How to gently face your fears

Updated: Apr 10

"F.E.A.R. has two meanings - Forget Everything and Run OR Face Everything And Rise - The choice is yours."

After being sort of overwhelmed from yesterday, I tried one new thing before I went to sleep - to meditate and let all my emotions flow, esp. after I realized that the previous night I didn`t sleep well with my unconsciousness seeming to process everything that I didn`t do in the daytime. As it seems that I now often remember what I dreamed (not sure whether this is also a result of my spiritual work), it was my intention to at least sleep well, so not to wake up confused, exhausted, and with more questions than before ("What did it mean to wander at night? Did seeing my school mates mean anything? What does the symbol of a plane stand for?" (I actually do look up the spiritual meanings of such symbols :D)).


While my evening meditation went well - I keep affirming "I let go of this", "I let go of this" (as it seems that your intention can already do wonders) - I realized this morning that one fear was still present. And it was fine that this fear was still there, because sometimes this may take several rounds and I knew immediately that this fear is a bigger one. It is my fear of facing an important conversation with someone that had caused a lot of pain for me. While I will tell the whole story when it is time, I would like to share my learning process facing this particular fear.


1. As always, start with acknowledging your fear.

As this was a fear of a bigger size, my usual tools didn`t work that effectively, however, they still help me cope with it in a first step. I definitely acknowledged it, but then I also either moved on or shifted too quickly to my "Sage" perspective, saying that everything will be alright. While it is already good to be able to make this shift, if the shift is too quick, of course, this can leave your fear, and underlying beliefs, unaddressed, so the fear will come up, as it showed up again in my dreams. So I had to look at it again, but this time time deeper.


Please do note that there is no right or wrong - there is no obligation or expectation that we always have to face our fears immediately to rise from them. I do believe there is always some wisdom in every of our emotions, but we also need to take into account our capability and wellbeing - as I had outlined in my earlier blog post on David R. Hawkin`s book "Letting Go". If, for example, we experience an unexpected job loss, family loss, or heartbreak, this experience can be very overwhelming for us. So to deal with this overwhelming impact of emotions and thoughts, we may naturally use one (or all) of these three channels - suppression (repression), escapism, or expression. All of this is totally fine, as long as we do it consciously or temporarily, because otherwise, we would only bury our emotions even more without having taken away any learnings from it.


This to me is also an essential act of kindness and self-care, to know what we are capable of coping with right now. In my present case, for instance, I had used suppression - I was aware of my fear, but wanted to deal with it later because I knew it would spiral me downwards. And that`s ok, esp. if we use our awareness and mindfulness muscle to go gently through this process.


2. Then look deeper, gently and, if needed, please with help.

After observing that my fear has come up again, I was ready to look at it, gently, kindly, mindfully. When I look at what I am afraid of, I realized I was afraid of another painful conversation with this person. All my previous conversations shocked me in their lack of compassion and mindful communication. They brought me to tears, loneliness, and depression if you like to call it. I realized that we didn`t share the same values as I had thought, and despite trying to choose compassion and love, it had hurt me how cold they could be. I was also stunned that they seemed to not care or even understand how I was feeling - when I felt low, they even said "get your sh*t together, first". It shouldn`t have surprised me, but when you already feel low, then the least you need is another stab in your back.


I was afraid to be attacked again (although they may not see it that way). I was afraid to be hurt again, while my heart is wide open. I was afraid of potentially hearing their disappointments and accusations, given they seem to be primarily in their ego mind than compassionate heart. I was afraid of their ego`s retaliation, while I chose love as my weapon. I was afraid that my outer shell may not be thick enough, because I love to have an open heart, but the consequence could be that negative energies can flow in more easily, I don`t know. I was afraid of feeling lonely, not understood, and like an outsider again.


All these insights gave me much more clarity now and also peace to transform my fear further. As we may have already heard, once we know what something is, we can better work with it, and not fight an exhausting battle with the unknown. My last realization made me think, in particular, that is being afraid of feeling like an outsider again. Being an outsider has, unfortunately, been a familiar thread in my life - being a Vietnamese foreigner in Germany, being the unpopular nerd at school, being the working class family representative at a private elite university, being a woman in a male-dominant industry, and now being myself in a system of ego-driven souls.


3. Choose love, for yourself.

With these realizations, I can now look at myself and the situation Iam in from a bird`s eye perspective. What I see is a big complex of buildings, all grey, with me all by herself, like the only colourful, but small spot on this grey canvas. What dawned on me was that I was so focussed on my spiritual intention - to choose and give love - that I didn`t direct my own intention towards myself. While it is probably laudable to work on unconditional love and oneness, it is likewise important to never forget oneself, because otherwise, this would lead to resentful altruism, that would hurt not only yourself, but also others. As long as we are not a Dalai Lama, we have to work on giving us the same love as we wish to give to others. Imagine you would only share love with everyone around you except yourself, you would soon, potentially unconsciously, grow resentments, disappointments, expectations on why others don`t return or match your love given to them.


When I saw myself as a small colourful spot, I felt the urge to colour my canvas even more, to make my surrounding warm and beautiful, and give me the nourishing love that I need and deserve. I wanted to tell myself that I am not alone. While this somebody may not be a match at all, with, unfortunately, harmful effects (with my Buddhist side teaching me not to make them wrong, but choosing compassion for their ego-driven world view), I have now met so many wonderful people that have truly been there for me. I was able to meet amazing Coaching friends, who immediately jumped on the phone when my dad was hospitalized or when I hit rock bottom (more than a few times). I have my spiritual friends, who understand and appreciate my whole being, always inspire me with their spiritual view of things, and with whom I can connect deeply. By being myself I have found even more amazing communities of like-minded, genuine, and supportive people, such as the Portfolio Collective or the London`s Writers Salon. So I know that staying true to my values and being will attract the right people I couldn`t have imagined even in my wildest dreams, given my self-doubt had been fueled by the negative environment I was in.


I know that I can be also grateful for this dark, grey experience with this somebody, because by contrasting what I stand for, I could learn what truly matters to me and who I really am. I also have trained my muscles of incredible resilience and strength, that were needed to survive in this prison and to even stay sane for my relationships, health, and soul. I have defintely mastered other skills and gained experiences in this heady environment, too, that now no one can take away from me - I now like to say that I combine head and heart. Last but not least, of cource, this transforming chapter, that is now coming to a close, has given me financial means, brought me to my first spiritual teacher, introduced to me great allies and mentors, and, ultimately, given me confidence over my skills and now my own path out of prison.


This is also a learning opportunity to finish something with grace and gratitude, yet with discernment and boundaries, as I want to learn not to be trapped in "me right, you wrong" or the search of something better (similar to the belief that a new relationship will be the solution). This is more about my continuous journey of going another step to be more myself, letting go of what has held me back, and choosing love for myself, with compassion for others. You may now know what I am talking about here :) I will dedicate a whole blog post or also a podcast episode on this soon, when the whole chapter is closed and I am already writing a new one.


Are you ready to face your fears, gently and, if needed, with help? Let me know by sending an email to hello@vietlinhle.com – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)

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