Finding Wisdom in Fear
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”
– Jack Canfield
We have written several articles about fear:
Fearful thinking is at the root of most human discomfort.
From birth, we are hardwired to survive. In childhood we seek to avoid abandonment at all costs. This is because to a child abandonment is synonymous with death. As a result, throughout life we seek the opposite – acceptance, attention, approval, friendship, love and respect.
We are social creatures. It suits us to feel that we ‘fit in.’ It follows then that anything that we perceive as putting our place within ‘the tribe’ in peril, will provoke a response of fear.
Fear also exists as a mechanism to keep us safe. We have written about it as a trusted friend who places a pair of reins upon us which at any point where danger is felt, become tight and lead to paralysis through our own limiting behaviours. Unless we have sought to bring our responses into the light, these systems are usually unconscious.
Fear does not discriminate. It presents as an unpleasant body sensation from which come the limiting actions that place sometimes necessary, obstacles in our path.
Fear exists to make us check thoroughly before crossing the road. To prevent us from speaking our minds loosely at work or getting into an aggressive altercation with someone thereby causing unmanageable trouble for ourselves. To prevent us from standing too close to the edge of a cliff. Here the reins are useful. These are occasions where we do need to stop.
Unfortunately, the unconscious act of ‘stopping’ through fear does not always appropriately equip us for the emergency. It can cause our brain to fog and our limbs to turn to jelly. It can render us paralysed.
This does not help us if the fear comes from a place of sitting a life-changing exam or test, skilfully performing a difficult or demanding task under pressure, responding to confrontation, or engaging in anticipated conflict. Fear is often not useful when the outcome of the situation carries emotional weight for us.
When we are paralysed, we can look like prey. In this situation we often find ourselves reviewing what happened in retrospect and wishing that we could have done it differently.
We often realise that we were in possession of all the right skills but that in the end, fear got the better of us.
What if we pushed past the freeze?
Could fear be transmuted into something with more integrity?
What is fear really saying to us if we choose to listen?
That is the basic message, but what if we dig a little deeper?
This is an incredibly important task!
There is great risk here!
Get your game face on!
Watch what you’re doing!
This is the moment you’ve practised for!
Take extreme care whilst doing this!
If we are travelling the path of self-discovery towards enlightenment, we may have learned some useful skills which will help us to follow the above guidance.
We may have learned to press pause and slow down our actions so as to bring in conscious responses.
We may know how to employ some deep belly breathing to down-regulate the fight-flight response which will inevitably have been evoked by the situation. Just Breathe
We may have the ability to engage our Observer Self, the part of us that is able to bear witness to our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours without becoming consumed by them.
We may be in possession of clear and clean language techniques that allow us to communicate without the interaction becoming contaminated by our own emotion. How to Speak your Truth
When we are not acting consciously, fear results in stopping us in our tracks but when we listen to it, the message is different.
When fear is present, it is encouraging us to appreciate the gravity of the situation.
Can fear then be transmuted into respect?
When we have an important task ahead of us and we feel fear begin to arise within us, what if rather than allowing ourselves to become paralysed, we took its wise counsel?
The next time that you feel fear begin to take hold, press pause.
Step into the shoes of your Observer-Self.
Say thank you to your body for the signal that something big is about to happen.
Ask yourself what the deeper message is.
How would you capture it with words?
Now, begin to transmute the fear into respect for the task.
This task is a worthy test.
Ask yourself what is needed.
Breathe deeply to clear your mind and reduce the unpleasant sensations caused by your fight-flight response.
Visualise the ideal outcome.
Is there a particular skillset here that you have been honing for this task? Set the intention to engage it.
If this is a situation that you have prepared for, affirm that you have done all that you can to allow it to unfold as smoothly as possible.
If appropriate, resolve to communicate slowly and cleanly in weights and measures, without allowing your emotions to contaminate the situation.
Keep breathing slowly and deeply.
Hold your nerve.
See it through.
Now celebrate your experience, your learning and your incredible capacity for growth!
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your human experience see our book: