Managing Fear

On the other side of fear is the life you’ve always imagined~

Fears have the ability to paralyze. They can enslave in repetitive thoughts & actions and neuter our ability to grow.

Without the ability to manage my fears I can’t ever move beyond the life I have now.

Here is a rundown on what I know about fear, how it works, how to recognize it, how to listen to it, how to honor it and how to move past it.

How fear works:

Fear is a baromter of growth. I think of it as a guard standing on the edge of the things that I know, warning me that by passing fear I’m going into the unknown.

If I’m afraid, it’s likely that I’m challenging my status quo, pushing my comfort zone or my limits.

From an evolutionary standpoint, fear is designed to keep you safe, away from the possible suffering the unknown could deliver.

Your fears are trying to protect you from hurt.

Mostly I’m scared of what people think, but I’m more scared of really trying and failing. The best way to avoid being hurt is to never try to do things differently at all. But by not risking hurt, you can’t ever grow.

How to identify fear:

First I have to find the fear. Sometimes it’s a heavy feeling in my gut, sometimes it’s in my heart. Sometimes it’s endless worried chatter in my head, and sometimes it’s all three.

First I stop for a minute and pay attention. Where does it feel tight or heavy in my body?

Most of my fears are in my gut, my hear or my throat. (Incidentally these are where 3 of our chakras are.)

Once I figure out where it is I put my hand on that spot. I breathe really deeply while I hold my hand there and I try to picture what does this fear look like? I really get present with it, and try to describe it’s color shape and size. My favorite tends to be dark purple or black and sort of spiky balls.

I sit with it awhile, breathing, really feeling it’s presence in my body.

That usually calms me down enough to then ask myself.

How to listen to fear:

“What am I afraid of?” and then I listen to the answer

Whatever comes up, I write it down, I don’t judge it as I am writing, I just do a brain dump.

Honoring Fear:

Just knowing what it is I am afraid of, somehow makes it less big and scary. It diminishes it’s power.

I really respect my fear because I know it’s just trying to protect me. I’m grateful for it’s a signal that I’m growing.

I thank my fears, as silly as it sounds, all they really want is to be heard and aknowledged. It’s like the monster in the closet, the more you try to ignore it the bigger it gets, but as soon as I open the door and turn on the light, I realize it’s just an empty closet.

Moving past fear:

Once I have them all listed, I ask myself for each one, does this fear serve me?

So for example. With this article. I am afraid of being ridiculed. It’s the same fear that always pops up just before I show the world a little more of my authentic self.

The fear of being ridiculed isn’t enough to stop me from doing it though, because I want to get this out into the world more than I can keep it in. So while it’s a useful consideration, in this case the fear does not serve me.

I review why I want what I want. And how it would feel to get it.

I thank the fear for trying to protect me

I remember that two seconds or two minutes or two hours of courage could result in a lifetime of benefit from pushing past the fear.

If it’s an action that I need to take into it as soon as I possibly can. It’s like running to jump off the dock or something into the water. If you don’t do the first time you’ll psyche yourself out and just get more scared and It’ll get harder to do.

I also review in my mind or in my notebook the many different times I was terrified and pushed past it and what kind of results I received from pushing past it.

I like to build evidence of faith working.

For the first big one, I just had to take a leap of faith that time and trust that everything was going to turn out okay. Because I did not one big thing and it did turn out okay now I have more faith that smaller things or even bigger things will also turn out okay. That’s the case study or evidence building that I’m talking about.

I try to remember too, that fear is a physical response I will have. We are animals and it comes from the reptilian part of the brain which is the fight or flight mechanism.

I try to remember that even though it doesn’t feel like I have a choice of whether I’m going to be afraid or not that I actually do. I have a choice as to whether I will manage that fear or let it run me.

If I make my decisions based on fear I create more fear in my life. If I base my decision on love and faith and being genuine and following my gut I create a better life a better person within me.

The key is remembering I have a choice and remembering that I don’t need to let it override me and remembering it don’t need to act based on fear. I can still feel afraid but make decisions and act in spite of being afraid.

It’s really about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Because if I’m not afraid my goals aren’t big enough.

And I can choose to either fully show up, full of faith, or wilt in fear and longing for that which is within my reach.

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