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How To Feel Fearless At 40 In 7 Easy Steps

Written by: Kylie Mort, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Recently I was told I push people away in a cycle. I had witnessed some poor behavior, and I called it out. Did I have to? No, and in hindsight, should I have stayed out of it? Probably. Yet, I was impelled to take a stand. It seemed there was a truism that was unquestionable in my eyes. However, I was greeted with the fury of a man who believed my distaste for his actions was more about me than it was about him. This is the kind of food for thought that really whets my psychological appetite. Thus I settled down for some self-analysis and critical thinking because the best feedback is feedback you can use for self-improvement.

Firstly, I needed to consider his assertion: Is it cyclical, or is it a more recent phenomenon? Being both a current performance coach and student of psychology and a survivor of childhood trauma and significant self-harm I have undergone many reincarnations along my colorful journey, so my first step is finding my common denominator. For those of you without my joyful enthusiasm for exploring adolescent maths training, this refers to the one consistent element.

The most obvious answer would, of course, be me. I was the one who upset him, and indeed if I sit and think of people who dislike me, there are several people who will not be dropping by for coffee any time soon. Thus, perhaps he has a point? Am I pushing people out of my life?

The second step is to find a common denominator in the catalyst. Again, this could indeed be part of my character or part of the external event. If I were to make a list of each person and their corresponding reason for disliking me, would I come up with the same factor each time?

This is the part of self-analysis that can sting. The part where you admit your character faults and your responsibility for the hurt you cause. Have I caused hurt in each relationship?

If I think back a decade or so, I can certainly see my harsh words causing pain. At that time in life when I was struggling for acceptance, I was certainly speaking someone else’s truth, trying to fit in with her group. Furthermore, since then, I have alienated certain people by insensitively highlighting their flaws. Indeed this is something I have always done. I do not just call a spade a spade. I quite often beat people over the head with it. I have been told I am arrogant and disrespectful and in at least three cases, I have burnt bridges by refusing to relinquish the truth, regardless of the harm it has caused. Reflecting on these instances, a different personality would have glossed over the inaccuracies or smiled politely at the injustice. In my case, the adage “would you like to be right or happy?” is certainly only recognized in hindsight a lot of the time.

So at this point, I can honestly admit yes, I upset people, and yes, it is my personality that does this. But before I nosedive into a downward spiral of shame, there is one more step to analyze. Is it unhealthy? Is it a character defect to refuse to back down to falsehoods (albeit arrogantly and disrespectfully at times)? And why is it that I have this instinct?

Erik Erikson was a psychologist who had a theory about the psychological development of humans. He believed there were 8 stages and that these were influenced by both internal and external factors. He also believed that each stage was centered around a “challenge” and that if a person did not resolve or overcome this challenge adequately within this stage, it would hinder progression. Interestingly, my dilemma of approximately a decade ago, where I was foolish enough to believe that mimicking my friend would see me welcomed into her clique, was at the peak of my Intimacy vs. Isolation stage (20-40yo).

It was not a solitary situation of tribal shaming, and in the past 1-2 years, I have finally taken a stance against several people who have caused me considerable pain and anxiety. They have been threatening, vicious, and selfish. They have made me feel small and unworthy through their demands and their opinions of me. So why have I finally said enough is enough? What has changed in me?

I have heard it claimed that women over 40 cleanse their world of unwanted baggage. Not surprisingly, this would correspond with another of Erikson’s stages. He believed that between 40-60, what he referred to as middle adulthood, individuals move into a stage known as Generativity versus Stagnation. The challenge being understanding how one is to leave an indelible mark on society through guiding the next generation. Well, that is interesting!

During my Intimacy versus Isolation stage, I may have gathered to me many people along the way that perhaps were not the best choice but were, as such, simply part of the process. I struggled to deal with the tribal mentality that blocked me from close relationships. I asked the question, where do I fit in? Who are my people? And I found the answers. Now beginning the next step of the journey, I am impassioned by the need to nurture and guide younger people and contribute to their success. I lead a purposeful life, every day working on my vocation to help build strong, resilient young people who challenge their weaknesses, know their strengths and feel accepted and supported in their goals.

Handy how mother nature does that, isn’t it? Sharing the wisdom of the experienced with the vulnerabilities of the next generation?

Yet further to this, in this wisdom comes the time of regeneration and cleansing. And so, am I pushing people out of my life? I do not feel I am. I am happy to embrace the honest relationships I have with others. I am open to sharing relationships with those who genuinely want to share the joys of living. I no longer need to cling to the old and be subservient to the powers of those who have dominated me in the past. Contrastingly, I can now call out any falsehood or injustice with confidence, knowing that my instinctual need for sincerity and truth is justified, and the people I allow into my personal space are good, honest people.

How to Feel Fearless at 40:

  1. Self-analysis is the highest form of honesty; ensure you start with critiquing yourself.

  2. All feedback is helpful if evaluated correctly; ensure self-improvement is the goal.

  3. Take responsibility for the hurt you cause; it is not your responsibility to heal others, but it is your responsibility to be accountable and purposeful with your actions.

  4. Ask yourself, “would you rather be right or happy?” Sometimes you may wish to just let it go.

  5. Know yourself honestly with all your strengths and weaknesses, and remember that we all have flaws, and you are loved despite these.

  6. Healing your past will ultimately heal your future.

  7. Have the independence of mind to speak your own truth fearlessly.

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Kylie Mort, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kylie Mort works with individuals of all ages to embrace and support the Academic Mind, Self-Awareness & the Mind-Body Connection. Assisting individuals by tailoring bespoke mentoring packages supporting academic, physical, and personal advancement and success.

Kylie is an International Author and Writer for Global Magazines, writing both academically and creatively to connect with those who seek guidance and inspiration to be their best selves. A former Secondary School Teacher & VCE Leader with 20 years of teaching experience, Kylie is a qualified & registered: School Teacher, Yoga Teacher & Performance Coach. She is also an entrepreneur, leading multiple-award-winning companies.

She is currently studying Psychological Science at Deakin University to provide holistic mentoring to her clients better, having spent decades honing her skills in face-to-face teaching, mentoring, and business & company development. Now, she is focused on the human mind and its power to empower through reimaging, redesigning, and recreating.



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