15
May 2018

How to Choose Wonder Over Worry

The pattern I see in so many women, and the reason why I created Whole Woman…

The thing that breaks my heart the most is when I meet a woman who won’t let herself dream. When I ask her a simple question like “What do you want?” Or “What is fun for you?” Or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I will often get a blank stare.

I know the problem isn’t that this woman doesn’t have dreams or incredible potential, but that her inner critic, her overwhelming sense of low self-worth and worry, keeps her from seeing her brilliance and claiming what she really wants.

This pattern is something my friend Amber Rae knows intimately and the topic of her new book that comes out today!

When Amber was finally able to choose wonder over worry her life exploded in so many magical ways. She’s a powerful example and I have been tearing through her book and recommending it to everyone!

I’m so excited that I got to sit down and have a candid conversation with Amber about her journey and advice for you. Here is our interview:

Sarah: What do you think is the number one thing that holds women back from having the life they desire?

Amber: Here’s the thing about desire: What we desire is neutral until we give meaning to it. 

The meaning we give can sound like…

“I want this, so I’m not worthy of having it.” 

or

“I want this, so I’m going all in.”

It can also sound like…

“I want this, so I’m not sure if I deserve it.”

or

“I want this, so I’m going to find out what’s possible!” 

See the difference?

For years, I wanted to write a book. That was the biggest dream of all the dreams for me. To take the message burning inside of me, and to put it into a form that others can read and share. 

What I desired most — a book and my voice out in the world — has no meaning by itself, until I tell myself a story about what it means. And for YEARS, the story I told myself is that because I wanted it so badly, I wasn’t good enough to have it, I certainly wasn’t ready yet, and everyone would probably hate it if I made it. 

What was holding me back, and what I see holding so many women back from having the life they desire, is just that: the story they create for why they can’t have it.

So, my question for you is this: what is it that you truly desire? And what are you telling yourself about realizing that desire?

Sarah: What was your turning point when you Chose Wonder Over Worry?

Amber: I’m guessing that we’re all familiar here with the terrible person inside our head that screams mean things at us. You know, like: You’re not worthy of this. You aren’t good enough. He’ll never love you. Who the hell do you think you are? Oh, and you’re not thin or attractive enough anyway.

The turning point for me was when I decided to TALK to this jerk inside my head. 

(Brace yourselves!) 

It went like this:

Me: HEY ASSHOLE UP THERE!!! What the hell is wrong with you?

Inner Asshole: You’re what the hell is wrong with me.

Me: Oh, geez. Thanks. Doing the best I can! What is up with you?

Inner Asshole: What is up with me is that I’m trying to get your attention, and you’re not listening.

Me (slightly curious now): What do you mean you’re trying to get my attention? What am I not listening to?

Inner Asshole Voice Trying to Get My Attention: I see you having all these big dreams, but I see you self-sabotaging constantly. Sorry for the drama, but I didn’t know how else to get your attention. This is important, and I want you to pay attention. 

Me (bewildered): Interesting strategy, Drama. So what do you suggest we do next?

Suddenly, by wondering about my inner asshole, she became an ally on my path. Not the kindest ally. But definitely an ally who knows what I want, and will up the drama to get my attention. 

I discovered that we have all kinds of characters inside of us. Some are the result of conditioning that no longer serves us, and conditioning that we get to question and revise. While others care about the end goal as much as we do, and will yell and scream and wake us up in the middle of the night until they get our attention. 

And that’s really the core of my work: to wonder about our emotions — particularly the tricky ones — and learn to have a relationship with them. Because when we do, we can find wisdom beneath the surface of what otherwise feels scary and uncomfortable. 

Sarah: What are 3 strategies women can use when they feel overcome with Worry to switch into Wonder and make a different choice?

Amber:

  1. Get clear on the difference between useful worry and toxic worry.
    • Think of useful worry as an ally who is saying, “Pay attention to this. I’m trying to get your attention because this matters.” This is the kind of worry that’s within your control, and pops up before an important meeting, decision, or dream to spur you to action.
    • Toxic worry is more about ruminating — those thoughts on an endless loop that paralyze and prevent you from taking action. This is the type of worry that has you asking: Am I good enough? Who am I to do this? What are they going to think of me? What if something bad happens?
  2. Sort through your worries and wonder about them.
    • Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything you’re worried about: That way, the anxiety transforms from noise inside your head to something you can look at objectively.
    • Go through every worry and circle what you can control.
    • Ask yourself: “What productive action can I take on this?” Then write down your action plan by each circle.
  3. Follow these 3 steps when faced with fear or anxiety:
    • Name it: Label the feeling as vividly as possible to make it tangible. It could be “Ms. Perfectionist,” “Lady Anger,” or “Anxious Annie.”
    • Talk to it: Think of it as a character you can have a conversation with, sort of what I describe above. If my inner perfectionist is getting loud when I’m writing, for example, I’ll say, “Hey Ms. Perfectionist, I see you hanging out here. What’s going on here? Is there something you want me to know?” I think of these inner emotions like children wanting our attention. A dialogue can reveal what wisdom they have for us.
    • Make a request: You might say, “Hey Perfectionist, I totally get the quality of this article is important to you. Here’s the thing: I need space to get messy and write a shitty first draft before I can get to anything good. Mind going to get a massage while I finish this? K, thanks.” When we do this, we set a boundary and claim our space.

For more wisdom from Amber Rae, check out her new book, Choose Wonder Over Worry. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Love,
Sarah

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