When you notice fear brimming up inside you, hit the pause button. Popular culture will tell you that you should “face your fear” or “conquer your fear.” Why? Because as a society we often determine fear is a weakness, something that is an obstacle to us becoming our best selves.
In some ways, that’s correct. Your fear is getting in the way, but not as a negative thing. Fear is calling your attention to something inside you that is calling for your attention.
Can you approach fear from an observant stand point? No self-judgment, no knee-jerk reaction, no self-sabotage? I bet you can.
If you can reframe your fear and see it as a friendly reminder that there’s something for you to heal. And how do we accomplish this?
You can recognize that your fear is calling your consciousness towards something that is really wrapped in anxiety, not necessarily reality. What do I mean by this? We often fear what may come, what could happen that seems to be out of our control, and how it will negatively impact our lives. But if fear is simply calling your attention to an unhealed part of ourselves, do we need to see fear as a bad thing? Or is it a tool that allows us to dig a bit deeper and show ourselves compassion?
Examining fear without holding to it tighter, can be a challenge. I often talk to my clients about how our beliefs are much like one big Jenga tower…pieces constructed in a way that everything is interlocking. Remove one Jenga tile and you risk everything falling apart, or falling down. THIS, this is why it can be so difficult for us to dismantle habitual beliefs or thoughts that we “think” we want to be rid of. Because there’s something underneath that cautions us, “what will happen if you remove that belief? What if things crash?”
And what if they don’t crash?
What happens if you tend to that fear as you would a small child – with compassion, with empathy, and with open ears, an open heart and an open mind?
Ask yourself, what is my fear calling my attention towards? Is this anxiety I feel around this thing possibly coming true, based in reality, based on past experiences, or based on scientific evidence?
Let’s say that your trigger response is based on past experiences. Are you the same person NOW that you were, in the past? Are you better equipped to deal with change or unexpected outcomes? Do you have the foundation required to weather a temporary setback?
When I go through this exercise myself, what I tend to notice is I’m more worried about what might change or shift, if I’m no longer afraid. What might be expected of me? How will this affect my identity, or the narrative I use to make my life and life choices make sense? Am I willing to be a bit uncomfortable, temporarily, and subscribe to a slightly different lens? What do I have to lose by dropping my programming, just for a bit, and seeing this from a different perspective?
If I’m able to act as an observer, not a participant, I am usually able to analyze things in a much more empowering way. What do I wish for myself? Do I want to continue to be held hostage by something abstract like “but what if?” My authentic self will answer that with – “no, I absolutely do not want to do that.”
While I do work with clients to use a different lens, so they can pre-imagine different outcomes, I also do not subscribe to the idea that fear isn’t useful. In fact, I believe it truly is useful. It allows you to see where you may not be showing up for yourself. You can hit the pause button and ask, “is this true for me right now? Will this be true for me in 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years?”
In the human experience, we are prisoners of our own minds, and while it’s easy to convince ourselves why our point of view is the correct one, the growth comes from suspending the programming, and saying, “what if that’s not the objective truth, but my fear of failure, or my fear of feeling out-of-control?” What then can you do to feel in control?
Play the what-if game. What if why I am most afraid of DOES happen? Am I resilient enough to find a new path forward? YES. Am I brave enough to step into the unknown for a brief period of time? YES. Can I live a fulfilling life, without self-mastery and self-compassion? Probably not, love.
Fear is your friend, because it allows you to step into alignment, ask for assistance from your Spirit team (if you choose), but it really does allow you to pivot. More of this? Less of this? You know you’re the one in the driver’s seat, regardless of what the situation appears to be.
If you need help making peace with your fear, please reach out.