It’s everywhere my friends. Honestly, when I started listing the ways fear manifests itself in our lives I was thinking I’d have maybe 10 ways. There are 18 on this list. Eighteen! I honestly think I could probably find 20 more, but I had to stop because it was so damned depressing. (Scratch that, make it 20 items on this list. I just discovered two new ones over this past week.)
HOW FEAR SHOWS UP IN OUR LIVES
We put ourselves in everyone else's lives
so we don't have to look at what's going on in ours.
We become overwhelmed
when faced with learning, trying, or doing
something we haven't done before.
We anesthetize ourselves with food, drugs,
alcohol, TV, so we don’t have to look at what our
lives are or what we really want to do with it.
We spend time we say we don’t
have on facebook, Netflix, or
electronic games (our
anesthetizing drugs of choice
for the new millennium).
We procrastinate ALL THE TIME.
We avoid doing what we need to do
by answering email or cleaning
toilets because it's easier than
starting something new.
We drop out of courses, or
groups, or self-care regimes.
We avoid finishing something
because we haven’t got it “right” yet.
We keep ourselves so “busy”
we don’t have time to make any
changes in our lives.
We get nothing accomplished,
but manage to spend entire
days frozen in busyness.
We don’t speak up when someone
mistreats us, or mistreats someone
We get sick more often —
fear causes stress > stress releases
cortisol > cortisol suppresses the immune
system > a weakened immune system
creates sickness or disease.
We consistently doubt or
Even when we finally make a
decision, we wish we could go
back and change it. And then
we worry about what will happen...
We hesitate constantly, instead of
moving forward decisively. Every
decision is made a hundred times.
We overwork or over-commit
ourselves to avoid doing what
we really want to do (or need to do)
We find ourselves feeling bored
and restless (but instead of
looking at why we anesthetize
or distract ourselves)
We become forgetful — stress and
worry create the flight/fight/freeze
response, which turns off our brain
to anything but the fear temporarily,
so we may not be able to remember.
We use sarcasm.
"Yeah, like I'm going to do that" —
especially if it means the possibility of us
having to change.
We create drama or surround
ourselves with drama so we don’t
have to figure out our own shit.
We dismiss possibilities as “too
simple” or “that won’t work” or an
immediate “that’s impossible”
rather than getting behind them
and trying to see if change is possible.
We immediately get defensive with
even the slightest perception of criticism.
TAKE A MOMENT TO LET THIS SINK IN
Every one of these little things — or big things — is about Fear. How do I know they’re about Fear? Because those 18 things sure aren’t about love. And everything we do, everything we feel is either rooted in the emotional force of LOVE or FEAR.
FEAR STOPS US ON OUR PATH, PREVENTING US FROM HAVING WHAT WE WANT IN OUR LIVES
Fear stops growth. Fear prevents us from being an entrepreneur, having the job of our dreams, doing the work, taking that vacation of a lifetime, finding the ideal partner, living a life of abundance, moving to a new community or country, jumping out of bed in the morning because we’re excited to start a new day, finishing (or starting) our degree, making friends with people from different cultures, learning to play piano, writing our life’s stories… finding our purpose and living it. Fear keeps us trapped in our too-tight boxes.
HOW IS FEAR SHOWING UP IN YOUR LIFE?
Did you feel the same sickening feeling of realization as you read the way Fear takes over our life as I did? How many of these fears do you recognize in yourself?
We live in a society that has raised fear and anxiety to unbearable levels. Fear sells (even more than sex) and the media plays to our fears so we watch or read their news. We live in fear to be a victim of a crime, even though crime rates have gone down over the past 30 years or so. Millennials have grown up with the constant bombardment of news of mass shootings and terrorist attacks, so learned to fear them. Fear played a major role in determining the winner of the recent American presidential election. Fear is everywhere. It’s insidious.
I WANT TO STOP BEING AFRAID, DON’T YOU?
I was shocked by the number of those fears I've owned at various times in my life (and some every day). Doesn't it feel completely overwhelming and demoralizing to be faced with all the ways we’ve allowed fear to stop us from doing what our heart desires?
Fear is not ever going to leave us, so I’d like to suggest that we’d all be a lot less anxious if we get on speaking (or at the very least, debating) terms with her.
I’ve also learned that if Fear is to be our constant companion as we motor through life, we’d better learn how to get her to move to the back seat.
kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)