We all have fear. It’s innate within us. It’s controlling, uncomfortable, difficult, overwhelming, and powerful so we tend to avoid it at all costs. It often prevents us from pursuing our dreams or breaking out of society’s norms.
Fear is our body’s own built-in security system that alerts us of potential dangers and threats to our safety. Because of fear, you don’t touch the hot stove or jump off a 5-stories-tall building. Your body sends you signals that there is potential danger ahead: your heartrate increases, your palms become sweaty, you have difficulty breathing, and you being trembling. But did you experience these symptoms of fear before you learned these things were dangerous?
Fear is subjective, and fear is learned.
Before a child touches a hot stove, he does not experience fear because he has not learned the danger involved. Before a teenager experiences heartbreak, she does not fear being abandoned because she has not experienced and learned the pain and loneliness associated with it. Before a child experiences feeling not good enough, he does not fear showing his parents his test grades because he has not experienced their disappointment.
A person afraid is a person learned.
Fears are often reflective of where we’re holding back in our lives and the underlying beliefs that are keeping us stuck there. They are often the roadblocks to experiencing empowerment, courage, confidence, and the voice inside that says, “Heck yeah, I just did that!”. Fears are our own treasure maps to discovering what’s truly important to us. Let them guide you!
It may sound counterintuitive, but we must lean into our fears.
There is tremendous power in acknowledging and claiming our fears. My greatest fear is being abandoned. When I acknowledge how much that impacts my behaviors in relationships, I am giving myself the ability to choose how I act. I can tell myself, “I am terrified of being left alone, but I will choose to communicate that with my partner and not let myself become clingy or overreactive.” My fear of being abandoned will likely last my entire life, but I am choosing not to let it control me or get in the way of my relationships.
You may have fears that you conquer, and you may have fears that are never ending, but that’s perfectly okay. Just give yourself the ability to readjust how much power your fear has over you.