We all deal with fear. It is a natural part of life, and in some cases, it is what galvanizes us to action. Starting a new project, a new venture, a new relationship, or even learning a new skill all come with some form of fear built in. The trick of course is taking the fear and using it to move forward rather than letting it paralyze us. Fear is something to be acknowledged and experienced, and it will always be there, no matter how good we get at something. Sometimes the fear we feel is not what we think it is, and it is masking something positive. A client once shared a recurring dream she had of a mysterious warrior appearing in her doorway, an image that brought up feelings of fear for her. When we explored this image it became clear that it was not something to be feared, but was instead an image of her own internal warrior, one that came to her when she needed to find her courage or strength to deal with a situation in her life. Once she saw the warrior as her ally instead of a threat, she was able to use this image to help shore up her resources and move forward.
You have to be willing to feel the fear and do it anyway. None of us are comfortable with the feeling, and it takes a lot of effort to embrace the discomfort of the fear and stay the course. I am realizing that the gut-wrench of fear is a natural part of the process I have to go through in order to come out of the other side both wiser and braver. And I am working on letting go of the need to be right. Jack Cranfield wrote that if you want to remain calm and peaceful as you go through life you have to have high intention and low attachment. Not always getting what we want or having things go our way is just a part of life. Let it go. The secret is to keep moving forward in the direction of your goal until you get there, and not to give up because it didn’t work the first time, or you didn’t get the result you wanted in the time you expected. Making a mistake is human, forgiving yourself that mistake is what takes us one step closer to the divine. Detaching from an outcome and also opens us up to experiences and opportunities that we otherwise may not have seen. If something goes wrong, how many of us are able to look at setbacks as a potential opportunity for something even better? What a gift we give ourselves if we can see the world of possibility that exists in every interaction, every relationship, and every moment of our lives.
A man dreamed every night that he was being chased by an enormous lion. Every night this man tossed and turned and woke up in a terrified state. Eventually, one night the man stopped running, and turned and confronted the lion saying: “Who are you and why are you chasing me?”. The lion stopped in front of the man and replied: “I am your courage. Why are you running from me?”
Facing fear takes courage, and courage takes vulnerability. Some days will be more difficult than others. But always remember, that it is in the persevering that we grow. If we have the courage to show up when we can’t control or predict the outcome, we can face our fear and overcome it.