Updated: Mar 8, 2018
If you are human, then you have experienced some measure of fear in your life. If you are like me, you have experienced more than your fair share of this uncomfortable emotion. Most of my life I have avoided fear, ran away from feeling it, exploring it, or God forbid, embracing it.
That has changed. I am now more able to be present with my fears. To be clear, fear can still be overwhelming. It can still seem so intense that I just want to crawl under the bed… and hope that maybe, just must maybe, it will go away, and I won’t have to deal with it.
As I am now embracing fear more and more, I have been learning a few things. Take close notice, I said learning, not learned. As I move along my path I gain new and deeper insights, but nothing I am learning is set in stone. Some insights will expand, some will be thrown out.
Here are is part one of my Things Fear Is Teaching Me Series. Links to part two and three can be found at the bottom of the page.
It is okay to be afraid
Yes, it is. This has been a hard one for me. I feel like a little boy when I am afraid. I don’t want to feel like a little boy. Wait a second, what is wrong with a little boy? Nothing! Little boys are filled with light, they are curious, they want to love, they laugh and play. Sometimes little boys get afraid! Yea for them!
And what is really awesome, is that when it is okay for me to be afraid, then it is okay for you too. Yea!
Fear hasn’t killed me
It is true, fear hasn’t kill me. In fact, I feel more alive when I face it.
If I didn’t face it, I wouldn’t have published this post. And for publishing it, I feel lighter and freer. Not being me is what bit by bit, kills me, not fear.
Sometimes fear is projected excitement
I wish I came up with this one on my own, but I didn’t. I once read it in a book by Ken Wilbur. At the time I was in college and I had a choice to speak about a topic in front of my class or write an essay. I really wanted to write the essay, but I was encouraged to do the talk.
The night before the talk I was filled with fear. So I went for a walk. During my walk I was reminded that fear could be projected excitement. As I pondered this, I realized that I wasn't afraid, I was actually really excited to get in front of the class and share something I was passionate about. What also came to me was that I was afraid because I was complicating the talk, that If I stuck to what I knew, I would be fine.
The talk went great, and I was thrilled to have faced the fear/excitement. Fun stuff, eh?
Fear can be so intense because I haven’t been listening to it
This is not to be confused with the sudden intense fear that something harmful is about to happen. That is my guidance system working properly. I am talking about day to day fears, ones that are really, really loud and scary (but I am not actually in any physical danger).
These fears are the ones that feel paralyzing, the ones of the, “I can’t deal with this!” variety. But if I ask, “What are you telling me?” the answer will come. The key is to be patient for the answer, especially if I am in serious fight or flight mode.
If it is really intense it usually won’t come until I have breathed, told a loved one, said a prayer and gone for a long walk. If I stick with it, I will hear it. It has only been so loud because I wasn’t listening.
Fear is a double agent
This is one of my favorites.
Fear is working on behalf of Love. I have almost always seen it as an agent for darkness, but what it is really doing is recruiting me for the Light.
I am almost convinced it does a better job of teaching me about faith, love, compassion and forgiveness than just about anything else. Go ahead, ask your fear, “Hey bud, what are you here to teach me?” The answer may surprise you.