ACT, its best friend COMPASSION, and FEAR

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!
And introducing COMPASSION, ACT’s best friend!

Q: How can I stop my fears holding me back from change?

A: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

When we understand where our fears come from, maybe we can treat them more kindly. Fear is a natural reaction to threat, perceived or imagined. It is a gift of evolution and it is not going anywhere soon. Fear evolved to protect us and to help us to survive. It is there to help us, it is part of our self-protection system.

Unfortunately, this can make our lives difficult at times, particularly when we are facing the unknown, change, uncertain outcomes. This is when Fear really gets its knickers in a twist. Just when we could do with a good dose of courage, Fear is more likely to jump in and rule the roost. “Don’t do this”, “Don’t go there”, “Stay here, stay safe”, these are the words of Fear.

It is easier to let Fear have its way, and comfort zones are notoriously difficult to escape. Change represents the unknown. Maybe things will go well, but maybe they won’t, maybe the grass will be greener but maybe it won’t, maybe we have things to gain, but we have much to lose too. Trying to weigh up all the outcomes can just leave us paralysed. Yes, it is easier to let Fear have its way, it is easier to stay where we are.

And yet doing nothing, staying put, not daring to make a change doesn’t make us feel better in the long term. There is always the “what if” in the back of our mind. What if we had found some courage, what if we had dared to make a change, what if we had found a way to allay our fears, to take them with us into the unknown?

This is the key really. This is where Self-Compassion comes in. We are not meant to be fearless, we were born with Fear as an integral part of our DNA. It is an indispensable component of our tool kit. Accepting our Fear, learning how to soothe it allows us scope, gives us choice. Courage is not being without fear, courage is fear that has said its prayers, courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

And when we do it, let’s not do it with gritted teeth and dread in our heart, let’s do it in a spirit of kindness and compassion. If things go wrong, as well they might, let’s not rail at ourselves for making a bad decision, let’s just accept it all as part of our human experience, a learning curve that we might never have had.

And let’s remember that we are not perfect, we were born to make mistakes, and with each mistake we make we learn what not to do next time. This is the way of progress, this is what change offers us, a chance to grow, if we are willing to feel the fear and do it anyway.

I wrote “ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE” to remind me of that.


  • How do you cope with change?
  • Do you let fear hold you back from new experiences?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.





Sometimes we feel it happening, we’re on the cusp of change,

And unease now stirs within us as the pieces rearrange,

And we must call upon our courage and our fears begin to quell,

For we’re sloughing off the old world where ‘til lately we did dwell.

It’s a scary sort of feeling, this transition we must make

And Fear’s not there to make it easy, it is there to make us quake,

And remind us of the dangers that are always lurking near,

For though we may find some courage, Fear will not just disappear.

It’s a part of evolution that was careful to instil

A resistance to imprudence, safety first’s its motto still,

But it’s just part of our heritage, and there are others too,

We are driven to make progress through the things we think and do.

And so, we need to strike a bargain with our Fear which sees its role

As a constant overseer, which must always seize control

Of any scary situation, draw us back quick from the brink,

Saying, “Don’t go in the water, you can’t swim, and you will sink.”

And oh, thank goodness for our Fear because it tries so hard to please,

Tries to keep us out of danger, tries to quell our least unease,

But we weren’t born to quiver naked at the edge of scary things,

We were born to face them bravely and find out all that life brings

When we refuse to be defeated by a Fear that stirs within,

When we are willing to accept it, but allow our Courage in

To soothe and whisper words of comfort to our Fear, so it can be

Reassured it’s done it duty before leaving gracefully.

Corinne Shields, 2018

If you enjoyed, “ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT, and its best friend COMPASSION ……..

Self-Compassion is the antidote to Fear, it is the right-hand man of Courage.

Learning how to soothe our own Fear is a wonderful attribute. Who wouldn’t want someone on hand to say the right things, to tell us that everything is going to be OK, to reach out a hand of reassurance, to remind us that we aren’t perfect and were never meant to be? Unfortunately, there isn’t always a someone else on hand and, in lieu of a someone else, we may need to be that someone for ourselves.

If we can do that, if we can learn how to soothe ourselves, wouldn’t that be something??

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to teach us just that. I am currently reading “Present Perfect”, recommended to me by a friend. Thank you, Doug. If you, like me, struggle with an outsize streak of Perfectionism, then this is the book for you. Perfectionism is Fear’s best friend. They go hand in glove. If Fear is out to stop you doing stuff, Perfectionism is right up there with it. “Present Perfect” landed on my desk, or more accurately showed up on my Kindle, in the nick of time. It is helping me to feel the fear and do it anyway!

Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control by [Somov, Pavel G]

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….


How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life? What can YOU do just for today to add some Compassion, some Kindness, into your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you? Is Compassion part of your life?

I am a student of ACT, I am learning about Compassion.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes



ACT and Comfort Zones


Q: What’s so wrong with comfort zones?

A: A comfort zones’s a prison if it’s one we have outgrown

Oh how we love our comfort zones.  After all they are so comfortable, so reassuring, so predictable. We know where we are, there are no surprises. Oh yes, we do venture out sometimes but it is always nice to know that if the going gets tough we can retreat to the old familiar. Taking chances, exploring the unknown, risking failure may not come easily to some of us. So we decide it’s better not to try. We miss opportunities, our lives get smaller.

