Becoming Friends with Fear
What are you most afraid of? No, I’m not talking about spiders or the dark. I mean what do you feel a yearning for? What pulls you from where you are now to somewhere entirely different? What is it that scares you shitless? Whatever it is, that’s the kind of fear that masks magic. The kind that acts as a shining light to lead you to your dreams.
Fear is but an evolutionary adaptation. It gives us the ability to sense and avoid danger, providing an intense change in our nervous system that puts self preservation top of the agenda in the face of perceived threats. But who’s actually being chased by a sabre tooth tiger these days?
When we’re young, we are counterintuitively told that we learn by doing, but that failure is bad. Our conditioning tells us that we must be afraid of failing or meet criticism when we get things wrong and don’t follow the status quo.
As we grow up, this fear leaks into our everyday lives; our creativity, our identity, our choices and decision making. It stops us embracing life with open arms and hinders the flow of creativity, intuition, personal progress and transformation; all because we want to avoid the consequences of our fear.
So what if ultimately, fear just keeps us alive but not very happy? What if these fears are actually guiding us to our true callings, our vulnerabilities and our path towards reaching our fullest potential and happiest lives? Put simply: fear keeps us living small.
By nature, fear complicates us. It hides our most authentic self and desires, erases potential and halts personal progress. But when we accept that we can’t control everything, especially others perceptions, we realise our fear is only holding us back from ourselves. Making us avoid new challenges or the steps towards fulfilling our intrinsic happiness.
So what happen’s if you are afraid? Well, nothing. If we realise that the only one stopping us from making that first move is us, we can overcome fear, make friends with it and use it to lean in to the magic of the unknown. So where do we start?
See the fear
Feel it. Notice it. Name it. Understand that fear is an emotion just like any other and it will pass just as others do. The more aware of your fear you become, the more in tune with yourself you will be and likely to use the charge for positive inquiry and progress.
Befriend the fear
Be curious about your fear. What dreams are hiding between your fears? Do you fear your creative outlet because it means taking on people’s judgement? The more scared we are of a work or a calling, the more important it is that we pursue it. We feel fear because it matters. It makes us vulnerable. So instead of fighting the fear, welcome it! Don’t forget our wildest dreams live in our greatest fears.
Transform the fear
When did things ever turn out just the way you expected or go exactly according to plan? In reality, the negative outcomes we fear rarely ever happen and at worse the experience is a learning curve. It’s time to let go of preconceived ideas and perfectionism to simply experiment! After all, as Elizabeth Gilbert said “Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat”. So brave the fear, be willing to go to places you haven’t explored before, pull away from what people think and find the power in wearing your favourite sneakers.
Fear is your power. It’s telling you it is the perfect time to do the thing you want to do. So lean in, listen and befriend it - you never know what you might find!