What a time we are living in! Two days ago was our Presidential election here in America, and we are still awaiting the results. I’ve never seen censorship, media manipulation, people attacking one another, and such inflamed rhetoric in my entire life. I am embarrassed for my Country and I’m saddened that my children are growing up in a time where they are observing adults acting worse than middle school bullies. If you are not in America you are likely still dealing with the Pandemic and all of the implications of it. It’s hard to know what to do! I’m glad that I have a belief in God and that I know God always has a plan. It’s my belief that we don’t always get to know what the plan is and that’s very frustrating when, as humans, we prefer to be in control and to be in the know. In times like these, fear can be very strong and at times the anxiety of not knowing the outcome can be overwhelming. I thought it might be helpful to examine a few ways we can look at fear.
Let’s start with Forget Everything And Run! How many of you choose this path when afraid? The Fight or Flight response is one of the most primal instincts of humans, so I would venture to say, a lot of you have tried this response. How did it work out for you? Did it remove the fear? My experience has been that when I run, the fear doesn’t go away but it is temporarily delayed. This can be done in a number of ways i.e. drinking to escape it, actually walking out of relationships and replacing them with new ones, quitting a job or a dream, giving up on oneself, eating too much or too little, and any other addictive behaviors and avoidance you can think of. The big problem with this technique, aside from the obvious, is that the fear still chases you, and there is usually another problem to follow the fear that is created from some of the negative actions and habits that are used to avoid the fear.
How about this one…Face Everything And Rise!? So let’s say you have a fear of heights, for the sake of picking a concrete one, and you become paralyzed with fear when you are on a bridge. If you avoid the bridge and leave (using the flight response) will you ever overcome the fear? Likely not. Now what if I said, you had a pretty good chance of overcoming your fear with a little work? What if I told you that if you faced your fear, and received coaching or therapy to work through it, you could actually someday walk on the bridge and not feel afraid? Most of the time, when you allow yourself to take baby steps towards something you want to overcome, eventually you CAN and will overcome it. There are many techniques to overcome fears by way of facing them, understanding them and clarifying the root cause of the fear, and taking action on what you can control to overcome the fear.
Finally, I’m going to share an acronym that I was taught in Sunday School when I was a little girl. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. What does that mean? Well, when there is fear there’s no true threat of immediate physical danger, no threat of a loss of someone or something dear to us, actually nothing is there at all. F.E.A.R. is an illusion it is something we fabricate in our own minds. I know it seems really real! But this is an important distincition, seeming versus actually being real are two different things. Fear, by definition, is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. It is something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension. Fear itself is an illusion. It is an emotion that usually creates a way bigger problem than what is actually there. If you believe in God or a higher power of any sort, you can take this even step further and give the fearful emotion to your higher power to handle for you. In my experience I’ve had amazing results through this practice of letting go and letting God.
We can’t control the outcome of a Presidential election, we can’t control our fears and phobias, but what we can control is how we choose to respond to them and categorized them in our minds. We can choose to take steps to overcome the fear. Sometimes that means gathering information to make us feel more safe, sometimes that means trying something we are afraid of and gaining confidence along the way, and sometimes that means giving it over to the Universe or God or whatever our higher power is. We can choose to meditate, get a massage, take a rest, educate ourselves, volunteer to help a cause, there are unlimited choices we can make that will help us to put fear in its place where it belongs so it’s not driving our actions.
I hope this helps you calm your fears about anything that might be holding you back from being your best, most vibrant, ass-kicking self. I will leave you with this quote. “Many times, the thought of fear itself is greater than what it is we fear.”― Idowu Koyenikan. Now let’s get after those goals and dreams!