The energy of fear has been prevalent across the globe this past year and, as it’s heightened, I’ve found myself curiously exploring it more and more.
Through gaining further understanding, it’s cementing for me how interlinked so many of our challenges are with fear sitting firm at their root. This means that we can tackle a whole bunch of our prevailing problems—like perfectionism, people-pleasing, anxiety, and overwhelm—by getting a handle on this one thing.
From my own journey and from seeing the same experiences in my clients, fear is one of the biggest factors obstructing our path to freedom. Whether we’re on a perpetual quest for perfection, would do anything to please others, keep putting off our dreams or prefer to begrudgingly agree than share our honest opinions, fear is at the core.
We’re afraid of not being liked, of being rejected, of not being good enough, of public speaking, of failing, of making mistakes, of upsetting others, of judgment—of lots of life’s natural experiences.
But are we really?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if any of that actually happened?
If I’m a perfectionist, afraid of making a mistake, am I afraid of making the mistake? Or am I afraid of what others will think of me if I make a mistake? And if that’s the case, what’s the real fear? Why do their opinions terrify me?
For me, making mistakes meant I wasn’t good enough. And not being good enough ultimately meant not getting love or approval. For me, and for many of us, it’s the pain of that potential that keeps us afraid.
“Fear of life is really the fear of emotions. It is not the facts that we fear but our feelings about them. Once we have mastery over our feelings, our fear of life diminishes.” ~ David R. Hawkins
One of our ultimate fears is not being good enough, because if we’re not good enough, we believe we won’t receive love, and if that’s the case, game over.
Love is like oxygen for the human soul.
That’s why we’re so afraid of being rejected, of not belonging, of not being liked.
For the primitive part of our brain that houses our fears, this is not just about being embarrassed or making a mistake—this is about survival.
Because humans need each other. Think of how long we’re dependent on our parents growing up (or when grown-up), in comparison to any animal in the animal kingdom. How many of them come out walking? How many are ready to fend for themselves way sooner than any human child?
This is ultimately what fear is actually scared about—us not being able to handle our situation. Its message is rooted in “can’t.” It hasn’t caught up with the reality of how incredibly capable we actually are. And it’s up to us to get it up to speed.
So here are five things to remember about fear and to tell yourself whenever it’s rising up in its varying forms:
1. It’s normal. It’s innate. We all have it. You’re not alone or less or wrong for experiencing it. You’re human.
2. It’s all about survival, not logic. So you need to start questioning it, establishing if you are in fact in a survival situation and if not, speaking your truth to its bullsh*t.
3. It’s often not about what we think it is. It’s usually about a feeling we think we can’t handle. Remind your lovely self that you can handle all of your feelings—we’re literally built to. And the more we do, the more we build resilience to them and they pass more quickly.
4. It’s not going anywhere. It’s been around awhile, and it’s here to stay. We don’t need to try to get rid of it—we need to have the courage to feel it and live our best damn lives anyway.
5. Love kicks its ass. Fear is scared; it’s this primitive, unconscious part of us that has no idea how powerful we are. It reacts and recoils and is dramatic and hyperbolic. We need to lovingly teach it that we’ve got this. That we hear and appreciate its concerns, but we trust ourselves enough to know we’ll be okay. The more we can be in the energy of love, the quieter fear will get.
Keeping these in mind allows us to transform how we see and relate to fear. It releases its grip on our lives and creates the space for us to step up.
As we build a new relationship with our fears, we realise the fragility of their foundations, we discover the irrationality interwoven within their stories, and we reconnect to the reality and power of our inherent courage.