1.an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Fear is caused by “belief.”However, belief does not mean that what you are thinking is actually true. But we get stuck, so stuck in the belief aspect of fear that we become paralyzed, unable to react/act rationally. We isolate ourselves, we minimize ourselves, we miss out on living fully alive.
These past few days I have had to deal with a lot of things that I am afraid of. A lot of emotion has come to the surface and as I contemplate the source of a lot of my pain and confusion, I am becoming aware of how often I react and respond out of fear and not from a place of courage. I am learning; I am able to stand my ground far better than I was a year ago but it is a process and I still fall into the fear trap.
There are many ways that fear can cripple us if we allow it to.
Boundaries – When I operate from a place of fear I do not allow others the proper boundaries nor do I protect myself by maintaining the proper boundaries that I need.
Expectations – When I operate from a place of fear, I need to be in control and so I place unrealistic expectations on myself and on others.
Self Preservation – When I operate from a place of fear, I do not believe that I have enough or that I am enough so I cling tightly and don’t allow myself or others breathing space.
Blame – When I operate from a place of fear, I do not want to be wrong so it is easier to blame or deflect than to take responsibility for my own actions.
Excuses – When I operate from a place of fear, I try to justify with excuses for my behavior because it is easier than taking ownership and responsibility.
How can we combat the demon of fear? By facing it head on. By admitting that we are afraid, that we are wrong, that we don’t always get it right and loving ourself and others through that process. By letting go of unrealistic expectations and the need to cling on to others in an attempt to feel whole or validated.
The opposite of fear is bravery; it’s not the absence of fear but the answer to fear. Bravery is being afraid and moving forward anyway. Bravery is standing up and doing the right thing not the easy thing, not the comfortable thing. Bravery means that I am able and willing to admit when I am wrong, own it and begin taking the steps I need to take to change.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela