Wouldn’t we all rather be loving and generous rather than fearful and selfish? I sure would! But how do we actually make that transformation?
Well, I’ve been at it for about 35 years, and I must say, it’s actually working! Even now during the pandemic, I’m trusting that, in spite of so many tragedies, we’re all being taken care of by a source of loving power greater than the current worldly events. That’s a pretty amazing outcome for me, the former “queen of worry.”
How To Transform Fear into Love
I can only say I’m handling these difficulties with peace because I’ve put a lot of work into the following:
- Refraining from self-destructive habits that numb my feelings
- Choosing healthy, growing people as my friends and teachers
- Gathering regularly with people actively working to improve their lives
- Studying and using cognitive, energetic, and spiritual practices to overcome my negative, fearful thoughts and beliefs
- Regularly meditating and praying
- Sharing care, strength, and hope with those I love, mentor, and teach
- Regularly acknowledging my limitations as a source of love, and using growth practices to free-up my creativity, courage, and power
This illustration from my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now illustrates how to transform a fearful, self-serving life into a generous and satisfying one.
Before growth begins, we’re basically self-centered people, obsessed with a never-enough world. Our focus points outward as we try to compete with, control, and blame others.
As we grow and heal, we turn the arrows inward, taking responsibility for our own choices, beliefs, and actions. The right people and resources appear to help us dissolve our negative patterns, heal the past, and connect with the flow of loving power within us.
As growth continues, we live from our true self. We gain peace, attain our dreams, and direct hope and love outward toward others. From time to time, we look inward to check for and heal any new obstructions to love.
My Own Transformation
Before Growth Began: My initial instincts were to grab everything I thought I needed through manipulating and controlling others. I was in love for its “high” and its illustion of security; I achieved high grades to boost my status with others; and I used alcohol and drugs to dull the pain of my failed attempts to find happiness through my own will-power. I had no hope of growing and healing as long as I kept numbing my feelings with substances and sex. When I became miserable enough, I finally gave up and sought help from a therapist. Eventually, I quit my self-defeating behaviors and began to grow.
Growing and Healing: My therapist directed me to a 12-step program and, after six months of half-hearted meeting attendance, I finally got a sponsor to help me work the steps. In therapy, I began to uncover and heal many of my old wounds and false beliefs. The 12-step meetings gave me loving, healthy friends, and a practical relationship with what I call a “loving power” (or true self)–a source of wisdom wiser than my self-centered fear.
Continue Growing: Over the past 35 years, I’ve remained clean and sober and grown tremendously. But it hasn’t been easy. In just the right timing, the layers of healing emerged as I faced physical ailments, codependency, sexual abuse, perfectionism, fierce self-sufficiency, and self-doubt. As these challenges appeared, I used the tools I’d learned to transform my fears into courage and power.
Sounds like a lot of work, aye? But guess what???? IT’S FUN! — Way more fun than being at the bar or enmeshed in codependent relationships.
I’ve been happily married to the man of my dreams for 31 years, and I love sharing challenges and victories with my “posse” of about 30 women as we gather together to dance, laugh, and eat pizza. I’m in one group that puts on retreats, another that studies A Course in Miracles, and several 12-step groups. Together, we have all sorts of adventures. But mainly, we GROW together through our honesty, openness, and care for one another.
You CAN transform your life, too, regardless of your past experiences or patterns. Nothing–absolutely nothing–about you is cast in stone. It just takes determination and putting yourself in the right groups with the right tools and teachers.
** I would love to hear how you’re transforming your own fears into loving thoughts and actions. **
Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.