020 Dancing with Fear

by reeger on March 10, 2014



OFFICE THEMES OF FEAR: There seems to be a theme recently in the patients I have been taking care of, the theme is fear: Fear of Change, Fear of Failure, Fear of Success, Fear of Letting Go of what is familiar (even if what is familiar is unhealthy, or harmful, or not productive) We have even been talking about Fear of Losing Weight, Fear of Food, Fear of What people will think or say.

Will Smith line from the movie Earth, “Danger is Real. Fear is an option.” When I heard this, I thought, yeah fear is like a light switch, you can turn it on or off!

It seems that there is a lot of buzz around fear these days: Getting over it, resolving it, conquering it, Curing it, and there is even a popular book right now by Jon Acuff called “Punch Fear in the Face.”

I thought I can take a hint, I’ll make a podcast about fear and how to get over it, let it go, once and for all!
It was going to be a Great podcast! We were going to go over the Sympathetic nervous system and Parasympathetic nervous system. I was going to tell you different methods to over come fear.
And the main arc my story hinged on the time I was hit by a truck, and how that experience taught me to overcome all the fear in my life once and for all, forever. If you have listened to my podcast before, I told some of this story in a past episode, but it remains a relevant story to this day.
In my mind it was a beautiful podcast episode. And you wrote me letters, sharing your stories about overcoming your own fears, and we connected, bonded, all on the fact that we have overcome our fears!

There was just one problem with my hypothetical podcast on helping you rid yourself of fear.
I am not over my own fears.
I have not cured myself of fear.
I have not out-run fear or beat fear up.
But neither has fear beat me.
Because the fact of the matter is, danger is sometimes real and sometimes not, but regardless of whether danger is real or not, We experience FEAR.
I DO NOT think curing yourself of fear or turning the Fear switch off, is the point or goal or even desirable. So I am not going to create a podcast about something I don’t believe in.

And if you are wondering what this has to do with WLS I’m here to tell you, it has everything to do with WLS because the bottom line is, WLS is not about just your weight, or your pants size, or smaller portions, or any of one of those things. WLS is about TRANSFORMATION.
And, transformation can be very very scary.
Transformation can bring up a lot of fear: I hear about those fears. I experience some of these fears myself every day.
At the top of this episode I mentioned some of those fear. But just to review here: there is fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, fear of hurting people, fear of being told you are selfish, fear of other peoples opinions, fear of attention, fear of being ignored, fear of hunger, fear of sadness, fear of your past, Fear of your future, fearing a standing up for yourself.

A question I ask in the office and that I ask myself is:
What FEARS does change or transformation bring up for you? And WHY?
This is a really important question to ask yourself and more importantly seek out the answer.
Because if we don’t get to the ROOT source of the FEAR, We can get emotionally stuck.
Do you ever feel emotionally stuck?
Let me give you some examples of the ways I see people being stuck:
They are in a love relationship that is not loving and does not support them but they don’t leave. They are in a job that they hate but they don’t seek out other opportunities.
They have friendships that take more from them than they give, but they don’t severe the friendship.
They want to date but don’t get off the sidelines and into the game.
They are treated disrespectfully but do not address it or stand up for themselves.
When we get emotionally stuck, We want to get unstuck, right? This stuff can be painful! And nobody likes pain, it’s an uncomfortable place for the body, mind, and spirit to reside.

So how do you get unstuck?? I’ll tell you what you do NOT do. You Do NOT get unstuck by retreating back to what’s familiar and safe, all those old behaviors, old habits, old thought patterns, old unhealthy ways of being, acting, responding, not responding…. Because you know where old habits leads? They lead to Weight Regain, return of the diseases associated with excess weight, and return on unhappier quality of life. You do not keep doing the same things over and over again but expect a different result. Right? That’s the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over gain but expecting different results.

So how do you get unstuck? I believe the answer lies at the beginning: What are you afraid of and why? And then rather than look at the things you fear as your enemy that you need to retreat from, or concur, or over come, or beat up, or turn off… You instead view your fear as something that you turn towards, that you look at honestly, that you then move into not out of anger or resentment, but out of curiosity, and grace, and dare I say, even Love and Compassion. Yes, face your fears with Love and Compassion.

This podcast episode will be about having a relationship with fear. Im going to do this by sharing with you my own evolving relationship with my own fear because I don’t think my story is that different from anyone else’s. And it is my humble hope that in hearing this episode, you might re-consider your own relationship with fear and in so doing you can get unstuck and move forward with your WLS TRANSFORMATION.

