Welcoming the gifts of fear!
Many of us have been taught to see fear as a problem, but it’s actually an intuitive emotion that helps you orient yourself, connect with your instincts, and act and respond skillfully.
Fear helps you orient you to change and novel situations, and it focuses on the present moment and your immediate surroundings.
But if you think of the ways we talk about fear, you’ll be hard-pressed to recall anything that suggests fear might be useful or necessary.
Though all emotions are valenced into the simplistic and unhelpful categories of positive and negative, fear gets valenced so strongly that it’s normal for people to speak of it as toxic and unwanted: “There’s no need to be afraid,” “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself,” “Don’t be a coward,” or this simple slogan that became a bumper sticker: “No fear!”
But fear is a crucial emotion. Without your fear, you’re not a superhero, no. No. Without your fear, you’re unaware, unintuitive, and disoriented.
So let’s clear away the backward training we get about fear, and let’s look at fear empathically and intelligently.
FEAR: Intuition & Action
GIFTS: Curiosity ~ Intuition ~ Instinct ~ Focus ~ Clarity ~ Attentiveness ~ Readiness ~ Vigor
WHAT YOUR FEAR DOES: Fear arises to help you focus on the present moment, access your instincts and intuition, and tune in to changes in your environment.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE: Focus your attention on your fear and orient yourself to your surroundings. Prepare yourself, act and move consciously, and revitalize yourself with the dynamic, intuitive focus fear brings to you.
THE INTERNAL QUESTIONS: What am I sensing? What action should be taken?
The message in fear (from The Language of Emotions)
Fear helps you focus yourself, identify where you are in relation to what you’re sensing, and bring all your faculties into the present moment. Fear comes forward to give you the energy and focus you need to orient to change or novel situations.
This often means that you have to stop what you’re doing, or at least slow down. Unfortunately, most of us fight anything that tries to halt our forward movement – which means that most of us fight our fear. This is a serious mistake with serious consequences.
Fear is not cowardice
Fear is the protective mechanism inside you that knows you’re not adequately prepared for whatever is coming next. Fear stops you – not to immobilize you, but to give you the time you need to gather yourself and your resources.
Fear steps forward when you require extra skills – or time to take a breather – so that you can make it through the next moment.
If you trust your fear and take time to focus yourself, it will give you those skills.
When you ask your fear the internal question “What am I sensing?” and “What action should be taken?” your fear will help you orient yourself to what’s going on around you and make the best decision, which is entirely unique to each situation.
When your instincts are informed by your fear, you’ll have hundreds of options – and if you let it, your fear will help you choose the right one each time.
Listen to your fear
If you listen to your fear, you’ll have access to more expert information, instincts, and resources than you could ever possibly need
But not listening to fear is almost a national pastime. Even when people learn something about the true nature of fear, they often continue to reject its wisdom.
Many people have learned to thank their fears for warning them while they proceed with their fear-inducing event anyway. My observation is that this is a way to rationalize the fear away, as opposed to channeling it properly. While it’s important not to let fear stop you completely (unless you’re about to wander off a cliff!), it’s even more important to find ways to work with, and not against, the instinctive brilliance your fear brings to you.
When you can channel your fear properly, it will contribute a sense of self-preservation while it pushes you to study, prepare, and renew your understanding of courage as the capacity to live life on your own terms, rather than throw yourself headlong into fearless or dare-devilish behaviors.
In truth, each of us (whether we’re dare-devils or not) has learned to impede, reject, and ignore our fear in any number of ways. This is nothing to be ashamed of – it’s how we were raised, trained, schooled, and controlled. It’s also how we train and control ourselves – but this bad training is not a life sentence.
Connect to your fear
If you can connect consciously to your fear, its fine-tuned awareness will help you revive your instincts and your resourcefulness. Your fear will also reconnect you to your innate intuitive abilities. Your fear can give you free information and advice on any topic, because it has its finger on the pulse of the true difficulties and obstacles you face.
Fear also has another important function; it helps you know when you’re encountering true change. When you’re about to take on a new job, a new love affair, or any new direction in your life, your fear may increase. If you don’t understand fear, you may stop yourself dead in your tracks – or throw yourself fearlessly at the new thing; however, neither extreme reaction is correct.
If you can welcome your fear as a certifier of the newness you’re facing, you can slow down, focus yourself, and rely on its instincts and intuition to help you pilot your way safely and confidently into your new adventure.
Thank you, fear!
Related post: A simple way to access your fear