Fear, what is it good for? Absolutely Nothing, say it again yall!
I had the most amazing conversation with one of my peers this weekend about fear. As we strolled through downtown Phoenix, we explored the definition of fear, the cause, the result, the positives, the negatives, and how to handle fear when it shows up in our life.
Is fear real or is it just an illusion in our mind ?
Is fear always a negative or are there some positives to fearful thinking?
Heck, what is fear?
Before we jump in to my idea of fear and why it is potentially blocking you from a life full of love, I want to point out that I do believe that there is a basic instinct of fear that can serve us as humans as we proceed along our journey. This is the gut feeling that overcomes us in the face of danger, not the gut feeling we get after eating too many late night Taco Bell Doritos tacos, although that can be a scary feeling. The feeling of fear/danger that we might get as we step too close to an edge, the instinct fear that causes us to embrace during an accident, the fear that overcomes us as a wandering hungry bear approaches us (yeah, that fear would be definitely be real…unless he is looking for a pic-a-nic basket, In that case, don’t be alarmed).
While I do believe that the basic instinct fear can be a valuable emotional tool that can allow us to escape natural selection, my definition of fear for this blog post is the concern that we have about what may happen in our life causing emotions and actions that hold us back from living our full potential.
For so much of my life I lived with this constant fear of failure. I was terrified of failing as an athlete, letting people down, and not living up to my true potential. This fear occupied my mind 24/7, so much so that my thoughts created a nightmare-esque reality. What I had realized was that it was my own fearful thoughts that energetically manifested my short-comings and pain I was experiencing. I was no longer viewing myself as the victim in my life, but instead identifying myself as the culprit responsible. I was the one that created my failures, focused on those failures, and in return caused more. This viscous cycle consumed me for almost 15 years until I miraculously shifted my thinking and ultimately my energy. Through prayer, meditation, and self discovery; I formed an awareness about who I was and who I wanted to be. I no longer wanted fear to control my life, but instead I wanted to focus on love, hope, and positive energy. This self awareness ultimately pushed me to make the decision that the fear did not control me, the fear was not real, and I had the choice to live in fear or live in love. I realized that I could not only live in peace, but that I deserved to live in peace. I realized that without fear, my thoughts had more power to impact my life and the lives of everyone I encountered.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
One of the basic principles that changed my life, was this idea that fear is not real:
We often have fearful thoughts about “what if this happens, what if this person does this, what if I try this and I don’t succeed.” All of these “What If” scenarios are just assumptions about what might happen. As my mom would always say, “don’t make assumptions, because you will make an ass out of you and me.” What I have found is that a majority of time the “What If’s,” never come to fruition and I spent countless hours and tireless energy focusing on something that never will happen. I was allowing something unreal to control my life, my emotions, and my actions.
While listening to Marianne Williamson, I found this concept of asking myself a question to spark a new idea or shift my thinking in a way that would better serve my self interest. As I was combating the 5 billion fearful thoughts that were consuming my every second, I started to ask myself two simple questions.
“Can you see peace instead of this?”
“Can you see things differently?”
This difficult, yet always simple, concept completely changed my mindset. I am constantly fighting these fearful thoughts, but as soon as I gain some self awareness around the situation, realized that the fearful thoughts are not real, and ask myself the two questions above, I am able to mentally shift my mind and continue my journey as the universe has intended.
So as you explore your own life, your own thoughts, and your own fears;
- What questions can you ask yourself to shift your thinking?
- What will help you realize that those fearful thoughts are not real?
- What will drive you to create awareness that these thoughts are not serving your best interest?
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity.” – Will Smith