the f word

Fear.

Boy, it can stop us in our tracks...quite literally.

And if we're not careful, it can stop us from creating the life we want without even realizing it.

The other night I attended a talk with author Elizabeth Gilbert. She addressed this notion of fear saying that she has come to terms with it within her own life. She recognizes that it will always be present, but that it will no longer take the driver's seat. 

I have come to realize that fear has been both friend and foe to me.

It has

stopped me...

manipulated me...

and

controlled me.

But it has also...

protected me...

guided me...

and

saved me.

So, how in the world do we find space for fear without allowing it to direct our lives in a way that we do not want?

Perhaps we can consider that fear may be an invitation to save our lives both literally and figuratively.

Our fight or flight response is automatically triggered when we fear for our physical safety. 

This type of fear is clean and instinctual.

The response is triggered. 

We react. 

Case closed.

The more nuanced and interesting fear, however, is the one that triggers an emotional response.

This type of fear carries no real literal risk to ourlives but rather creates enough emotional turmoil to convince us otherwise. 

These fears are insidious, manipulative, controlling and...exhausting.

They tell you... 

who you should be...and not be.

how you should act...and not act.

what you should do...and not do.

AND...

above all...

they tell you... 

stay in your comfort zone -

stay with what you know -

stay with what is expected -

stay safe -

stay small -

stay quiet -

stay stay stay.

These fears pose as saviors to our emotional life - safeguarding us against rejection and humiliation and loss.

Taken at face value, we find relief.  

Dig a little deeper, however, and we find something else.

We find our belief system.

These are the beliefs we hold about ourselves, our world and life in general.

Uncovering these beliefs from our mask of fear, may be the keyto liberating, and thus saving our life, figuratively speaking.

By identifying the beliefs we hold in situations that trigger emotional fear, we are then able to challenge or address them, if we so choose.

The resulting work opens us up to a life that we truly desire.

Fear is always an indicator of something we need to pay attention to - whether it be a stranger in the dark or an action we are afraid to take.

Either way, it is always pointing to that which we hold of utmost importance: life

Both literally and figuratively.

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