When I was child Fear was like a bully.
When I was teen Fear was my judgmental critique sitting in the corner telling me I was not pretty enough or smart enough.
When I was a young adult, Fear took up residence in my mind and told me if I tried something new, like going back to school or seeking a better job, or ask someone out on a date, I might fail and then feel embarrassed. So I would give up before I ever even tried. Looking back I think a lot of my fear of failure was rooted in insecurity and a lack of confidence that I wasn’t good enough. I also don’t think that my feelings were that different from my friends, we all struggled with some version of these feelings.
However, I hated the limits I let fear place on me. I wanted to break free but I did not know how. I felt stuck in a loop of self-defeat driven by fear.

And then one day I was hit by a truck while riding my bike.
My body was bruised and battered but not broken. Well other than a permanent dent in my left gluteus maximus.
My mind however, well my mind, was not so unscathed.
I faced my mortality, very clearly. And I got very clear on fears place in my life and how fear was holding me back from living my life.
And like a light switch, I turned fear off, and went on with my life.
I went on with my life. I did a lot things. I traveled. I met people. I did things that I did not think I was capable of doing.
It was great.
Years went by.

My life became comfortable. And then my comfort became complacency. And my complacency became boredom. And my boredom becomes restlessness. And I thought, I want to do more with my life and I want to give more. I thought, I know, I’ll launch a podcast! I’ll create the WLSP. And I had all these thoughts and excitement and… and… and…, then who should come walking through the back door of my heart, but my old haranguer, Fear.

Didn’t I turn you off like a light switch years ago? Remember? But no.
You’re like a spot I can’t rub out of my shirt, or an ally cat keeping me awake at night, or an old ex that just won’t get the hint and leave me alone.

But then I started thinking more about the meaning of fear: I started exploring the role, for better or for worse, that fear has played in my life. I realized that fear is why I hold my daughters hand when I cross the street, and that’s a good thing. And fear is why I stay on the phone with my elderly father to talk just a little longer, and that’s a good thing. And fear is a big reason why I took that life saving breath, and that’s a good thing. And fear lets me know that I am alive and that my life is worth living, and that’s a good thing.

FRom there I started thinking about the fear I was facing in starting a podcast: fear that I wouldn’t be any good, fear that nobody would listen, fear of failure, fear of success, too. I decided that given that fact that I have not cured myself of fear, and I cannot run from my fears or beat them up, I might as well walk toward them with love and compassion. That was the only choice I saw and that I still see for myself and for you.

If you feel stuck, not progressing in your WLS transformation, or maybe you have even slipped backwards, I invite you to reach out to your fears. Call them by their name. Fear of Failure. Fear of Change. Fear of …
Then I want you to emotionally walk towards those fears like they are your new dance partner. Really. I really mean that. If your life is a dance floor that you hopefully get to dance on for 80 or 90 years, then choose your partners wisely. And one of the most important partners you will ever have is your dance partner named Fear. Because fear, if you allow them, explore them, and dance with them, has the most to teach you, and in so doing will push your beyond your comfort zone, out of what you knew you could accomplish into what you only dreamed of accomplishing. That is what TRANSFORMING your relationship of fear is all about. That is what is what weight loss surgery transformation is all about too.

So as I conclude this episode here is my call to action:
I want you to do three things:

1) Identify what you are afraid of? Name your fears. My fears are: The fear of failure; The fear of loss; The fear of rejection; The fear of change…
2) State how those fears are keeping you stuck from progressing on your journey.
3) Claim something you are going to do, today, to change how you dance with those fears. For example your could begin a daily journal where you talk directly to your fears, or you could talk with a trusted friend about the fears, or you could write to me at reeger@weightlosssurgerypodcast.com because I want to know, how are you transforming your relationship with fear?

You can also connect with me on twitter @preegerc, or pinterest, and while you are at this website don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

In Peace and With Connection,

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Loved this podcast! Nice topic!

If fear arises, and if I look around and I do not see an danger, Then I will pause, take a breath and come back into this moment. I have discovered that fear is pulling me out this moment. The mind has created a false situation. When I am in this moment there is no fear, unless there is a bear chasing me. Fear can be useful in some situations.

Be well!


reeger March 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Hi Sam,
I love this. It reminds me of something I heard in a yoga class: The difference between fear and excitement is breath.
This is so very true. When we are fearful we hold our breath. When we are excited we breath. Now when I am experiencing fear of any kind, I always seek to focus on my breath first. I find this to be very helpful.


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