fear Archives - The Self-Worth Experiment

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How to overcome your fears (without having to find the courage)
Feb 26

How to overcome your fears (without having to find the courage)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

For years, I have wanted nothing more but to leave my day job behind. And earn a living doing what I love, by helping and supporting others, providing healing and information so they can improve their life.

But somehow, it never happens.

Because all my attempts are half-hearted and whenever I do see progress, I self-sabotage. Simply because I am scared.

I fear the consequences of leaving a job that pays well, even if it is boring and I am not passionate about it. I worry that I will fail if I give my own venture an actual, serious try and that would mean game (and hopes) over.

So, an unsurmountable wall of fear always towered between me and my dreams. And I believed that the reason why I could not overcome my fears was that I lacked the courage.

Sure, I tried. But fear was always stronger. I am just not a courageous person. End of story.

But then, out of the blue (and with some equine help), I discovered a way out of my courage conundrum.

Or should I say…a way around it.

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How to conquer your fears in 3 wacky steps
Oct 11

3 surprising steps to conquer your fears

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

How many things in life have you missed out on because you were too scared? And how many chances have you not taken because of fear?

My whole life, fear stopped me from doing so many amazing things that I would have enjoyed, that would have enriched my life.

I could never travel because I was terrified of trains and planes. And I was anxious of going places I had never been before, of the risks, traps and threats that awaited me at my unknown destination.

I couldn’t drive a car. Because I was horrified I might stall the car at the crossroads and everybody would think I was an incompetent imbecile. I was worried I may accidentally hit someone, or be hit myself and get hurt.

I couldn’t even go to the movies. Because I was so scared about what the other people would think of me if I had to get up in the middle of the film to use the toilet.

And when I faced the decision whether I should move to the UK from Austria, where I grew up, fear completely paralysed me. My thoughts and worries were spiralling out of control. Endless scenarios played in my mind about the potential disastrous consequences of my choices. A relentless barrage of “What ifs” kept me up at night.

And I could just not make a decision.

I knew the offer I had to start a fully-funded PhD studentship was an excellent opportunity I would not get in Austria. But my fear wouldn’t even let me consider it.

And at this point, I had to find a way to conquer my fears. Or else I would miss out on what transpired to be a life-changing experience.

And, as it turned out, there are only 3 slightly wacky (but very powerful) steps we need to take to stop fear from stopping us.

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How to get unstuck (without leaving your comfort zone)
Aug 28

How to get unstuck (without leaving your comfort zone)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I love life. But sometimes I feel like I am sitting at the edge of it. Looking in, observing.

Yearning for the adventures I want to experience, gauging the mountains I want to climb, pondering about the goals I want to achieve.

But never moving. I watch other people accomplish what is only real in my imagination. See them reach milestones I only ever meet in my careful plans. Witness them living the life I crave.

And I envy them. I try to move forward. But it feels like I run on the spot, trapped on a giant foam roller. Exhausting myself turning the wheel underneath my feet without ever progressing towards my dreams.

And I beat myself up for my ineptitude. Curse my job for occupying too much of my time. Blame my family for all their needs, wants and demands that stop me from moving towards my goals.

I feel angry about my current circumstances that keep me trapped. Resent the people who hold me in place.

When the truth is that I am scared. Terrified that I may fail and know once and for all that I am not good enough to reach my goals. Horrified of how my life may change if I succeed.
And petrified of the unknown. The unexplored blank space that lurks between my familiar existence and my goals and dreams. Full of threats, dangers and risks, but also possibilities I will never discover.

Because I am stuck. Caught in the unsurmountable pull of my comfort zone. Watching life rather than living it. Making plans instead of executing them. My back aching under the pressure of unfulfilled desires, frustration and disappointment.

With one question burning on my mind: How can I ever leave my comfort zone and finally get unstuck?

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How to overcome fear of judgement
Dec 27

How to overcome fear of judgement

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

My husband recently acquired a new Christmas jumper. Yes, this is him modelling it in the picture! He wears it everywhere. Dropping little one off at school, to shopping, to the cinema, at restaurants. EVERYWHERE!

And not only is the jumper visually…well, let’s say flamboyant, the eyes also light up and it plays the Darth Vader theme. I kid you not!

A few years ago, I would have been mortified. Incapable of walking alongside him while his belly was trumpeting the Imperial March.

A few years ago, I would have been so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl and hide in a hole somewhere. My face would have been bright red with shame. I would have looked around anxiously, horrified of the judgement in the eyes of the passers-by.

And I would have been furious with my husband for putting me through it all. Intentionally! I would have blamed him and resented him for my suffering.

But today, I think it’s hilarious. I am actually considering getting one for myself. Because I learned two crucial truths in the past 10 years that made all the difference.

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How to boost your self-worth (by getting rid of your shoes)
Nov 19

How to boost your self-worth (and get rid of your shoes)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Imagine for a moment hitting yourself unconscious with a shoe periodically throughout the day.

You get up in the morning, first thing you do, WHAM! Shoe on the head! Because of this, you are unconscious most of the morning. As soon as you come to your senses, WHAM! There we go again.

