“The fear of taking a shot at anything in life, lives in the fact that there are no guaranteed outcomes and this notion sadly, paralyzes so many from ever taking a chance, because they can never be certain enough. It’s important to understand that the fear will always be there, that’s what makes us humans, and those of us that end of leading successful and fulfilled lives have just learned to better tame and dance with that fear more than others.” ~Chris Hill
It is the nature of us all to avoid pain and seek pleasure. This resisting and seeking is also the root of our pain and suffering. Yet our brains are wired to do this automatically. Fear of pain – and death – is our ultimate survival mechanism. Without it, we’d be eaten by lions, or killed by neighboring tribes. Or ran over by a speeding Ford Mustang. We need fear – healthy fear – to survive, even thrive.
Fear itself is not a problem. The problem is with chronic fear, anxiety and worry so many of us are carrying around. It’s the fear of being not “good enough”, the fear of failure, loneliness, rejection. This type of fear is not needed for survival yet we live with it often unaware of its presence, and its impact on our lives.
When you look underneath painful emotions like anger, shame, and depression, you will often find unresolved fear. Mindfulness can help us face and release that fear, and with it, release worry, anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, and other self-defeating patterns we’ve picked up – usually as frightened children – patterns that are now crippling our growth, keeping us small, isolated, and depressed.
“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” ~Richie Norton
The antidote to fear is compassion, love, and a sense of belonging. It’s embracing vulnerability, our personal power, and being fully present in the moment. It’s recognizing and naming our feelings, centering, and connection. It’s self-awareness coupled with the dismantling of our mental stories, listening to our body, working with our reactions and habitual patterns.
Instead of rejecting our fears, we’re facing them and allowing them pass through us so we can once and for all release their hold, let them out, heal. Instead of repressing difficult emotions – fear, anger, shame – we learn to witness and feel them head on so that we can finally move past them.
Fear-busting mantra: If you’re afraid of something, that means you have to do it!
Pick one fear and face it. Pick one nervous habit and break it. Pick one thing you avoid and approach it.
MindShift: Facing & Releasing The Hold of Fear
When the grip of fear hits you:
- Become aware of it – recognize when you’re inside the trance of fear, notice how it shows up in your body, notice your resistance.
- Face it with compassion – take a step back to observe your fearful thoughts without judgement and with self-compassion; notice and name your feelings without criticism; allow the fear to move through your physical body paying attention to sensations, tightness or pain; recognize and feel your pain surrounding it with love and compassion.
- Investigate it – look for limiting beliefs and childhood programming that might be fueling your fears, investigate what’s underneath the fear by asking “why do I feel this way?”, “what’s the worst that can happen?”, “what if it comes true?”, “how likely is it?”, “what am I really afraid of?”, etc.
- Release it – express your fear out loud, shake it out by moving your body, call a friend, journal, pet your dog, go outside, dance it out, listen to an encouraging podcast, play with your child, take a bath or shower, watch a comedy, cry if you need to, list 3 things you’re grateful for right now. Release. Reset. Renew.
Our fears are not our enemy – they are the door to healing our past pain and transforming our life going forward. They are the stepping stones to change and growth.
Fear is a part of life’s journey. Facing and embracing our fears connects us to our own humanity, and to each other. Yes, fear, anxiety, and worry are painful and we don’t want to face them. Yet, face them we must if we’re to grow and move past them. The alternative is allowing fear decide our destiny.
Taming our fears opens the door to inner peace, joy, and fulfillment, and this is something we cannot deny ourselves.
You’re worthy of putting yourself first!
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