Monday, December 15, 2008

Embracing Fear

By: Joseph Norman

Fear. It’s everywhere. We see it on the television when we come home from work. We hear it from media pundits in regards to our nation’s political and economic environment. For some, it leaves their guts in disarray when they contemplate how they are going to pay the bills this month. One way or another, fear pervades our lives. But, what I’m here to say today is that it doesn’t have to control you.

Fear, like the rest of your emotions, can be mastered. By that I do not mean avoided, simply harnessed for the good it has within it. You see all of the emotions we feel, good or bad, have an intention. It might be easy to assume that good feelings have positive intentions while bad feelings are meant to leave us distressed or discomforted. However, I would argue that all emotions ultimately have a positive intention.

You see, through our own fears we develop the will power to succeed. We get thrown against the wall and pressed harder and harder until we either break or start pushing back. A truth about the human spirit though, is that we never have to break. We can always, and I truly mean always, rise to the occasion.

So, I must ask, “What are you afraid of?” Write a list of five things that currently weigh on your mind and in your gut. I’m not talking about societal insecurities, but rather the highly personal fears that are ruling your daily activities. Mastering them will be a powerful stepping stone for you.

Now, how does one master their fears?

Acknowledge its presence. Often we deny the fear. The problem with denial is that it never leads to a solution. In fact, it only perpetuates the feeling in your life. As Carl Jung knowingly said, “What you resist persists.”

Embrace it. Breathe it deep into your body and really feel that it is there. Calmly, like a tranquil lake, become fully aware of the depth of the fear’s existence within you. The objective here is to clear the fog in your mind that envelopes the fear and causes your resistance.

Thank it for being there. As corny as this may sound, literally say, “Thank you,” to it. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way when it comes to understanding our own fears and insecurities.

Examine it. Ask it what its intention is for you. What does it want you to do? What is it stopping you from doing? Why might it be wrong? Why might it be right? Is why it might be right a reasonable answer or a complete farce?

Visualize beyond it. Imagine a day without that fear. If there were a miracle tonight while you sleep and dream, such that when you wake up in the morning everything about this part of your life is resolved, how would you feel? What would you see? Experience? How would you know that this miracle had taken place?

Brainstorm solutions. Now that you’ve seen, felt, and experienced a day beyond this particular fear, you have opened your mind to new possibilities. Explore them!

Rinse and repeat. Take the time to repeat this process until you feel complete control over the fear you worked on. Then, try it with the others.

Take control of your life. Become conscious of the emotions pervading your mind and body. Accept them and heed their advice!