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In the Face of Fear, I Find My Courage

Updated: May 4, 2021

by Charlotte Goh, Founding Member, The Brilliant Foundation

SINGAPORE - I am of the age when I am more comfortable with fear and recognise the truth that courage takes place in the face of fear, not the absence of it. Born with Tourette Syndrome, I grew up feeling highly insecure, always feeling not good enough, fearing what others think of me, fearing I wasn’t up to scratch. I overcompensated with my extension of myself, to ‘make up’ for what I was not.

And I realise that no matter how much inner work I do on myself, the fears, the insecurities still rears its head, even after all these years. That’s when I realise like old friend, when it comes and visits me, I am reminded of how much stronger, aware and more insightful I can be, to learn how to speak to it, process it and quell it. Then, I try to respond, not react.

In my late teenage years, as a coping mechanism, I became bulimic and struggled with this eating disorder for the next 20 years. Stuffing myself with food comforted me somewhat, and purging it, allowed me to release all the uncomfortable feelings I had within. As you can imagine, it was more than vanity, it was a way to cope, a way to live and to survive.

In my 20s, I started smoking when I was in university. Another way of coping or numbing my fears.

Fast forward to year 36 of my life. I married my husband Hannes who loves me regardless of my eating disorder and all my complexities. This secure space of love started to slowly nourish me. I was trying to get pregnant and my dear friend Visha told me that it is hard to retain a pregnancy if I am throwing up 6 times a day. That might have been obvious to anyone else but it was an AHA! moment for me. This fateful day started my inner work journey.

At 38, I became bulimia-free. At 39, thanks to Pam Oei who did the Allan Carr magic on me, I became smoke-free (after years of hypnosis, patches, pills, and countless attempts).

At 40, Jonas was born. Jonas, our son is now 10 years of age. He is a beautiful, sweet-hearted boy that warms my heart every day when I look at him.

Also at 40, I started looking within, at my fears, at the self I had come to hate for so many years. I recognised that it will take some work for to look within, face my insecurities, fears and learn to love myself. You could say, my life lesson was to love myself.

It was a hard journey that threatened to bring out more emotions like anger, resentment, unforgiveness, guilt, and more fear. It required courage. Each step of the way, I understood more about myself. The process brought healing; inner healing, peace and liberation.

If I can share three points that helped me in my journey, these would be it:

- The Power of Inner work and Self-awareness

- What are the stories you are telling yourself?

- What are my limiting beliefs?

The Power of Inner Work and Self-awareness

When you work on yourself, you become more self-aware about who you are, to yourself, to others and to your environment. Self-awareness is one of the most powerful aspects of living a fuller life. Self-awareness allows me to hold space for myself, it allows me to reflect and respond, not react to situations and people. It allows me to create. It allows me to be more compassionate and to practice empathy. It paves the way for better decisions because I am able to be more centred, to know my source of strength, my challenges and navigate them. Self-awareness is powerful. Leadership at any level starts with knowing yourself. With that knowledge, you have the ability to navigate your limiting beliefs and use your strengths to create and respond.

The Power of Relationships Built On Trust

I admit I am an extrovert and I thrive on the energy exchange I have with people.

I have many friends that are