Hey there! I’m so happy you stopped by! I want to take this moment to let you know I see you.
I recognize that you worry about every single aspect of parenting – hopefully not all at once – but in each passing moment we worry. Everyone does it. Worry, doubt, and fear are the most common traits we have. It doesn’t matter whether you have so much money you can give your child everything – plus two nannies and a housekeeper, or if you use the food bank and get donated clothing, or if you’re living in one of the many situations in between.
What I know is that every single mother I’ve ever talked to, professionally or socially, has confided in me that they worry. They worry that their child’s mood means they screwed up as a mother. They worry that staying home will lead to a child that never moves out, or working leads to children that don’t feel loved. Honestly, you’d cry at some of the fears I’ve heard, and worse, you’d even think that some of those other fears sound so good. You’ll wonder why you never worried about it from the start.
We’re good at that. Self doubt and worry. That leads to guilt when we don’t live up to unrealistic expectations.
No one’s immune, but some people are better able to move on and shut out those voices that tell us we’re failing, that we’re not good enough. Today I’m going to show you how it’s done. Fear and doubt won’t have the same hold on you any more.
How to Shake Off Doubt, Fear, and Worry
Shaking off doubt means we need to face our fears. We need to really look at what we’re worried about so we can fully understand what we’re up against. Sometimes our fear is vague, it sits in the pit of our stomach and we never really deal with it because we can’t define it.
We go over something we said or did a million times for days or weeks after it’s over.
Why do we do that?! What purpose does it serve to sit there and beat ourselves up for days or weeks (or years)?
Often it’s a sign that we’re not fully in line with our core values.
As a parent this means we acted or reacted in a way that goes against what we value most as a quality.
How To Stop The Cycle of Guilt
We go over past moments with guilt when they don’t align with our values. We hold onto those moments when we recognize that we wanted to do something different, but we can’t figure out why we didn’t act differently in the first place.
For instance, let’s say you yelled at your kiddo for spilling milk. Then the situation snowballs and next thing you know you’re slamming cupboards, muttering under your breath, and still yelling. Plus your kiddo is upset, and the milk is still spilled. And then you’re late… The whole thing just keeps going. You know you shouldn’t have yelled, you apologized, but it still sits with you.
- What about the situation do I wish I did differently?
You might say, I wish I didn’t yell.
- If I didn’t [yell], what could I have done differently?
You might say, I could have asked him to clean up the milk nicely.
- What is important to me about asking nicely?
I want my children to respect me, and know I’m there if they need help.
- What’s even more important than my children respecting me and knowing I’m there for them?
- If they respect me, they know I love them.
- What’s even more important than love?
You might answer connection.
Keep asking yourself these questions until you know you’ve hit the most important value to you. Then ask yourself, “Now that I know [connection] is so important to me, how can I use connection the next time I’m faced with this kind of situation?”
But what about when our whole day is touched by doubt and fear?
Connecting with your value is still extremely important. The above process will help with the pervading fears as well. You can also explore the larger fears to help you see if a different value is working on your life.
- Define Your Fear
The first step to shaking off doubt is examining it and allowing yourself to be very clear about what it looks like. Find the edges, where does doubt stops and calmness, or better: confidence, begin?
Part of defining doubt is clearly expressing the life cycle of your concerns. What does the situation look like now? What do your fears tell you will happen in a year? Five? Ten? How will life change if these worries take shape and form and become real?
What’s the recurring theme that runs through your fears and worries? As life moves from one stage to the next, do your fears, doubts, and worries change also, or do they evolve but the core stays the same?
- Define Your Need.
When you look at these doubts and fears, they hint at something bigger and deeper. They let you know what’s important to you. From here you can define your deeper need.
- look at your current fear. Label it, recognize when it happens and why it happens.
- What is your fear trying to tell you about what you really want? If you’re afraid your child will be hurt, safety for your child may be what you’re seeking.
- How will you know when your child is [safe] or not? Replace safe with whatever it is you’re seeking.
From here it can be useful to also look toward your child’s adulthood. What do you hope they’ll be like as adults? Do you want them to be confident, have good life satisfaction, do you want them to be kind? If you could raise your children to be exactly as you imagine, what would they be like?
Are your current fears leading you toward raising your child to be the adult you hope they’ll become? If not, what could you do differently to begin moving closer to that goal?
Recognize the Positive Role Doubt Plays
We can listen to our fears, doubt, and worry with curiosity and follow them to our need, then we’re able to find ways to move forward with greater confidence, strength, and determination.
That’s right, your fears are there to show you how to focus on what’s most important to you. So often we get caught up by our fears and guilt, we focus on them with pinpoint precision – to the exclusion of all else. We give them a lot of power to hold us in place. But we can also use them to move forward.
With some practice you can broaden your focus and see how your fears and worries can actually help you discover how to move forward.
The best ways I’ve found to actually move passed these thoughts of doubt is to dig into the
Shift Your Focus to What You Want More Of
We’ve heard it time and time again, what you focus on you get more of. The idea is if you focus on something you want, you’re more likely to get it. People often use this as a way to try to get more money or love or a fancy car – and maybe that works – but the way your focus really works in the most stellar fashion is when you focus on what you can do.
Let’s suppose you may be worried your children would grow up anxious. We ask, ‘If they’re not anxious, what would they be?’ Then we might answer, ‘Confident!’
Instead of focusing on what we don’t want (anxious) we focus on what we do want (confident).
Some suggestions say to visualize what you want, really see it happening (and that’s great!) But that’s not enough. You need to take it a step farther. What can you do to instil confidence in your children?
Develop Your Skills
We don’t always know the answers to these questions, not right when we ask them. But you often know where to start finding the answers.
So you take the first step. You may begin with the most basic actions, but the more skill you gain, the easier it gets, and the bigger the action you can take.
Fear and worry can hold us in place if we let them. But you have the power to shift your focus and take the first steps to creating a new reality for yourself.
Everything you need is within you. When you shift your focus, you allow yourself to see infinite new possibilities. As parents you are the most powerful tool you can ever find. But first you need to know what you want. So use your fears and worries to guide you toward new possibilities.