separate out your facts into little t truths and BIG T Truths. Some of your “truths” are not actually yours. (Are you still thinking of yourself as that awkward little kid, overhearing your Auntie Linda telling your mom that you’re “just not cut out for athletics”?)
  • Are you unsure if the fact is a truth or a Truth? Get out a piece of paper and write down each and every situation in your life that proves it, and also discounts it. When we focus on the hard lines of our writing, we cannot refute the evidence. (I am actually an entertaining karaoke singer.)

Look, the reality is that our brains are complex, energy hogs, and we are prone to taking mental shortcuts (biases) and using well-worn neurocircuitry. Our brains create the thoughts that follow the path of least resistance – we think the way we’ve always thought – this is faster and uses less energy. (We need all the energy we can get so we can outrun that mammoth – did you see the size of those tusks?)

Reframing your thoughts and challenging them might seem awkward at first, but please know that the more we use new pathways in our brain, the easier it becomes to access those pathways.

Acknowledge fear as a normal response to doing something new. There is a large body of positive psychology research outlining that humans need new challenges to feel engaged and happy. (We also need connections with other humans, so hurry up and get off your device!)

Talk soon,

add a comment

  1. Tamara Ward says:

    I really enjoy reading your blogs Jaime, very insightful information. Your genuine intention to help others live easier shines through. Bravo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *