Menu

How to Stop Taking on Other People’s Fears and Live Freely

Jumping Girl

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~Pema Chodron

You wake up in the morning, it is sunny outside, and you are grateful for this brand new day. You are enthusiastic to get it started. You take a deep breath and go outside; then you see some gum in your street.

Will you pick it up and stick it to your T-shirt, or maybe even have a little taste of it? Of course not!

Please excuse the gross opening, but bear with me for a second.

So many of us have done something just like that, energetically, myself included.

I still remember an afternoon about three years ago. After work, I was on a high after watching a self-development video on the importance of going after our dreams, and in order to do so, we must conquer our fears first.

So there I was, sitting on a bench by the River Thames, following the instruction, writing about my fears about becoming an intuitive guide.

The first one popped up immediately: uncertainty!

“Alright, let me see how I can conquer it!” I devoted myself to doing the inner-work over the next three weeks.

Except, there was no progress, no breakthrough, nor much “conquering” going on. When I thought about leaving the corporate world behind and creating a business based on my true expression, I was still paralyzed.

I was disappointed. It felt like that I was running around in circles and getting nowhere.

Fortunately, my intuition visited me in my dream on one of those frustrating late nights.

In my dream, I saw so many people shouting at me: “How are you going to deal with uncertainty? Isn’t it too risky? What if you are going to lose everything that you’ve built for years?”

The images and voices were from my concerned family members, from my curious colleagues, from my cautious (perhaps overly) friends.

But none of them actually were mine!

Here is the thing: I only see uncertainty as opportunity and wonder. This was not what I was afraid of.

I woke up with such a refreshing mindset the next morning. “I cannot deal with fear that doesn’t belong to me. No matter how much I look at it, look around it, look beneath it, it was not my fear.”

Carl Jung said, “When the diagnosis is right, the healing begins.” But I got the wrong diagnosis, no wonder why I could not move forward.

I am classified as a “highly sensitive.”

On one hand, I relied on my intuitive side to see the beauty and gifts in people; on the other hand, the shadow side was that I also felt their fears and pains, so vividly at times that I thought they were my own.

I was carrying on other people’s expectations and opinions, and allowed them to blind me so that I wasn’t able to see what was really going on.

And I am not the only one. As social beings, we are all influenced by our immediate environment to various degrees.

Do you know how much fear and anxiety you might have absorbed from others and now keep in your psyche on a daily basis?

You might not even be aware of it but end up internalizing it over time.

Day after day and year after year, gradually you came to believe that they were your own fears.

Just like you cannot take responsibility for someone else’s actions, you cannot do much about those imposed fears other than lovingly release them.

But firstly, how do you know if you take on others’ fears and emotions easily and unconsciously? Here are a few signs:

You have a tendency to say yes on spot but then quickly regret it.

Chances are you’ve absorbed the other person’s anxiety about you saying no. Your decision is dictated by how others feel, not your own well-being.

But once you look into the situation, you realize that you don’t have the resources to deliver your promise. You become resentful toward your good intention earlier.

You feel drained and depleted easily.

It doesn’t always take a full-on party with hundreds of people; at times you are exhausted by just browsing your social media feeds for thirty minutes.

You are happy when your feeds are full of joyful updates, but miserable when your feeds are full of misery. You unconsciously take on what your virtual circles experience, without a healthy filter to protect your own energy.

You often feel unsettled out of the blue.

You don’t really know why; only later on you’ve learned that something unpleasant happened in your environment such as a redundancy or burglary nearby.

Or like myself earlier, you want to move forward, and you have been doing everything that you were told to do, but things just don’t work.

By the way, it is not your fault if you said yes to any of the above.

The truth is, we cannot live freely unless we actively release fears and emotions that do not belong to us.

So how can you release those imposed fears or even prevent them in the first place?

1. Develop a sovereign habit before your day kicks in.

Before you rush to browse your inbox or social media profile every morning, meditate for a few minutes and check in with yourself. “How do I feel? What do I want today?”

This way, you will set a clear intention that serves your spirit instead of being dragged away by some unimportant noises even before your day gets started.

2. Sleep only with your own energy every night.

Always finish your day with good vibes.

Take some exercises in the evening to shake off the anxiety, pains, fears, or any other forms of “psychic rubbish” that have been dumped on you, followed by a relaxing bath.

When you take care of your body and treat yourself gently, it’s like boosting your psyche to be more immune from negativity.

This method has worked exceptionally well for a hospital nurse friend, helping her recover from long-term work-related depression.

