We all know it. The tightness in the chest. The block in the belly. Sweaty palms. Heart racing. That signal that something isn’t right. All we want to do is run away. Hide. Get away from it.
Fear is probably one of the most uncomfortable human emotions we experience. It’s uncomfortable by design, because by design, it’s there to help us move away from anything which our body deems to be a threat to our survival. If it wasn’t uncomfortable, we wouldn’t move, or freeze (until the threat has gone, think lion and impala situation).
It’s a clever mechanism really.
The thing is though, for a lot of us, our fear mechanisms are all out of whack, so we feel fear at things which aren’t actually inherently unsafe or a threat to our lives. Fear can be stimulated by the smallest of things and can completely cripple us from doing anything.
Layered on top of this, is the fact that we all hold one hell of a lot of collective fear too. Like a LOT. I did this really interesting exercise for my breathwork training a few years ago where we were asked to watch the news completely consciously (no distractions and deep body awareness) and to really become aware of the emotions that came up whilst watching the news and voice them outloud. I only managed 7 minutes before it became so intensely uncomfortable that I had to turn it off. ‘Fear’ ‘Anger’ ‘Fear’ ‘Grief’ ‘Fear’ Fear’
A lot of our media is fear inducing. Look at any of the headlines today and you’ll see that a lot of them are driving and injecting fear into our psyches. What this means is that we all have one hell of a lot of fear in us that we might be completely unaware of just by nature of living in a society which works by selling fear. (Fear inducing article titles get more clicks.. bleurgh)
The result of all of this is that we can sometimes hold disproportionate amounts of fear vs. what we are actually facing. All of this collective fear and other fear narratives we’ve absorbed can pop up every time we are looking to make a decision which perhaps a little bit off the well trodden path.
If you really allow yourself to sit with your fear, you might find that the narratives that come up for you prove this.
I remember sitting with my fear of leaving banking and my mind said ‘Lucy you’ll end up living under a bridge and you’ll die’. Hmmm…right.
I mean, it’s a possibility, but there are a lot of steps before we get to that point and I’d hope I would recognise things were going south before I ended up on the streets.
What I’m trying to show here is that a lot of us will have fear narratives about the things we want to do with our lives which aren’t necessarily accurate representations of the risks involved.
This is why it’s SO important for us to learn to work with fear if we are looking to grow. To learn to sit with it, understand it, understand where it comes from in us and allow it to be there, all whilst consciously deciding to take incremental steps forward.
I’m not saying we just dive head first into our decision and ignore the fear – that’s not a good plan as it can zoom us way out of comfort zone, through growth zone and into panic zone too fast.
What I am saying is that having fear doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something.
Maybe it’s an invitation to sit with the fear and just take a couple of steps anyway.
And if all else false, fear and excitement are basically the same physiological response… fear is just contained, whereas excitement is allowed to expand.
This is it. This is the work. Understanding ourselves so deeply that we can work with our emotions rather than allowing them to unconsciously dictate everything we do. If you’d like to chat (it’s free), you can book in here or you can subscribe to my mailing list here.