Fear, in the absence of an eminent threat, is a misdirected survival instinct. Its only intended purpose is to help save our life in the face of real danger. Anxiety is the sensation of fear in the absence of a real hazard. This means that whenever we feel fear when we are not in peril, it is actually anxiety. Anxiety serves no purpose. It traps us in a stress response limits our thoughts and perceived possibilities, impairs our judgement and decision making abilities, and makes us want to fight against or run away from a threat that does not exist. This can result in anger, aggression, accusing, attacking, or blaming (fight response); or withdrawal, avoidance, distancing, backing off, or even the ending of a relationship (flight response); for absolutely no reason. Hypertension, caused by irrational fear, is the culprit here.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway
Until we can release it, when we feel it, we need to just go ahead and do whatever it is that we are afraid of doing. The fear is irrational, based on illusion, and will go away. Depending upon the importance and level of conditioning of whatever it is we are afraid of, it might go away immediately, or it might take a while; but it will go away. So feel the fear and do it anyway! “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fear and Relationships
Fear can play a huge role in relationships. It can even prevent them from occurring. Fears of rejection, abandonment, losing control, or losing our independence can cause us to withdraw from or sabotage what could have been the best thing that ever happened to us. Fears related to trust, unfairness, inadequacy, being controlled, or feelings of unworthiness can keep us from taking the needed steps to build a relationship, or destroy it once we are in it. Such fears can also determine the types of relationships we allow ourselves to consider. Unhealthy dead-end relationships, or those with someone we feel superior to or can control, are often the easiest ones to get into, because we are not afraid of losing them, and don’t really care that much about what the other person thinks of us. Healthy, positive relationships, with an equal or above; those with the real potential; usually generate the greatest fear, because we really care about them, try to make ourselves vulnerable to receive them and their love, and then are faced with all of our lingering fears. These fears are all unfounded. Such relationships not only have the potential to bring our dreams to life, but they can also encourage our growth and development in ways that nothing else can. Don’t let your fears keep you from sharing a life of heart-centered love! Remember, anxiety is hypertension created from irrational fear. Love is the answer, not the danger.
After ruling out the presence of eminent danger, the first step in releasing fear is the conscious acknowledgement that there is nothing occurring in our life to be afraid of. The things that may be generating fear; like talking with our budding relationship partner about things that could rock the boat, discussing sensitive issues with our spouse, asking our boss for a raise, taking a final exam, giving a speech, asking her out for the first time, climbing back in the driver’s seat after a bad accident, or even venturing out of our home into the broader world; are all normal, safe, and a natural part of living life. They may not be comfortable, but they are not dangerous. So take a moment and establish this truth in your conscious mind. Focus on it, and repeat it over and over (either silently or aloud). You could say something simple like “I am safe right now.” Or something like “There is nothing happening in my life right now for me to be afraid of.” Pull this truth out and make it conscious.
Next, begin breathing deeply. Whether you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, or in and out through your nose; focus on your breath as it is coming in and going out. You might also try alternate nostril breathing, where you breathe in through one nostril, and then out through the other one; by holding your thumb and forefinger on both sides of your nose (the thumb on one side, and the forefinger on the other). Do this breathing for at least 5-10 minutes. If your attention wanders, just bring it back to your breathing as soon as you notice.
Then choose one or more of the 25 things listed in Anxiety and the Brain, 25 Cures to Consider. Experiment until you find the ones that work for you. You could do the same thing with the article Stress No More: Natural Ways To Shrink Hypertension.
You could also focus on Survival Red, Emotional Orange, and Confident Yellow prescriptions in Seven Colors Of Happiness, or the First, Second, and Third Chakras within the Chakratic Hierarchy Of Needs.
Breathing meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise, hobbies, and creative expression seem to do the trick for many. Also, make sure your nutrition, sleep, and other stress levels are healthy and balanced. Having a growth coach, spiritual teacher, or alternative healer may also come in handy.
For some, strategic distractions help redirect the focus until they are able to overcome their fears. For instance, if you are super-enthusiastic or passionate, and in a new relationship; and if you are afraid your intensity could push them away; pour some of your passion into writing poetry or music, working out extra hard, spending more time with friends for a while, etc. Don’t let the beauty and aliveness of your joyful spirit overwhelm him or her! Find another positive way to direct it until they get to know you better. You also don’t want to stop being yourself!
Whatever the context, when we release our fears, our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health will improve; we will grow and develop more effortlessly; and it will be easier to live within the joy, peacefulness, and natural love of spirit! So feel the fear and do it anyway, until you feel no fear at all!
Photo credit: Nicole Hanusek