We’re human right? And one of the conditions of being human is that sometimes we are afraid. Fears can show up in many different ways: It can be seen in what we choose to do; how much we share with others; how we live our lives.
With the state of our economy, war and the uncertainty of this day and age, people who have never had to face fears, are having to do so. FDR's words, "The only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself," ring true. If we don't deal with fear, it will be the driving force in our lives. What can we do to avoid this?
Too often we allow fear to rule us and we don’t even realize it. Most of us are raised to deny our fears. The problem is that if we don’t acknowledge it, fear impacts our lives in ways we don't see. It shows up as shame or anger; shame about something we’ve done or an aspect of ourselves which we are insecure about; anger as a way to protect ourselves from our fear or to create a false sense of being in control.
I believe that to be truly fearless we have to face our fears.
Ironically, fearlessly looking fear strait in the eye, gives us the power to create a life that is full of wonder. So, fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be a gift that teaches us what we value and how to create it.
I do what CK says,“I advocate (and practice) placing the fear front & center. In dueling these demons we accept their presence and then we start robbing them of their power.” The impact of the fear is much greater when we pretend it’s not there.
It is ineffective to try to quell fears by avoiding them. This works against us by making them more powerful. You can’t take fear away if you ignore it. When fear becomes invisible to us we are broadsided by it’s impact. Like anything we are blind to, it’s much more likely to cause damage. Just think about that bump in the road you don’t see coming, it throws your car off track and damages your shocks. But by opening our eyes to fear, you can minimizes its repercussions.
The first step is to figure out what we are afraid of. If you’re unsure what frightens you, start by paying attention to the secondary effects of fear (anger and shame). These are great indicators of what holds us back. By naming our shames and angers we can figure out what we need. And we can evaluate how realistic our fears are.
Sometimes when fear is taken out of context it is just plain silly. It’s like being afraid of flying when you’re not in a plane. So take the time to write it out, explore the realism of each fear. Play out the worst-case scenario should your fears come true. And you’ll start to see how much energy is wasted on false fears.
For those fears that are genuinely scary, knowing the potential consequences helps us to prepare appropriately. Fear is there to keep us safe.
By understanding the significance of each fear, we can gain insight into our needs and desires. For instance, if we have fear of failing, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It means we should address the issues that stand in the way of our success. Otherwise, we'll be stuck in the cycle of not trying so we don't fail. Don't ignore the fear, face it and take charge of it. Celebrate the lessons received from the knowledge gained by admitting fear.
Embrace your fears and you’ll be surprised how fearless you really are.