Sometimes though, something happens unexpectedly and, like it or not, we are unceremoniously turfed out of our comfort zone and that can be extremely uncomfortable. There may be no way back or, even if there is, it may be that the comfort zone just isn’t comfortable anymore. A comfort zone once breached is never the same.

In ACT terms comfort zones are pretty dangerous. Change is the stuff of life and it doesn’t do to get too comfortable, too complacent. We are all likely to get turfed out of our comfort zones sooner or later. Being human it goes with the territory. How we deal with it, ah that’s the thing. In ACT we are encouraged to accept the uncomfortable feelings that inevitably accompany change as being natural and normal. We are encouraged to step out of our comfort zones. This is how we create a vital, rich and meaningful life.

How about you?

  • How do you feel about comfort zones?
  • How do they operate in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.




Maybe we’re on the brink of an exciting sort of thing

We can feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

We catch glimpses of a future full of promise clear and bright

‘Til a little whisper warns us that things may not turn out right.

It’s the dampener we’re used to, the doom merchant we know well,

How he loves to pour cold water and to sound the warning bell

To remind us that excitement is a risky route to take,

Heaven knows we might fail, God forbid make a mistake.

So it’s easy to be thwarted, it is simpler to retreat,

To take comfort in a comfort zone than hazard a defeat

And for a while we’re spared those feelings that accompany the unknown,

But a comfort zone’s a prison if it’s one that we’ve outgrown.

And so the next time we are starting an exciting kind of thing

And we feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

Let’s resist that old doom merchant and refuse him to appease,

Because we can’t know what will happen ‘til that risk we’ve dared to seize.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “COMFORT ZONES” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go ………

A final word from ACT

Russ Harris is one of my favourite ACT authors. He has many best-sellers to his name and has been instrumental in making ACT accessible to the mass market. “The Happiness Trap” is perhaps his best known book and rightly so. It is wonderfully entertaining and gives the reader a comprehensive overview of Acceptance Commitment Therapy.

However, it is “The Reality Slap” that I found personally the most illuminating. Russ Harris tells his own story and how a personal trauma turfed him, an ACT guru, unceremoniously out of his own comfort zone. What happened next inspired the book and I recommend it to you.  It is a wonderful read.

Product Details

Bad things do happen to good people, life does rear up and slap us in the face and comfort zones, in the end, do turn out to be precarious, so best not to get too comfortable!

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………



If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

I am a student of ACT. I am on a journey. I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes.









ACT and Committed Action


Q:  I don’t think my blog will ever be ready to launch.  What should I do?

A:  ACTivate your blog now!!

It can be very scary when we are on the brink of something new, can’t it?  In fact it can be so scary that we can look for any excuse not to actually take that final step.  We can always find something else to do, some other detail to tweak, something else not quite right, not quite perfect that we can play around with.

I feel a bit like that with this blog.  I am not very teckie, I am not at all social media savy, I struggle every day with some new aspect of WordPress.  There is so much to learn.  At this rate this blog may never get launched!!

I have therefore decided that it is time to ACTivate my blog.

What does this mean?  Well from an ACT point of view it means that I am going to accept the uncomfortable feelings that I am having, the inevitable uncomfortable feelings that accompany something new, something strange.  I am going to accept the discomfort, befriend and explore it even, and I am going to take action in a valued direction.

For me, that means that I am going to launch my blog even though I am full of misgivings.  I am going to feel the fear and do it anyway!!


  • Are you willing to “be ready for the strangeness and accommodate the new”?
  • Are you prepared to live with the discomfort that accompanies change?
  • Are you, like me, going to “feel the fear and do it anyway?”
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.




If something new’s approaching let us not bar fast the door,

Let’s be fair and open-hearted, welcome what may lie in store,

Let’s be ready for the strangeness and accommodate the new

Let’s not scurry back to safety before we have seen it through.

If discomfort overwhelms us let’s stand strong until it fades

And relinquish scepticism and reluctance that persuades

Us to turn our back on progress, it’s too late and we’re too old,

Let’s not buy into the story that’s the oldest ever told.

For it’s not a case of number, we’re as old now as we feel

You can put a label on us but that label isn’t real,

And for everyone who’s saying that old age is full of strife,

Let us tell them we are proudly silver surfing through our life.

© Corinne Shields, 2015


If you enjoyed “Silver Surfing” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go ……………….

A final word from ACT

ACT has a very special term for the excuses that we make to avoid the discomfort that goes with stepping out of our comfort zone.  That term is:


It is a term that embodies our suffering, not just once but twice.  We suffer the pain of presence and we suffer the pain of absence.  What does this mean?

Experiential avoidance is the process of trying to avoid our own experiences, our uncomfortable feelings, memories, bodily sensations, behaviours, even when doing so causes us long-term behavioural difficulties.  We don’t go to the party because we are shy and lacking in confidence, we don’t go the gym because we feel too fat or too depressed, we don’t launch a blog in case nobody visits!!

Experiential avoidance means that we suffer the presence of our uncomfortable feelings and we also suffer the pain of the absence of the things that we don’t do, the things that we avoid.  A double whammy!!

Learning to live with discomfort, to accept our uncomfortable feelings and to commit to valued action anyway is what lies at the heart of ACT.  It is what gives Acceptance Commitment Therapy its name.  It is the key to living a meaningful and valued life even in the midst of life’s challenges.

If you want to find out more about Experiential Avoidance then I recommend you dip into Steven Hayes’ wonderful book:

Worth learning how to deal with it!!!

Which leads us to the …………………………..

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………………………….


If you have read this far please leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am on an ACT journey and I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes