Do you ever feel you are being deluged by fear? The news is full of it. The world looks and sounds like a very scary place. Financial collapse, devastating climatic conditions, mad gunmen – to name but a few.
As powerful are these fears – fear of failure or success in a new venture, fear of rejection or losing the approval of one who is important to you, fear of not having enough money, fear of being found out – as not being perfect or good enough. And yet, these are the fears we can do something about. They are within us. They block our experience of wealth, no matter our material assets.
I was not aware of fear until my experience of being in the January 1994 Californian earthquake. It happened at 4.30 am. I was staying in Carpinteria at a home purpose-built to withstand earthquakes. I was woken by the gentle shaking and rolling of the house. I enjoyed the sensation – until it stopped.
Then my imagination went to work. What if the house had fallen around me? What if I had been cut by broken glass? I was alone. What if I had been buried in broken rubble – and never found? I am blessed with a great imagination. On this occasion, it served to frighten me.
Before the earthquake, I had been protected and sheltered from some of life’s toughest challenges by my loving and supportive partner and husband. After our separation later in 1994, I came to discover more fears that related to living on my own.
Fear can make us do strange things. Our addictions are often based on fear. You may smoke cigarettes to overcome shyness. You may overeat to comfort yourself from the feelings of hurt. You might over-exercise to deaden emotional pain. You could be addicted to social media to avoid the challenges of face-to-face relationships.
Fear left unchecked can make the world around us appear very frightening and scary. Where is the hope in fear?
Fear is energy. If you dwell in fear, your energy will drop. Energy directed to positive purpose has value for you. It has been said that fear is the energy for a new situation. How is that?
Fear often shows up when we face the unknown. The heightened energy of fear can serve to put you on alert, to find the information or resources you might need for the future, to stimulate your creativity and imagination to fulfil your goals and objectives.
The first time I stood to address a large audience, I was very frightened. My knees felt like jelly. My face was bright red – or felt like it. This was in fact good “preparation energy”. As I started to speak, I began to feel the excitement of what I was doing – talking about a topic that was important for me. I found that excitement and fear are two sides of the same coin. That which I feared doing I really loved, and still do to this day.
Fear is the door to love. The closer you get to fear, facing it, the closer you are to opening into your greater resources of love. The door is paper thin. Truly, fear is an illusion.
Practically speaking, how does this work? How do you retrieve yourself from the grip of fear?
You can develop a relationship with fear to help you to direct that precious energy to achieve what you really want. Here are some tips:
1. Accept the feelings of fear when they show up. Self-awareness gives you choices.
2. Locate the place of fear in your body. This might be your stomach, shoulders or any other place of tension and tightness.
3. Breathe deeply into the place of fear. Take a few deep breaths and envisage your breath going into the place of tension, relaxing and releasing it. When you breathe out, let go of fearful thoughts and feelings and begin to imagine peace within you.
4. Drink water regularly throughout the day. Water helps to flush out negative emotions and helps to calm you.
5. Comfort and nurture yourself with kind words of encouragement and support. Be a best friend to yourself and give to you what you would give to your closest friend.
6. Burn off the energy of fear with physical exercise. Go out for a run, brisk walk or swim.
7. Complete unfinished tasks. Do the laundry, change the light bulb, sweep the yard. Accomplish that which you have been meaning to do for ages. Put the energy of fear to good use. You will get things done and feelings of fear will lessen in the process.
8. Be willing to ask for support from others. Do not cut yourself off and feel lonely. Fear is a very human emotion. Most of us have felt it at some time.
9. Listen to the wisdom of your fear. Fear can be seen as a messenger. Give your fear a voice and listen to the information it has to help you.
10. Love yourself through the fear. Your love will outlast your scariest feelings. Fear withers in the face of love, or loving attention. You are and you have love. You can transform the energy of fear into valuable and productive energy.
How do you overcome fear when it shows up? Who is your model of courage in the face of fear, and how do they inspire you?