Fear. What is fear? We let fear paralyse us and make us feel powerless. First you must acknowledge that you are not powerless, and it is time to take your power back.
First of all, let me point out that fear can be a useful emotion. It lets us know when something is dangerous, its innate, its our survival instinct. But what if I told you that 99% of your fears never actually happen. Meaning only 1% of the fears you have, actually manifest themselves in our physical reality. Why is this? Because we let our monkey mind run our lives.
Something you must accept is that fear is part of the human experience. We ALL feel fear. The best athletes in the world feel fear. Tiger Woods once said the day he stops feeling fear on the first tee is the day he quits. Fear helps us to grow. Think of it as the universe helping you evolve. When we feel fear we must be courageous and do it anyway. This is how we grow. This is how we develop as a human being. Fear is an energy, and it is what we do with that energy that matters. We can either let it consume us and hold us back from our true potential, or we can stare it in the face, develop the courage that we ALL have within us, and liberate ourselves.
Let me ask you a question. How many times have you feared something, gone through with it then said something along the lines of: “Wait, that wasn’t that bad, what was I worrying for?”. Keep this in mind when you are feeling fearful. It will be a useful tool and will help you snap out of whatever fear based reverie you find yourself in.
The Monkey Mind
The mind is a pest. Yes, it is useful for solving maths equations, for remembering phone numbers but for the most part, it gets in our way and stops us from being present in the moment, which is all we truly have. So how do you control this monkey mind you ask? Well I am going to give you a few practical techniques to tame that cheeky monkey.
Breath & Meditate – Fritz Peris once said “Fear is excitement without the breath”. Yes I know, I hear you…”the answer to every question can’t be meditation”. The reason meditation is so important is because it teaches us to be present in the moment and this is where we should live our lives. Most of the time when we are feeling fear it is because we are worrying about the future, not what is happening to us at that very moment in time. ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of my favourite books and one of the agreements fits perfectly here- ‘Don’t make assumptions’ – stop assuming you know what is going to happen in the future, you don’t know, you may feel like you do but you don’t. Who knows what could happen. Your fears could come true but the polar opposite could happen and the moment you keep dreading in your mind could turn out to be the most beautiful moment in your life.
So back to the point. Meditate. Learn to breath deeply and focus on your breath. Learn to be in the present moment, focusing on what is going on RIGHT NOW. There are tonnes of guided meditations on Youtube which are super useful for getting started.
Think back to a time when you were fully immersed in what you were doing. Did you feel fear? Were you worrying or were you fully engaged in the present moment? I think we both know the answer to that one… Learn to observe your thoughts and not interact with them. Understand you are NOT your mind and you are NOT your thoughts. Your ego may be telling you to listen but don’t be fooled…deep down, in your gut, you know what’s right. Listen to your intuition. Your higher self is communicating with you. Have faith in yourself.
Have a conversation with yourself – I recently drank Ayahuasca and San Pedro (plant medicines) and something I learned from my experience was a little technique that I have started employing since I got back home. When I feel an emotion I don’t like – fear, for example – I ask myself a few things. I ask myself where the fear is coming from; I am simply making an assumption about a situation and choosing to see the more negative side? Deep down you will know how real your fear is and if it is just a product of the mind. Take a step back and breath, then ask yourself these questions.
The feelings you have demand to be felt. It can be incredibly overwhelming. So ask yourself WHERE are these feelings coming from? Be honest with yourself; EXPLORE these feelings and breathe in to them and you will most likely see they are irrational.
I ask if the emotion is serving me; if the emotion will make me feel better or somehow change the situation. If the answer to both those questions are no, I simply release it as it has no value to me. I focus on the present moment, the NOW and the fear dissipates. This may sound simple but it has really helped me. Let me give you a practical example; I recently went to get my first tattoo. The first thought that came to mind was “Oh no, this is gonna’ hurt like a bitch” and I started to think about the pain and I started to worry. But then something wonderful happened. I said to myself: “I am getting this tattoo whether it hurts or not, so why I am worried about the pain…Is this fear going to help me in any way whatsoever?” The simple answer was no. So I decided to let it go. I thought “I will deal with it on the day”. On the day I felt fear again but I had saved myself days of needless worrying and the fear wasn’t even close to what it would have been a few months back. There was excitement there. I realised this was a chance for me to feel something I had never experienced. A chance to stare fear in the face and to grow. And no, I am not a masochist. Understand fear holds you back and on the other side of fear is infinite possibility.
This next tip is very similar to the above. On the other side of fear is infinite possibility. Tell yourself this. Feel it deep down. Say “this is a wonderful opportunity for growth”. Experience everything you can. Fear & pain will set you free. Your freedom exists on the other side of that wall which you call fear. Think about times in your life where you have faced fear. What came out of it? I know that the best things in my life came because I went out of my comfort zone and went through the ‘fear’. Believe in yourself and know that all will be okay. It will be better than okay. You will feel liberated and have a drive to keep growing and to punch your fears in the face.
Changing Perspective – Understand that everything will teach you something. You may not see it at the time but you will see it eventually. It may take you a lifetime to understand but everything happens for a reason. Take comfort in the fact that every experience you have is helping you grow as a human being. As one of my wise friends told me; “There are no bad experiences, only experiences”. Whether we deem something to be good, or bad, is only a perspective, all things are subjective. Through years of conditioning we have established pre-conditioned responses to situations in our lives but why not try to look at things from a different perspective…a more positive perspective, understanding that every single experience you have is unique. No two experiences are the same. So be present and be grateful for every experience you have while on this wonderful planet. You came in to this body to experience being human, so open yourself up and experience all there is! You don’t want to be on your deathbed and regret not experiencing something because you were paralysed by fear! I highly doubt you are going to regret the things you DID do. Live and have faith that it will all be okay. It will be better than okay. And in times of struggle never forget the beautiful words: “This too shall pass”
Enhance your expectations – Turn your negatives in to a positive. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, think about what could go right and what you will get out of the experience. Don’t underestimate the power of the mind. You have control over what thoughts you focus on. Don’t let the monkey mind control you. The mind is NOT you. Develop the courage to face your fear. Use fear as a tool to set you free and help you to become the best version of yourself.
Some of what I have written may have resonated with you and I understand some of it may be repetitive, but that is because life is a lot simpler than we make it. Deep down you know this stuff. It’s just about rediscovering who you are and what you already know.
PS: The aim of this blog is to share what I am learning, to share insights in the hope it may prove useful to someone else. Know that I am on my journey just like you, and I want to share whatever I can in the hope it may prove useful to someone else. Even if this post only helps one person, I am grateful I can make a difference.
Never underestimate the power of one kind gesture. A gesture as simple as telling the checkout girl to have a wonderful day could really make a huge difference. They could then do the same for someone else and that my friends, is the butterfly effect.
Be kind, stay healthy and have a wonderful day.
Remember, you have the power.