How to Release Fear & Fear DNA - Simple Steps

As humans, most of us are not particularly inclined to watch horror movies. (Although almost 64 percent of US adults aged 30 to 44 say they like or even love the horror movie genre!) Even so, most of us have fear-based thoughts all the time, telling ourselves worst-case scenario horror stories all day long about ourselves, our lives, and our prospects.

“You’re going to run out of money and wind up on the streets.” Or “You’re too stupid to get that promotion.” Or “The person you love the most is going to meet a tragic ending as soon as they set foot out of the apartment.” Or “Everybody hates you and you are going to be all alone, forever.”

These are just a few of the anxious thoughts we indulge in on a daily basis—inner monsters triggering stress hormones that can run the show and frighten us witless. Driven by an over-arching fear of the unknown, the language and tone of our inner thoughts tend to be exaggerated, inflated, and over dramatic. We wouldn’t say such things out loud. But we keep thinking them. And the emotional response they produce and the actions we take around them feel very important and real.

Fear DNA

Fear-based thoughts tend to shift with the generations, and what sounds silly to one generation makes perfect sense if we zoom out and take a look at the whole family system and its events, decisions and consequences. Every generation faces different challenges and has different ways of looking at life events and different coping mechanisms.

Our inner language, including our fear-based thoughts, often reflects multigenerational language around issues not resolved in prior generations, language that contains clues to the places where we are stuck as well as the clues to the next level of expression. For example, you may come from a wealthy family and yet experience fear around money, thinking things like “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Or “Money can’t buy everything.” Or “More money, more problems.”

We call this inner language your systemic language, and no one is immune. Not the smallest among us nor even the titans of industries. We all have fearful thoughts that drive or plague us, until we recognize them for what they really are—clues from the past showing how our ancestors thought about things; clues we can use that show us where we are stuck and how we can shape futures we desire.

Emotional Experience

We often feel deeply that fearful thoughts and feelings belong to us and are inescapable, but systemic work, constellations and epigenetics indicate otherwise. When we look at family history, we often find that the inner monsters—our habit of focusing on the worst-case scenario or our fear of failure—began with a limiting decision an ancestor made about an event.  

For example, a wealthy great-grandfather takes a chance on a good prospect and loses most of his money. He vows not to ever take a gamble of any sort ever again. He tells himself that he was stupid and reckless and becomes filled with excessive worry about money. He feels ashamed and embarrassed and develops a fear of rejection. He tells his children not to ever gamble or take a chance. He tells them if they do they will lose everything. 

Three generations later, a great-grandson is offered the opportunity and investment of a lifetime. It is a no brainer, and yet he cannot bring himself to participate. He finds himself in survival mode with skyrocketing stress levels, believing he will lose it all just like his great-grandfather did. The investment takes off and he realizes that this extreme risk aversion that was once a solution for his ancestor is the very thing that is now hurting his family. What was once a solution is now a problem and it’s time to get help.  

This is a good example of how fearful thoughts, fearful feelings, common fears, and survival response are passed on. The original ideas are designed to keep us safe, but the message keeps traveling through the generations until it turns into a problem.  Once we recognize the thought patterns and their source, however, we can change the fearful thoughts anytime we want to. We can do a 180.  

Attaining Emotional Freedom

One of the main ways we can experience a turnaround of fearful thoughts, stressful situations, and all the painful emotions accompanying these things is by realizing that the negative patterns of thoughts that have been running the show do not belong to us. They are ancestral patterns that we have inherited.

Using the above example, I would ask the client to verbalize his fear around investing and ask him about his grandfather’s and father’s language about money and investing. (Or about other ancestors and their language around money.) As soon as the client sees where the originating event happened and gets that the fearful thoughts, negative difficult emotions and unwanted behaviours do not belong to him, I would invite him to recognize where that fear belongs, and then literally hand the negative emotional patterns back to the person they originally belonged to.

The next step involves the client imagining what he would really like to do, how he would like to be instead of acting out the old negative emotional patterns. He might recognize that where his great-grandfather had no access to information, he now does. He can do due diligence where his great-grandfather could not. He can hire wise financial advisors. Finally, the client voices the new options and choices that he has decided upon.

The Pivot Points

There are two pivot points that occur when shifting anxiety disorders and common fears. The first occurs when the person acknowledges that this pattern is damaging and does not belong to him or her. We call this “acknowledging what is.” The second pivot happens when s/he recognizes that s/he can do things differently and that, indeed, the family system will be better off if s/he does something different. Sometimes permission is needed from the ancestors for the client to move forward into a happier life. There is often a sigh of relief or a smile or perhaps tears when this is done. There may be insight and compassion for those who came before the client or a movement in the direction of a new opportunity.

Dealing with Common Fears

Unfortunately, excluding excessive worry, fearful thoughts, and anxiety symptoms from your life is not an option. In all systems and situations, what we exclude creates a pattern that expands and repeats. In other words, what we resist persists and grows. I often ask participants at my events to actually thank the monsters in their lives (and in their heads). Even fearful thoughts have purpose. They are often treasures in disguise—pain points that push us to pay attention to what isn’t working and then grow.

When you can acknowledge the purpose of even your deepest fear and thank it, then you can use fear as motivation to do better than those who came before you. Once the monsters have been seen, acknowledged and included, they can quiet down. The pattern has been seen and their purpose pivots from acting as a signal into becoming a portal of possibility—the opportunity to do something different.

Systemic Questioning Exercise

  • Think about a time when you have wanted to do something new or exciting and identify the fearful thoughts that have stopped you from trying.
  • Write down your deepest fear(s), any fear response and the uncomfortable feelings, and physical symptoms they produced.

 Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • When did these feelings first begin for you?
  • What was happening in your life at the time?
  • What did you make these fearful thoughts mean about you?
  • What did you make them mean about others?
  • Does anyone in your family have a similar pattern?
  • Did their anxiety symptoms begin for them at roughly the same age as they did for you?
  • Was there a triggering event?
  • Have you always felt this way?
  • Do these fearful thoughts belong to you, or did they begin with someone else?
  • What actions have you taken around these fearful thoughts?

Create a Constellation Around Your Deepest Fear

Constellations are a three-dimensional process that enables you to take your thoughts, issues, feelings, etc. and literally set them all out in front of you in such a way that you get to see, hear, touch, feel and walk through what goes on inside your system and inside your head.

You can do the following exercise at home using index cards, paper, Post-it Notes, whatever takes your fancy.

Issue Constellation

  • Write your deepest fear (for example “fear of failure”) on an index card or piece of paper.
  • Create a separate card/paper for every family member
  • Write your own name on a card/paper

Place the cards on the floor in an open area—or on a table top if you don’t have room—in any sort of arrangement that feels right to you and just notice the way the cards are placed.

  • Who is close to you and who is further away?
  • Who is closest to your fear? You? Other family members?
  • What does it feel like to see your “issue” out in front of you like this?
  • Stand on your own card and look around. What do you notice? What do you feel? Are any emotions coming up around your fear? Any insights?
  • Really take the time to listen to your thoughts and feel your feelings. 

It is quite amazing the kind of information that can be gleaned from being able to literally see and walk through the energetic relationships involved around a specific issue. Once you can experience your deepest feelings of fear in a larger context outside of your head, it stops being so personal and stops beings such a painful experience. If you can trace your issue to its source, it no longer belongs to you and you can let it go and be free.

 I look forward to showing you how to release your fear DNA and unleash your fullest potential. For more information about my 2024 events click here.