What we can’t see can often scare us.  When we shine a light on our fears they can become more manageable. A flashlight becomes a  pretty handy tool. In the darkest corners, it just takes a tiny bulb to show every hidden nook and cranny. What was once difficult to see is now fully illuminated. A flashlight is a good reminder  to shine a light on aspects of our lives that are filled with fear.


Building the Tool Box

Female worker wearing a toolbelt work apron for tools

I am continuing with this series of blog posts to help you to assemble your “Life Tool Box.” The toolbox will be filled with lots of simple living skills. When you are having a rough time in your life,  just look in the “Life Tool Box” and find the best skill to help you that day.

Each week I’ll continue to choose one common home improvement tool to represent one of these life skills. By the end of each blog post, you’ll understand exactly why you need that tool and how you can use it to improve your daily life.


This week we are adding the flashlight.

flash light

With it you can Shine a Light on your fears.

Do you remember fearing the monsters under your bed or in the closet when you were a child? This would often happen in the dark. Fear has a great deal of power in the dark. It can take whatever shape it wants to because you can’t see it. Fear can be paralyzing. When you shine light on your fears, they become much easier to define. Seeing them in the context of other things they don’t seem huge and shapeless anymore. When the monsters take on shape then you can mold them as a way of managing them.

We all have many deep seated fears that can sneak up on us when we are not looking.

Core Fears

The fears that most of us experience can be represented as “Core fears” – these include:

  1. The Fear of Inadequacy  – not being good  enough.
  2. The Fear of Losing Control – feeling flawed.
  3. The Fear of Being Worthless -not being  valued.
  4. Fear of Rejection – being alone.
  5. The Fear of Scarcity  – not having enough.
  6. The Fear of Vulnerability – being judged, criticized, ridiculed or hurt by others.
  7. The Fear of Missing out – what “if”?

Do you see a theme?

Let’s look at one of those fears and shine a flashlight on it.

The fear of inadequacy –  looking foolish or being judged by others. Imagine you need to give a presentation in front of others next week and you’re feeling panicky about it. Shine your flashlight right on it. Name your fear out loud. Tell yourself, “I am afraid of making a fool of myself in this meeting when I present my project.”

Make the shining light even brighter on the fear by bringing it into perspective.  What’s the very worst thing that could happen?

  • Will you slip up some words? Maybe
  • Will you lose your job and your home and all of your money if you make a few mistakes? Unlikely.

Getting tongue-tied at a meeting is a pretty common experience and something many people can relate to.  It is unpleasant but not a disaster. If you allow yourself to go down the dark path ending up at losing your job, homeless and alone you are doing something known as “catastrophizing.” Catastrophic thinking flourishes in the dark crevices of our mind.

When you shine a light on the fear you can recognize that – yes – it may have been an unpleasant experience to feel that you didn’t perform perfectly but it won’t end in a catastrophe you are well on your way to managing your fears.

So, next time you experience fear  – shine a light on it and ask yourself –

“What am I afraid of?”

“Does it fit a core fear?”

“What is the worst thing that could happen?”

“Am I catastrophizing?”

“What is the likelihood that the catastrophe will happen?”

And then remind yourself of the famous quote by Georgia O’Keeffe:

“I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I want to do.”

Write in the comments and tell me – What won’t you allow fear stop you from doing?

Project111-150x150Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’re  been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, consider her ecourses.