Are you ready to face your life challenges? What can allow us to be most effective in our life is a willingness to identify and transform our core life challenges. Below is a short, powerful guide to personal transformation through identifying and working with core fears and life challenges. By reminding ourselves that the most powerful change starts inside each one of us, we can develop more balance and strength in our work towards positive change out in the world.
Transform Fear Through Life Challenge Work
Most of us have one or more core issues or life challenges which surface repeatedly over the course of our lives. These issues are usually rooted in deep unexpressed fears. Depending on your perspective, core life challenges either cause all sorts of problems, or present many opportunities for transformation. When you choose to look at core life challenges as an opportunity, you are much more likely to transform your fears into learning tools which lead to a better life. Below are the most common life challenges, their related fears, and suggestions for dealing with them.
Examples of Common Core Life Challenges and Associated Fears
- Abandonment – Nobody cares about me. I'm all alone. I don't matter.
- Arrogance – I'm better than all of you. I'm too much. I'm right and you're wrong.
- Damaged – Something is wrong with me. I'm a failure. I'm damaged.
- Inferiority – I'm not good enough. I'm stupid. I'm worthless. I'm boring. I'm hopeless.
- Rejection – I'm a burden. I'm unwanted. Nobody wants to spend time with me.
- Shame – I'm bad. I'm evil. I'm a mistake. I'm a monster. I'm disgusting. I'm possessed.
Our these life challenges often originate from childhood family scenarios. They can be a result of negative messages that were repeated many times to us by our parents or other significant people in our lives. Or one of these beliefs may have been driven deep into us during one or more traumatic experiences. Was one of the above statements drilled into you in your early years?
Note that some people are overcompensators. If you are in this category, you may unconsciously do everything you can to make it appear as if you are anything but your core life challenge. For instance, someone with inferiority as a core life challenge might outwardly appear very macho or domineering. Yet deep inside, this is covering up a fear of being inferior. A person dealing with shame may be overly nice and giving to cover up a fear that they are really bad. Particularly if you are having trouble finding a core life challenge, notice if any of your behavior is opposite of the life challenges above.
Examples of Behavior of Overcompensators
- Abandonment – Always need to be included, join everything to avoid deeper feelings.
- Arrogance – Act very humble, hiding their deeper belief that no one can match them.
- Damaged – Present themselves as always great, avoid talking about their problems.
- Inferiority – Macho, domineering, need to prove they are better than others.
- Rejection – Present themselves as incredibly desirable, yet reject others easily.
- Shame – Overly nice and giving. Overcompetency Secretly fear being exposed as fraud.
Whether you are an overcompensator or not, by exploring the deep, underlying fears of your core life challenges, you can transform your life for the better. Though you may find that you have more than one core challenge, generally one will be more prominent than the others. Particularly if this is new to you, we highly recommend that you first focus on exploring your most prominent life challenge. To deal with this life challenge, you can design intentions to gradually shift this deeply ingrained fear.
Suggested Intentions for Transforming Fears, Core Life Challenges
- Abandonment – I am worthy of love. I can find ways to safely share myself with others.
- Arrogance – I can learn from all around me. I can see goodness in everyone I meet.
- Damaged – I am whole and complete just as I am. I can choose to love all of me.
- Inferiority – I am a good, valuable person. I can make meaningful contributions to the world.
- Rejection – I am an attractive, interesting person. People can enjoy getting to know me.
- Shame – I can be gentle with myself. I can hold the best intentions for all deep in my heart.
At the root of all of these core life challenges is a lack of acceptance and a deep feeling of being disconnected, whether it be from ourselves, from others, from our spiritual nature, or from any combination of these. Here are two empowering intentions for dealing with these most basic core challenges: May I ever deepen my acceptance of myself and all around me. May I choose ever deeper connection with myself and all around me.
The above intentions are merely suggestions which you may or may not choose to use. By developing your own statements that resonate more strongly with your personal experience, you can transform your fears on a deeper level. Set aside time to explore these challenges. Change the wording any time you find something more appropriate. You might also invite close friends or family members to give suggestions. Writing down your intentions is highly recommended. Consider writing a set of life intentions, and review them frequently to help keep you on track.
Once you have developed your intentions, cultivate an awareness of how and when your core life challenge is triggered. Notice when you are telling yourself that same old story. Each time this happens, remind yourself of your deeper intention and open to shifting from your old self-image into a new, fuller way of being. You can continually choose transformation by remembering to recognize fear as an invitation to growth.
This is not to suggest that you avoid or suppress your fears and core life challenges. Working to accept and understand all parts of yourself, including your life challenges, opens the door to transformation and allows you more easily and naturally to access your beautiful deeper essence. This, in turn, can help you to live a much fuller and richer life. For overcompensators, who often have a strong tendency to avoid their fears, this is particularly important. For some empowering ideas on developing acceptance and understanding, click here.
Don't be surprised if after having a significant breakthrough in transforming a core life challenge, you eventually find the same challenge rearing its ugly head again in a different form. Most people find that transforming fear through working with their life challenges is like peeling away layers of an onion. You make a significant breakthrough, only to eventually find the same challenge manifesting in another, more subtle form. Yet as each layer is peeled away, you will very likely find your life to be richer, more meaningful, and more enjoyable than it was before.
By identifying and choosing to deal with our core life challenges, we transform our deepest fears and end up feeling more alive and more connected with ourselves and with those around us. This then inspires us to participate more fully and effectively in building a brighter future for all of us.
For more on transforming fear and facing life challenges, there are many books, therapists, and workshops which explore this fertile topic. We recommend two inspiring books. Eckart Tolle's A New Earth provides many powerful suggestions to recognize and transform limiting aspects of ourselves. Undefended Love, by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons, also gives excellent ideas and tools, though the language used is new age. Or search "transform fear" and "life challenges " on any search engine for more. By facing your life challenges, you can have a richer life.
For a two-page print version of this document, click here
For a guide to finding and developing your life purpose and intentions, click here
For a short essay on how we can work together to build a brighter future, click here
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