Topic Tuesday: Fear

Heather McAlister“Overcoming Fear” (By: Heather McAlister)

It took me a long time to accept that my life had been run by fear. Fear of what people thought of me, fear of how I looked, fear of food, fear of losing a loved one, fear of money, and just about everything else in my life.

Growing up I was shy and always wanted to be alone. Being shy was hard enough, but when fear was introduced to me it made my life ten times harder. This is one of the things that triggered my eating disorder.

My mother also suffered from an eating disorder before she had my siblings and I. She was told the reason she was starving herself was because she was looking for attention. She believed whoever told her that and would beat herself up for feeling the way she did because she thought she was being selfish.

My mother unintentionally planted this fear in me. I grew up watching her tell herself that she was fat and worthless. I began to say the same things to myself whenever I had failed at something or when I thought I wasn’t skinny enough. I thought this was a normal way to talk to myself and it took me years to reprogram.

The process of recovering from an eating disorder was difficult, but it also took years to find a way to love myself because I never knew what that was. How do you go from telling yourself that you are ugly and worthless? How do you love yourself the way you are and your body just the way it is? It really felt like a challenge that I would not be able to take on, but I did it anyway.

I started very slowly by talking to myself. Whenever a negative thought would come into my head like, “You are too ugly!” I would say, “No! You are beautiful!” When I would say, “You can’t do this because you are too scared.” I would tell myself that I was not really scared but braver than I thought. This allowed me to stop any negative thought that would cross my mind and trained my brain to have a more positive thought pattern.

I eventually started having to move to a new kind of practice because, as we all know, life happens and stress can put us back into those old negative thought patterns. During a time in my life when I felt overwhelmed, I felt myself sink into depression and I began this practice.

It first started when I just felt completely out of control of my life. So I grabbed some hot pink lipstick and wrote on the mirror that I looked into everyday. The words I wrote were, “I AM IN CONTROL!” When I woke up the next morning and looked in that mirror, those were the first words I spoke. This created an intention, a positive start to my day and would again trigger that pattern of positive thinking.

As I continued this practice (and still continue today), I realized that this fear that I had been carrying around was fear of being myself and what I was capable of. There are so many horrible things that life has throne at me from an eating disorder to loss. But going through these situations I saw just how I have made it through every single one of them stronger and more beautiful that I was before.

What I want you to know is that you are already strong and beautiful! You will come out on the other side stronger and more beautiful ready to take on what life throws at you because you are in control of your happiness. So get out there and conquer the day gorgeous!

About the Author

Heather is a Nashville native and a Holistic Health Coach. She became a Health Coach because of her own struggle with an eating disorder and years of body image issues. She created Dancer Inside to help young women with body image issues find balance in their lives by creating a healthy relationship with food and with themselves.