Fear as a FriendDec 29, 2022
“There is nothing to fear unless and until you feel fear. Worry, warriness, anxiety and concern all have a purpose, but they are not fear” - Gavin de Becker
We have somehow become convinced that we should aspire to be fearless beings. Rubbish. Fear is a survival response that is involuntary and designed to present in the body in the presence of immediate danger, or the possibility and threat of pain or death.
Fear usually appears to us, through us, unconsciously and for temporary periods of time and is energising rather than deflating. It moves us to take action to save ourselves.
Why would we actively try to become fearless? Its likely you realise that you dont really mean that in a literal sense when you say it - so why say it?
Our words matter. Our languaging matters. Our declared intentions matter.
Most of what we usually assume is fear within our body is more likely to be worry or anxiety or some other emotional state. To some degree, we have some control over these states and for the the most part, they are voluntary. We activate them ourselves. They can persist over time and become chronic - but they do not usually signal immediate threat to life or safety (although it can genuinely feel like that)
Worry, concern, anxiety etc has its place and fulfils functions within our lives - but they are not life saving. Fear can truly be a super power and be life saving, but we must train our experience of fear to be accurate and appropriate.
Learning how to turn down the noise of the constant chatter of unnecessary worries supports us in being able to clearly tune in to true fear when it arises.
1. List 3 things you are currently worried or anxious about.
For each one ask yourself - does this present immediate danger to me right now in this moment? Does this indicate immediate pain, death or serious injury?
This prompt supports us in noticing what is a genuine fear and what is worry.
2. Describe your worries clearly. “Im feel anxious about…”
Write them down, speak them to yourself, a coach or a trusted friend.
3. Ask yourself to reflect on the worry by considering “how does this worry serve me?”
Often our worry is supporting us to feel like we are doing something about a situation that very well might need our attention - but our worry isnt actually doing anything.
4. Create an action plan to act on worries that do need your attention.
5. See if you can let go of the worries that cannot be supported by your effort, energy or attention in this moment.
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