Out of fear?
The litmus test
Think about the very last decision you took, even a relatively unimportant one like what to have for lunch, or the shape of your underwear for that matters,(please stay with me for a moment).
Now, whatever you chose, rewind and in slow-mo think of how you got there, did you really chose what you wanted trusting that it was the best choice to bring you the nourishment and joy your body and mind craved OR, was it driven by one or more of the following fears:
- fear of getting or looking fat,
- fear of no longer fitting in those jeans,
- fear of not being able to run/jump/swim/lift as much,
- fear of sickness,
- fear of disappointing oneself or others,
- fear of not matching expectations,
- fear of what people would think if they saw what you chose,
- fear of loneliness (comfort food anyone?),
- fear of rejection,
- fear of the consequences,
- fear of not being enough,
- fear of not being worth loving. Amen.
As far as I am concerned a combination of most of the above applies to pretty much any meal I eat or anything I wear, and yes, it has a bitter taste even when I stuff my face with salted caramel ice-cream. Is it just me?
Fear injections at every turn
The job you cannot quit because [fill in the gap], the toxic relationship that feels safer than no-relationship-at-all, the smile and the swallowing when it is not ok but you don’t want to make a scene. The constant need to adjust our words and actions in order to continue on that tightrope, while craving for authenticity and acceptance. A sunk cost fallacy, we keep investing in fear despite its poor performance. Unable to regain control, we allow fear to drive our decisions based on a domino effect of future catastrophic projections, 99.999999 % of which are just in our heads.
Fear is a fraud
The truth is that fear is a fraud. It is scarecrow pretending to care for the crops, it doesn’t and never will. Fear always fails to deliver on everything from the small what-ifs to apocalyptic scenarios, it never lives up to its words and never will.
We may think that fear is invisible, it is not. Like dust, fear envelops our lives taking away light and aliveness, and while we can try anything to cover up, fear is blatant.
While I still have a long way to go, these are the tools that are helping me to elbow in the stomach fear and sneak in to take the driving seat.
Self-awareness is always the first step, can you name the fear behind each decision, can you catch it before it shapes your next word or step, or at least just accept that this is where you are right now and that maybe today you are letting it win because it is the only way you can learn?
Accept that your actions and mistakes may be driven by fear and so may anyone else's, the aggressive as much as the shy colleague, the thin or the fat one, the one with a smile tattooed in her face and the one you can not recall the colour of his eyes. We are all negotiating, all sometimes winning and sometimes losing, all learning.
Presentce (present+ presence)
You can not fear the present or anything that is already available to you, to trigger fear you need to buckle up (or not) and take a rollercoaster journey into the future. Living in the present is a choice that you can make at every turn.
Change the narrative
My understanding is that — because fear is within — it is more about embracing and managing fear than getting rid of it, it is a matter of developing a stronger voice and stronger arguments, rather than silence fear altogether.
So when fear shows up, look at it with curiosity, why is it showing up now, what is it testing now? what’s the opportunity here? what do I need to develop or strengthen to overcome it? If in Ryan Holiday’s words — the obstacle is the way — then fear is the way, because I can not think of a bigger obstacle, can you?
When confronting fear, remember that the opposite of fear is not courage, it is trust. You need to TRUST yourself and the universe, you need to let yourself be guided by ehm Your True Self. You don't’ need to puff up your chests, we don’t need more Supermen and Wonderwomen, nor grandiose acts, we need more 24/7 humanness and love starting with ourselves.
Whether you go for a salad, a baguette, or an ice cream, nobody really cares, shocking right? The people who love you will still love you, because the people who love you just want you to be happy, they want you to enjoy YOU as much as they enjoy YOU.
I have been dealing with fear all of my life, sorry to disappoint you, there is no happy ending to this story, but if anything it is time to downshift and extend my hand out and make peace.