Friday, 15 January 2010


I have written about fear several times since I started blogging. This four letter word that we often give so much power to is one of the most debilitating emotions one can experience.

Maybe we could look at FEAR from a different perspective.

The myth of fear is that we're supposed to overcome it or conquer it.

The truth about fear is that if we learn to talk to it and treat it with respect, it will teach us how not to be afraid.

Yes, it can be horrible and crippling and awful.

Trust me on this one. I know fear pretty well. I know the kind that causes full-body trembling and awful heart palpitations. And the kind that makes you think demons are flying at you through the windows. And the kind that has you sobbing and writhing on the floor.

Fear can be debilitating. So I don’t mean to be going off on some annoying spiritual kick about how it’s good for you or something. It’s just that you don’t want to battle it.

And not just because battling it makes the fear stronger (it does), but because — when you talk to it — your fear is the best teacher you will ever have.

Instead of kicking fear, you can dissolve it. It can kick back, but it can’t dissolve *you*. The only way to get the fear to dissolve is to interact with it. Just like you, it wants to be noticed and cared for.
Your fear needs to know that you are taking steps to keep yourself safe. So give it some reassurance.

Think of it this way. Your fear is like a knight. It has a mission or a quest or whatever to keep you safe from failure and humiliation and things going horribly, horribly wrong.

So it keeps you from working on the thing you want to do. It shows up again and again, with worry and doubt and what-iffery.

A misguided strategy, yes. But well-intended. Annoyingly well-intended.
If you want your fear to stop scaring you silly, you’re going to need to reassure it that its mission has not been in vain.

In fact, you can tell your fear that you’re going to release it from its quest and take over the mission of looking out for your own well-being.

Talking to your fear is a great way to achieve distance from it. When you’re talking to your fear, it isn’t you anymore. It’s just a temporary part of you. You contain it, but you contain a lot of things.

This distance, paradoxically, allows you to befriend it.

Befriending it, paradoxically, allows it to become something else.

I know. Argh, stupid paradox. Is it scary to talk to your fear? To even acknowledge its shadowy presence in the room? Absolutely. I’m sorry.

So — that’s the sum of my wisdom today.

Your fear is normal. Your fear is legitimate. Your fear is talking to you. Find out what you need to know.

Much love to you as you take this journey.

"Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here."

I have used this photo before but I feel it represents what I am trying to convey in this post.


Frequent Traveler said...

Very wise, Peggy. And accurate. Fear is here to teach us something, and using it to work for you -- instead of making it bigger than it is/simultaneously avoiding & emphasizing it -- is when the fear gradually dissolves.
Life's lessons become easier when we know that and approach it with that understanding.

HappyOrganist said...

Where do you get these quotes Peggy?

And tell me what my fear regarding NAET treatments (and that they won't be as efficient as I want them to be) is supposed to help me learn (besides the obvious. patience). But that's so painfully obvious - there must be a different reason for it.

Zz... said...

:) I think you were born to write self help books!!! or at least you're really good at this stuff, lol.

Mike Smith said...

You'll Never Walk Alone - still sends a shiver down my spine...

Laura said...

This is so spot on. It is something I have learned through experience in living with chronic illness/pain and am teaching to my daughters as they face their own fear demons. No wonder you liked my where the wild thoughts are post! I'm so glad you stopped by and now I have a new blogger friend to learn from!

gentle steps,
I'll add a link to your blog on mine...I can tell already you are a wonderful wise resource!

Renee said...

Excellent post Peggy. Fear...

I once read in the Dune books that fear is the mind killer and I believe it because it freezes people and paralyzes them.


Patricia Singleton said...

Peggy, I love this post. I says my thoughts about fear. I haven't heard anyone express those thoughts so well, including me. I am going to print this out and share it with my family and friends. Fantastic!!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. We all know about fear and it has its good points as you say. If we didn't have fear perhaps we would be doing stupid things like walking off cliffs and putting our hands in the fire.

'There is nothing to fear but fear itself' and 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' are useful, but as you say, fear is with us for a reason. And we do need to listen because if it is what you might call 'irrational' (ie you are not in a burning building) there is normally a very rational explanation. But you might have to dig for it - and be very honest with yourself. By uncovering what lies under the fear, what is feeding it, we can begin to change. You are right - fear is indeed a teacher. It brings a message from the subconscious.

Here is another thought - is it the ego that feels fear or the soul?

A.Marie said...

Oh wow...I love reading what you seriously should write a book! :)

Marja said...

Very timely great post. I am fighting with fear as I am about to start a new job, next to my other one. I am offered a day of teaching (or actually facilitating learning as they call it) I always wanted to be a teacher but because of I think my learning disabilities I never got there. Now it is coming to me.
Fear makes me work very hard at the moment but at moments it is crippling Thanks for this post

Nina said...

Fear can stop you dead in your tracks, make you hold your breath, as you've said, it can be devastating. I like your approach here. Listen to fear, "make friends" with it, acknowledge it, learn from it.... I will try that. It is something I really hadn't thought of it in this way. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

Lilly said...

I often felt that I did not respect my fear enough. Rather than treating it as legitimate I always tended to push it away or to back off. We live and learn.

Unknown said...

my fear is logical. It tells me it is unwise to get into a metal tube full of jet fuel and soar 30,000 feet above the ground. Even though everyone tells me it's safe, my fear tells me it is insane.
I still do it, and the fear comes along for the ride. So I havent conquered my fear, it is a constant companion who wont go away