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  • Writer's pictureBrandilyn Hallcroft

Overcoming Fears: The Power of Love and Mindfulness

I watched an interview with Mark Laita, the creator of Soft White Underbelly. He was talking about a book called “Course in Miracles” and quoted a line that said, “Everything we do is either an act of love or an act of fear.” This resonated with me. I began thinking about it and applying it to my own life. I also thought about society and how people react to things, using that idea in what I observed. 

When I act in love, I am funny and joyful, I feel good, and my emotions are stable. When I act in fear, I am anxious, my head is scrambled, I feel tense, and my emotions are unstable. So then I started to think about things I fear: heights, being on video, public speaking, spiders, and snakes. Those are obvious things that everyone can easily call out when asked what they are afraid of, but what about the real stuff?

Transforming Fear into Love: Real-Life Stories of Empowerment

How Fears Are Formed

When I was 21, I got a job at a dental supply company. There was an intense training that lasted a month. Every week, we had a test; you had to pass the test with an 85% or above; otherwise, you would get fired. I passed all the tests. During the last week of training, everyone in the class had to give a presentation. I stayed up late creating mine; it looked perfect, and the artwork was the best in the class. A friend of mine got the job with me, and she presented before me, but she bombed her presentation. Watching her bomb her presentation got into my head, which was crazy because I started taking acting classes when I was twelve. I danced on stage in front of hundreds of people since I was five, so I was never afraid of being in front of crowds, but this freaked me out! 

It was my turn next. I stood up to speak, and I started choking; I was choking so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. Then, someone stood up and handed me a glass of water. As soon as it was in my hand, I started shaking so hard that the water spilled out of the top of the glass. The more I reacted, the worse I felt, and I couldn’t stop; everyone was looking at me with pity. I finally turned away from the class, drank water, wiped the tears from my eyes, took a deep breath, then turned around and blurted out my presentation. I bombed it, just like my friend before me. I didn’t describe things the way I practiced; I rushed through it to be done with it.

The next day, my friend and I got fired from the job. This started my fear of public speaking, which I avoided like the plague for years. Finally, when I was 42 years old, my grandmother passed away. My brother spoke at my grandfather’s funeral; he was the oldest grandson. I felt it was my duty to speak at my grandmother’s funeral since I was the oldest granddaughter. I said I would do it. I practiced the whole week. The day came, and I did it; the speech was good; at the end, I said, “Standing in front of all of you today was my grandmother’s last gift to me, the gift of overcoming my fear of public speaking.” I loved her so much that my love for her overcame my fear. 

Three years later, I got a job where I had to present in front of my co-workers. That was the first time in 24 years that I got the opportunity to speak in a professional environment. At the end of my presentation I told them the story about that job when I formed the fear; I told them that the presentation I had just done was the first time I finally conquered my fear. They were surprised, and I hope the story inspired them. 

Conquering Fear

Overcoming Fear in the Real World

I worked somewhere that was a very anxious environment. I would get so tense being there. I wasn’t anxious when I started, but within the first week, it crept in. I would do my mantras, mentally prep myself before work, and stay calm. During the first four months, it was getting to me. I knew I wasn’t going to change the environment I was in; you can’t control the way others behave. All I could do was change the way I thought about the situation. The only way I could change my feelings about it was to understand why I was thinking these things. I realized I was afraid.

I feared my co-workers losing their jobs or leaving for a new job. I was afraid I could lose my job. I was afraid of someone getting yelled at and becoming upset; seeing others upset was upsetting to me. I was afraid of not doing something the way it was expected to be done and getting yelled at myself. So, how could I deal with all of this fear? One particular person there enticed this fear, so I started to think about that person. I thought, why would this person do this? After walking in those shoes for a minute, I realized that that person was fearful, too, but of different things. This was such a breakthrough moment. I was in an environment where everyone was reacting to fear and it was bouncing from one person to the next.

If everything we do is either an act of fear or love, and I felt good acting with love and uncomfortable acting in fear, I resolved to better manage the situation for myself while there. I told myself I would not be afraid of any of this anymore. I became very mindful of my reactions and started acting in love. If someone got yelled at, I would go to them afterward, listen to them, consult them, and be supportive. I told myself if I get fired, I get fired, I am going to be okay; the universe is going to protect me. I told myself I wouldn't allow someone else's behavior to dictate my own. I would lighten the tension in the room by telling jokes or doing something silly. Co-workers left, and they found other jobs; I was genuinely happy for them. I stayed in touch with them and continued to talk to most of them daily. After about a month of practicing this, I wasn’t afraid and was no longer anxious. My personal power belonged to me again, and it felt good to be the moral booster in the group.

Unknowingly Overcoming Fears

Recently, the magazine publisher I write for asked me to be a guest on her podcast. I told her yes without asking questions or getting any details. She told me we would talk to each other on a video call for the podcast. The day arrived when I was scheduled to be on the podcast. I hadn’t given it a lot of thought. I didn’t do much to prepare beyond making sure my webcam was working right and there wasn’t something weird in the background.

We started to talk; she began asking me questions about my journals. The whole time, I thought it wasn’t something anyone would see, so I didn’t show my journals to the camera. She had already seen them, but I described them and explained why I created them. I love talking about the journals that I create because they are tools to help others on their path in life. They encourage happiness mindfulness, and I love the idea of people being happy. So I talked and talked with no fears in my mind. 

After we were done, I learned that the podcast wasn’t just an audio thing; it was a video that had been streamed live on YouTube and would be posted on different platforms. Ha, I just overcame my fear of being on video, and I didn’t even know it! I watched it after, and although I can see where I can improve, I didn’t totally SUCK! I guess I’m not afraid of being on video anymore; the universe works in mysterious ways. It's amazing how we can get in our heads about something and become destructive of ourselves because of the fear we create.

Reflecting on the journey from fear to love, it becomes clear that the power to transform our experiences lies within us. By recognizing the roots of our fears and consciously choosing to act with love, we can reclaim our personal power and find peace in any situation. My experiences, from choking during a presentation to unknowingly participating in a live podcast, have taught me that facing our fears head-on can lead to unexpected and profound growth. When we approach life with love and mindfulness, we open ourselves to opportunities for healing and empowerment. Remember, every step taken with love is a step toward a more joyful and fulfilling life.

**If you want to read about the time I overcame my fear of heights, I wrote about it in this blog post: From Poisoned Fantasies to Parisian Realities: The Power of Dreams & Journaling


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