Blinded By Our Fear
“Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable.”
~ Melody Beattie
Blinded By Our Fear
Fear is such a human emotion. We often are not even aware of how much it actually drives our lives. Fear is paralyzing and controls so much of our emotion. To be afraid is to be fully human. Whenever we feel threatened, we experience fear in our bodies. Fear is anxiety, fear is greed, fear is jealousy, fear is addiction. Fear is at the bottom of all we might want, long for and dream of and don’t follow through with. In our society, there seems to be a need to push fear away and say it doesn’t exist or that we are never afraid. Fear has become an enemy. Of course fear is uncomfortable. Yet, we when we are willing to face our fears, we can learn what we need to do to work with them.
It is helpful to know what types of people, situations, places or relationships trigger our fear. What type of person feels threatening to you? What are you most afraid of, and why? Or are you afraid to risk standing in your own truth in case they don’t love you anymore? Do your fear leaving your job because you might not be successful in what ever it is you may dream possible? Believing that fear will go away and we will never be fearful again isn’t realistic. By knowing ourselves, and honoring our fear, we can begin to learn to face our fears and use tools to help us manage our lives from a more empowered place.
Being in love is one of the biggest fears I see in the relationship work I do. Being in love makes us vulnerable. There is so much more to risk when we love. Some choose to close their hearts for fear of having their heart broken. Yet, what this does is keep us from what we long for. To be truly connected to another means we have to be willing to risk. To feel fully alive is to risk the possibility of getting hurt. In my experience, in the places where I have risked to love and have been hurt, I have found that my heart can grow and be ready to receive even more love than if I had never risked at all.
Fear of loss is another risk. We can lose a job, a friendship, a home we love, or whatever we place value on. Someone we love can die and we feel powerless, alone. Certainly a terminal diagnosis brings great fear. Bringing voice to our fear, sharing with others, allows us to move through the experience and helps us find the courage to face whatever the outcome.
Life will bring us what it will. It is our response to our fears, to our loss, that helps us to gather courage, strength and brings us resiliency. Remember as a child being afraid of the dark? So often we can shine a light into the darkness and find comfort, relief and see that in reality, what we thought was so big, insurmountable, scary, is really something we can manage.
Questions I use in my life when I am fearful are, “What am I really afraid of?” “What is the worst thing that can happen?” “Is it true and Is this about me?” These questions help to normalize a fear and keep it in perspective. Remember, we always have choice. When a situation comes up that brings up fear, close you eyes, take a deep breath, ground your body and sit with the fear. Notice where you experience fear in your body and just breathe into that place. If you have a Yoga practice, go to your Yoga mat, and do some Yoga postures. Breathe. Bring loving kindness to your body and remind yourself that what feels so scary right in this moment will look differently to you the next time it occurs. Once we face our fears, a situation never looks just the same again.
Learning to see the reality of a situation, being willing to ask helpful questions as well as asking for support and help, makes facing our fears something that helps us build self-esteem and resiliency. It can give us a sense of control over our lives and can give us permission to face our fear, not try to hide or protect ourselves, from fear of further pain. The more we are willing to face our lives head on, the more we experience mastery in our lives. So, take a deep breath, and face your fears.