Sleep only with your own energy every night; otherwise, it’s hard to discover your most authentic self over the years.

3. Whenever a fear pops up, discern if this is yours.

Sit quietly with it, without any judgement, and ask it, “Are you mine? If not, whom do you belong to? Where are you coming from?”

Then wait for the answer. If in doubt, trust what your intuition tells you.

Once you identify the source, with your mind’s eye, send the fear back to the light and imagine yourself breathing in your own light and breathing out others’ fears.

You can repeat this process until you there are no imposed fears that need to be released for the time being.

Once you’ve released those absorbed fears, it’ll be like a spring clean on your energetic body, and you’ll better connect with your truest self.

Now you are ready to see the deeper truth and live more freely.

Once you peel off the “fear onion” layer by layer, the “real deal” will start to reveal itself.

By “real deal,” I mean your truth.

Have an intimate conversation with it.

You can start it like this: “Dear Truth, what would you like me to know at this point of life?”

The answer might surprise you, or you might feel uncomfortable to acknowledge it at first.

But it will reveal something that you can take responsibility for so that you can shift your reality, no matter where you are in life.

Don’t be alarmed or run away.

No matter what your answer is, it will push you closer to your purpose.

Back to my story earlier, beneath everyone else’s voice of “insecurity,” which I didn’t resonate with, what I was really suppressing was the sadness of letting my old self go.

I had worked so hard to build a brand new life in a foreign country on my own, but I didn’t even acknowledge my effort, sacrifice, or growth.

My old self was asking for love and witness, which had been absent for over a decade.

That was it!

I put aside the embarrassment of feeling my raw emotions for a change, and immersed myself into days of journaling, healing, (a lot) of crying, and (even more) praying.

It was fantastically liberating and nourishing, and way more effective than affirming: “I must conquer uncertainty” a thousand times.

As for the end of that story, I left the corporate world and launched my dream business in record time: one month.

After releasing those imposed fears by others, I saw my organic truth, and honoring it set me free.

When you feel the fear but really cannot do it, stop trying to “conquer” it, play with it!

It will play back and reveal the hidden truth that you need to know.

And this is how you can take leaps and bounds with grace.

Jumping girl image via Shutterstock

About Yiye Zhang

Yiye Zhang, Intuitive Guide, Abundance Coach. Yiye was “made in China” and “shipped” to the UK at seventeen. After achieving a First-class science degree and eight years of corporate experience, Yiye followed her deepest calling and launched her virtual lighthouse. She decodes the mysteries of your soul and brings more abundance into your reality. Get her FREE eCourse: Intuitive Money.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Hannah

    Yiyi, I was so inspired to read your words. Though I’m from the US, I’ve lived for the last 11 years in Korea, and I know what you mean about suppressing a certain sadness. Also, being a mom, I feel I often encounter other moms who tend to over worry, and who even try to make me worry more. I really have to guard my energy, to not take on their worries. I love how you present the concept of playing with fear instead of trying to conquer it. Beautiful words!

  • Hi Hannah – thanks so much for your heart-felt comment. I’m glad that this article has resonated well with you! Sending you good vibes!

  • Meredith Rivers

    Hannah, I love what you said about taking on other mom’s fears. I think it is super important, and very hard to do, to maintain and nourish our inner radars as mothers and remember that we know best for our kids. I just started writing a blog about this sort of stuff, and I just began writing children’s books and everyday I have to discern what fears/beliefs are mine, and which I picked up along the way or inherited.

    And I’m realizing just how true all those quotes are about believing in yourself and making your dreams a reality. Yiyi, I’m an HSP too, so avoiding overwhelm is a must for me. Nothing is more overwhelming than fear! But I know that if I believe in myself, and check those other fears as not mine, I am limitless.

    Thank you for the post!

  • You are so welcome Meredith, it’s so important to learn how to discern what belongs to us what doesn’t, like you said, so that we are not passing our “stuff” to the next generation!

  • IBikeNYC

    Exactly the answer I needed even though I hadn’t known it!

    Thank you very much.

  • Michelle

    What a beautifully refreshing take on fear, thank you Yiye. For years I have felt almost paralysed by fears that I am just now realising were never even really mine. Your words helped to bring clarity to something I have been trying to understand about myself for a very long time. What delightful treasures these ‘A-ha!’ moments are, thank you again for giving me this one. Have a lovely day 🙂

  • Thank you so much!

  • Wonderful Michelle! So glad to hear about your aha moments – I’m here cheering you on!! 😀
    Thanks for sharing your comment!

  • Anjelica Smilovitis

    Love this:)