And so the day goes by. One blow to the head after another. Until it’s time to go to bed. Last shoe of the day. WHAM! Good night!

If you’re now thinking “What’s the point of this? This is crazy talk. Who would do that to themselves?”

The answer is you! And I! And over 95% of the population of industrialised countries. Let me explain.

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A peaceful way to restore emotional balance
Oct 27

A peaceful way to restore emotional balance

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

“The neighbours will call the police if you don’t stop screaming!”

My boyfriend was gripping my wrists. He pinned me into a corner of his bedroom. I could see the concern in his eyes. And the disbelief.

I tried to clear my head. It felt as if I was waking up from a nightmare. A tsunami of self-loathing and shame washed over me. What was going on? What was wrong with me?

Tears streamed down my face. My throat was sore because I had been screaming for minutes. My hands were bruised and aching where I had punched my fists against the walls.

I didn’t even know what had triggered the outburst. A small, innocent remark? A tiny criticism?

My boyfriend was the most caring, gentle and patient person I knew. He didn’t deserve this appalling behaviour, the emotional abuse and heartache.

And it wasn’t the first time either. For the last weeks I had lashed out at him whenever we met. One moment I was fine. The next I was overpowered by all-consuming anger and aggression. Without apparent reason.

Was I losing my mind?

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The secret to reclaiming your life from anxiety
Aug 10

The secret to reclaiming your life from anxiety

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

In 2003, my life had shrunk to the size of my one-bedroom flat. I was stuck in a prison of my own making. Paralysed by fear, insecurity and anxiety.

I felt like life was running away from me. As if I was standing behind a giant window, a one-way mirror, watching other people move by. I witnessed their adventures, failures and successes. I saw them laugh, cry, love and grow.

They had happiness and fulfilment. They had fun, enjoyment, freedom. They lived.

They were oblivious of the pathetic, shivering creature observing them from the dark back room. The terrified bundle of misery that envied them, wondered how they did it. How they could be so care-free, light and joyful.

To me, every aspect of life was a threat. I was traumatised by the past, horrified by the present and petrified of an uncertain future. Fear, anxiety and panic determined my every move. And I knew it had to change. I had to reclaim my life.

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[Infographic] How to break the cycle of fear
Jul 07

How to break the cycle of fear [infographic]

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I suffered from crippling anxiety for over 10 years. I was stuck in a prison of my own making. Watching other people live, laugh, love and grow but too scared to participate.

I was terrified by every aspect of life. ​Horrified that the traumas of my past would catch up with me, petrified by the terrors lurking in the present and dreading an unknown future.

I was a mere shadow of my former self. I felt pathetic, weak and worthless. My quality of life was terrible and sometimes life as it was didn’t feel worth living.

But I managed to work through it. Panic and anxiety are no longer parts of my life. I am free to make my own choices without compromise. I am free.

And today I want to share with you my most beloved exercise. It was the first and fundamental step in my escape from the clutches of fear. If you only did one thing to overcome your anxiety, this is the one I’d recommend!

Simply because it breaks the “cycle of fear”. I’ll explain…

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Why failure can be good for us
May 29

Why failure can be good for us

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

I am Austrian. And Austrians ski. Actually, we learn it in school! It’s part of the curriculum! I kid you not!

So there I was, at 13 years old, finding myself on my second school skiing course. I tried my best to control the two planks on my feet. I made efforts not to fall out of ski lifts. I strained my eyes in an attempt to defeat my snow blindness. And I could still feel my legs turning down the slopes when I was lying in my bed at night.

But still, at the end of the week, my teacher took me to one side and said: “Berni, you are hopeless. You are a menace to yourself and others. Please do us all a favour and NEVER ski again.”

I was shocked. Despite all the blood, sweat and tears (literally!), I was a complete and utter skiing disaster. The school skiing dummy. Loser of the year. A failure. How could this have happened?

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What to do when you are bullied by a narcissist
Apr 18

What to do when you are bullied by a narcissist

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

Have you ever dealt with a full-blown narcissist in your life?

They flatter you, court you, are nice and accommodating while it serves their purpose. Once you realise that this isn’t a mutual relationship, you are stuck.

The narcissists invest just enough time, energy and money to keep you amused. They tangle carrots on sticks in front of your nose and persuade you to stay another day.

But all the while you know that they are taking advantage of you, betraying you behind your back and abusing your good will, loyalty and dedication.

Living with a narcissist as your partner, parent or in work is frustrating, exasperating and painful. It undermines your self-worth and confidence. You feel inferior, never good enough for them.

Yet, it is extremely difficult to escape their clutch and free yourself. Because they know exactly how to lure you back in.

And once you sever your relationship for good, once you choose your physical and mental health over them, their wrath can be brutal, disproportionate (sometimes with psychopathic tendencies) and unforgiving.

But why is that?

Why do narcissists act and react the way they do? What is driving them?

And why do we fall in narcissists’ traps? Why is it so difficult to escape?

But, most importantly for you: how can you protect yourself?

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