Self Help Books or Society’s Necessary Reading Material?

“You will never realize your best destiny through the avoidance of fear. Rather, you will realize it through the exercise of courage, which means taking whatever action is most liberating to the soul, even when you are afraid.”

I stumbled across this quote while reading “Steering by Starlight” by Martha Beck. This is considered to be a “self help book” which I was completely unaware of until I opened the flap. There were those awful words that so many people are embarassed to admit. Watch the self help aisle at the book store, most people are masking themselves and hiding books under their coats so nobody can see. Who wants to admit that they need help? I decided to put my sterotypes aside as I knew Martha Beck was an amazing life coach.

During the reading of this book I practiced a lot of great exercises to learn about myself and I read a lot about magic and fears. While the magic was a little far-fetched for my taste the fear section struck me. I have always been a person who has a lot of fears. Afraid of the dark, scary movies, roller coasters, the ocean, heights, failure, poverty… The list could go on and on. Fears can only do one thing, hold you back.

In order to help with anxiety I decided to meditate more. This sounds great in theory but there is one problem, it doesn’t totally relax me. Right as I am entering deep relaxation I get anxiety and my heart starts racing. Martha Beck explained this exact same incident happening to her. The solution however is what struck me. In order to calm your anxiety you must face your fears. It sounds counter intuitive. I have to face my fear that gives me all the anxiety in the world? The difference is when you are facing a fear the anxiety is rooted not only from nervousness but excitement. Even if you fail you will gain something from this feeling. Now to put this theory to the test.

I was asked to deliver a presentation in front of a group of psychologists. I have never been someone who could just get up and speak in front of an audience. This seemed like the perfect time to test my fears. I prepared myself mentally and emotionally and delivered this presentation with all the fear in the world. The funny thing was once I opened my mouth and began speaking all of my fears were lifted. I felt as if I could talk about my topic forever. This was liberating and it opened the door for my career to go in another direction, public speaking. This is exciting as now I can reach a much larger audience.

What fears do you have that you could face today? Breathe and emerge yourself in that fear. Even if you can’t conquer it this time you will become closer and this will bring you closer to finding out who you are and most importantly who you can grow to become. Living in fear is living with low level stress, your body will always punish you for harboring it, it’s the holidays, so give your body a gift.

About The Author

Michelle Hastie

Michelle Hastie Thompson is a recovered binge eater who turned her binge eating around and even got featured in Shape Magazine helping a woman lose weight in “My Weight Loss Diaries". She helps women end the battle of binge and overeating, fall in love with movement, and finally lose the weight permanently. A veteran weight loss coach for almost ten years, she is a Ph.D. student in Health Psychology and has three published books, the most recent titled, "Have Your Cake and Be Happy Too: A Joyful Approach to Weight Loss”.