BE DONE BEING SCARED
Fear is optional
Believe it or not fear is optional. Literally believe it or not. Most people don’t perceive fear to be a choice. Rather most feel that fear simply happens to them, and they don’t recognize themselves as the source of it. While it can seem very, very convincing that the source of our fear is somewhere outside of us, I assure you that it’s not, because nothing we feel is. Everything we feel, we feel inside of us, and what allows us to feel whatever it is we feel, is us. If there was no us here then there would be no feeling in response to anything. The common denominator in all of it, is us. It’s obvious and yet most people don’t really see it.
Why does it seem that fear just happens and that we can’t control it? It’s like this. When we look out at something, say an event, a person, or a circumstance, we perceive it through our lenses and filters of what we’ve learned and experienced. Then we decide if it’s scary or not. This happens automatically for most of us and so it seems that the thing is the source of fear. We don’t recognize that what we are experiencing is our story and beliefs projected onto the objects or circumstances. If we slowed this process down, and made it conscious rather than automatic, we would see that we don’t actually look out and see fear, but rather we look out and see our meanings and definitions about what it is that we think we are looking at. Based on those definitions, we then have certain thoughts, feelings and physiological responses.
While we are busy attempting to control all of our feelings and the physiological responses of the fear that we imagine is out there, over there, or somewhere, we fail to go to the core of the fear. While we might be successful at managing the sensations that come along with our perceptions of what is, we often don’t look at the perceptions themselves. Instead we attempt to fix, numb or change the effects that we feel, hoping and praying, that we will stop feeling them. Imagine recognizing that you are the source of your fear response. Notice how empowered you would feel when you know that you can change how you are feeling by changing how you are seeing. You can. Fear doesn’t have to be part of your experience. It’s not a given or a must. The more self-aware you become and the more you will realize yourself as the source of what you feel, the evidence will reveal itself to you through your direct experience of living without fear.
BECOMING MORE RESOURCEFUL
Redefining our definitions
You might ask, what about when I need to or should be scared? What if I’m being threatened, harmed or my survival is at risk? It’s interesting that we fear, that if we don’t fear, then we won’t take the appropriate actions in response to situations where we need to take them. It like fear is our security blanket and we think we need it to feel safe. Yet our continued insistence in holding onto it, is what continues to make us feel unsafe. What the conundrum. What I would say is that the reason why we don’t take appropriate actions that we need to take is because we fear, not because we don’t. For example say someone is threatening you with a knife or raping you, you fear and freeze, and let them harm you. If you have a little more energy in your system you flee or fight back. One could say the more fear you feel in a situation the less resourceful you are. If you have ever seen the movie Divergent you can see a perfect example of what it’s like to be in your most terrifying scenarios, move through your fear, and have more energy and resourcefulness available to navigate the situation at hand. You literally become present and when you are present you know what to do and how to respond. You don’t need the fear in order to respond. The moral of the story is that the more powerless we believe ourselves to be, the more fearful we will feel, and less capacity we have to navigate our lives.
We have all been born into definitions of fear that we have learned to take on as our own. We have all had experiences where those definitions played themselves out in our experience. I don’t think there are exceptions to this. Perhaps there are a few unicorns out there on this planet who somehow managed not to get the fear definitions and messages, but I’ve never met any of them. I say this because fear likes to think that it is the only one that has experienced what it has experienced and it/we like to stay justified in our stories of fear. We insist that we should be afraid and that it’s impossible not feel fear based on what we’ve experienced in this life. We feel our trauma is too big or has been bigger than others, and that’s why we are more afraid. I am not here to compare anyone’s trauma to another’s, but rather to state that we have all experienced what we might call trauma, and we all have to find our way through our limited stories of fear into freedom.
If you want to hold onto your definitions, stories and the validation of your fear through your experiences of it, please do. I am not here to tell you what to do or not do. Everything serves us until it doesn’t. I will say that what we tend to be most scared of is our freedom, not our fear. Paradoxically if we were a little more afraid of our fear we’d have less of it, because we push away what we are afraid of. Do you get that? I’m not suggesting you do that, rather to simply see the irony in it. When we perpetuate our perspectives of fear, others who know their freedom to choose fear or not, appear as a threat to us. We become more comfortable with fear and with those who feel it. Similar vibrations create resonance, even if it’s ultimately not what we really want to be feeling.
We don’t feel safe because we choose fear. We fear to let go of our fear, because freedom feels unsafe when we are afraid. There is a way through it all. If you notice you feel fear, don’t deny it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Feel it and then ask yourself what it is made of. How are you seeing in order to be feeling what you feel? It begins and ends in your willingness and courage to look at the source of your fears. See what they are made of and inquire. Be in conscious awareness of your choosing rather than in automatic reaction. You are free to become as free as you desire. The ball is in your hands.
Dr. Amanda Love, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado