What is fear? Why does it matter? How do I manage it?
Fear is a basic instinct that rules every animal. It is to protect us from harm. I get that, what I am working thru is when is fear ruling me and not allowing me to grow into my potential.
I live in fear every day. I do not have that fear which is clinical or manifest itself into on-going anxiety. When I get fearful, I get anxiety, but usually, that passes, because the fear causing event has expired or the event I made up in my head has settled down where I know I need to face the facts and not the fantasy that I made up.
This fear at its core is from many sources. I get fear first because I have a crappy self-worth image (I suck). I went through High School not doing any extra clubs or groups, because of fear. I got nervous and that stopped me. No one ever told me that was normal to have fear. I thought I felt it and I was not to proceed. I believed no one else had fear, so they joined the clubs and groups.
I once watched a TV show many years ago, some stupid show and watched a bungee jumper that was about to leap off a bridge into a river below. Before the jump, a person asked him, “are you scared?” He said I am very scared, but I do not let my fear stop me. This is safe, he believed and this fear was manageable. What? You can manage fear. Something, I never heard of… Right after that, I read a book title, (never read the book), called, “Face the Fear and Do Any Ways.” I guess I was too scared to read the book. However, just reading the title was the first green light in my life.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” –Mark Twain.
Green, yellow, and red lights, damn. I still have fears, sometimes I call it resistance. I resist doing things as a form of fear. A common way I manage some fears is to use fear to motivate me (sad). In this example, I have two items; a report and its deadline. I have a week long deadline. I know I have a week so I am lazy (a form of fear, do not want to start), procrastinate (a form of fear, delayed start), and then my motivation to get this done is fear itself. Shit the report is due today (fear of deadline), need to get it done (fear of failure). So, at the last moment, I get very busy, get into the business of writing a report. I do a great job of getting it done at the last moment. Why? I do a great job at the “fear” end of a deadline, but why cannot I use that energy prior to the deadline. I use the deadline as a safety net, “I ran out of time, best I could do” (excuse fear). But, why, why, why? So, I set out to study me. Scary I know (more fear).
Two things that come to mind, first being the question, does it matter. Like writing this. I lack a deadline and very few people will read it, so why do it? The answer is I gave myself this task, and failing to do this will cause a regret (a form of fear). I have enough regrets in my life and want change (a form of fear). Will my regrets change me… or depress me? So where is the change agent to my fears?
Fear at its core is a lack of faith. Often in life when one attribute of my life is predominant, like fear, I need to find the opposite to exercise it so more of a balance is achieved. I am not talking about dualism, I discount that right away. I can give a working example. I have knee problems, so going to PT, they discovered my hips are not strong as they should be causing my knees to become overworked and ache. To solve my knee issue, I do hip exercises.
A faith example, I showed my writing to a special friend, she loves my writing. I believe she was sincere and not blowing smoke up my ass. The encouragement gave some faith to write some more. I feel I can do this (faith). I like what I write (faith as encouragement), will others (fear)? Life has shown me that very few people will give me faith, most will give me fear… Like Trolls that live under a bridge and write/say mean things about me. My mind pauses (spins) when this happens, is there any truth in their statements (corrective criticism), I will let that resonate and discount the rest or discount the troll completely. When I am very unhealthy, I spin it out of control and become totally discouraged and depressed (fear to lead to self-hate).
I am always looking for more examples or faith to reduce my fears. I pray and meditate (a little, trying to get better), that pumps up the faith side. I have done a fear inventory (listed it in AA’s step 4) and released it power over me (AA’s step 5). Other religious places of worship and others do it using confession and others use similar methods of releasing the power fear has over us.
We need a road map to work out our fears. When I share my fears, they lose some power. I share in a group, I get suggestions of the roads I should take. Suggestions are great, but not all roads will get me where I need to go, or at least efficiently. I take the suggestions and begin by taking a single step, then another.
I told some folks, I wanted to write about fear, but was too scared to start. I found like most of my fears, once I face them, they disappear. “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there.” –English Proverb.
I will finish with this quote…
“He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson