Fear is an interesting topic because it takes on so many faces while displaying itself in a multitude of ways. Gavin de Becker wrote a book The Gift of Fear. It’s not the fear that will impede your life, but what the fear prevents you from doing. It’s the aftermath of the fear that is like a storm and when you’re in its path destruction is possible.
When I first read de Becker’s book I was enthralled. The first edition was written in 1996. We didn’t know at the time that 9/11 would happen. We had just experienced the Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building so as a nation we were on high alert. De Becker makes it clear that the benefit of fear is not being on the defensive, but developing an intimate relationship with your intuition. Connecting with those feelings or thoughts that would, in the past, go unnoticed or overlooked.
The problem is when our fears become irrational. The times when we generalize our fear and take a defensive position as we move through life. Penache Desai, author of Discover Your Soul Signature asks, “Why do we hold onto and even hoard our fear?” When you read that does it ring true for you? Has generalized anxiety disorders become pervasive in our culture because we hoard our fear?
When diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness fear is a natural response. We don’t like to discuss frailty, and certainly avoid any and all discussions about death and dying. I’m going to personify fear for a moment. Fear does exactly what it wants us to do, become paralyzed. It impacts our good judgment. It impedes our ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, when we face any type of adversity is when we need to be our sharpest, so how will you achieve that state-of-mind?
In Dan Harris’ book 10% Happier, he discusses his enormous struggle with fear. In fact, he talks openly about the panic attack he had on the air during a broadcast. His journey to took him down the road of using drugs until he realized that if he was going to succeed he had to do something differently. His odyssey took him throughout the self-help and faith communities. He concluded that meditation was the one thing that worked for him and so many others. Through meditation he could face the fear. Like Susan Jeffers book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
Stop hoarding your irrational fear while honing your intuition to identify when real fear exists. When facing a health challenge, identifying what you’re actually afraid of is important. Is it the prognosis? Is it the journey through treatment? Could it be the possibility of dying? Wrap your head around the fear and address it. Find someone to help you identify and work through the fear. Engage in a practice that will alleviate the fear. Utilize your creative energies to express yourself without judgment in a genuine and authentic way.
Don’t be the victim of fear, be its master!
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