Fear   Leave a comment

Fear is one small solitary yet VERY powerful word. Fear has no respect for power, wealth social affluence, race, religion, etc. It hinders the great and mighty just as easily as it does the lowly and weak.

It is so powerful that man has developed means to harness its influence and power so to manipulate and control the actions of others. It has been proven effective for centuries it is and has been used to control, individuals, families, groups, societies and even nations. Fear, more gently referred to as “deterrence” is the nature of controlling behavior in all types of settings. Deterrence is considered by many the basis of the Justice System and to an even higher degree of application, it is the core of our National Defense strategy.

 However, the fear that I am referring to is that force that is deep within that we allow to dictate our choices and behavior. There are any number of things which we may fear including:  flying, heights, clowns, intimacy, death, rejection, people, snakes, pain, failure, and even success. Take just amount and think to yourself. What is the one thing which you are the most afraid?  How does this fear affect you in your day to day life? Does it limit you from being all that you can possibly be?

 We all know the power of fear; we have all experienced it in on way or another. Many of you find yourself firmly within its very grasp even as you read these words. You read these words with hope that somehow, someway you will find a way to escape its paralyzing hold. I encourage you to keep reading. I promise no quick fixes, but I hope that in these words you find comfort and courage to fight the good fight and start the process of overcoming your fears.

 Despite this negative attack on fear to this point, we must also remember that fear is actually a very healthy and normal response emotion. Fear and the body’s physiological response to it has saved thousands of lives, some in simply miraculous ways. Fear is that emotion that sparks adrenaline resulting in the bodies “Fight or Flight” response, that sense of strength within at the moment to stand up and fight for your life or the wisdom to run like hell to live to fight another day.  Only you know in that situation know which is the best for you at that time.

 Fear is very similar to stress and anger. It is a natural response emotion and if it is dealt with in the moment it does not become a problem. However, fear becomes a problem when it is felt too often, to long and/or to intensely. 

 So what is the point? How does fear affect our recovery?

For some of us it is fear that is the root of our “issues”. This may included, but is not limited to the fear of: abandonment, rejection, intimacy and/or failure. Typically, this is based on childhood trauma or in the manner that we were reared. Our society has long had a problem with “Absent Fathers”. Now correspondingly, we are experiencing a similar epidemic of “Absent Mothers”. A Single mother supporting one or more typically three or four children, has two choices, “survive” by living on government assistance or “live”, by working one job and usually at least two, to provide for her children as best that she can.  We develop the fear of rejection and abandonment because we do not experience the love and nurture that we as human beings were designed to experience and share with one another.

Others of us were pushed as children to be the very best at EVERYTHING! There was no difference between second place and last place. Success was not an option, it was the rule. If for some reason you did to meet that expectation, it was because you had not worked hard enough and you were “lazy”. You grew to believe that if you did not succeed and meet the expectations of your parents and others, then you would not be loved. Here again instilling fear, fear of failure and rejection.

 So where do we start? How do we overcome these fears that have for so long not only controlled our decisions and choices they shaped our very character and perception of our own value? Just as our recovery is a process and journey, so it will be for overcoming our fears.

 The first of many difficult steps is self-examination. Honestly look at yourself both from the outside-in and inside-out.  

  • Do your behaviors and choices demonstrate that they may be influenced by some underlying fear? Are they logical and rational based on the given situation?
  • Do you find yourself more concerned about what others will think of you if you do or don’t do something, rather than considering if it is in the your best interest and for the benefit of your recovery?
  • When all else is calm, what are you thinking about? Are you “afraid” about what you might have done wrong?

 Secondly, you must surround yourself with positive, caring and supporting friends, and family. People whom you know are on your side and are most interested in your recovery and not worried about what they might get out of it. However, they are not just pushover teddy bears. They also have to be willing and able to stand up and lovingly yet sternly confront your negative fear inspired behaviors.

 Here is where the hard work of the journey starts. On a daily basis, you begin to let go of the pain and suffering of the past. This also means being willing to forgive others and yourself for the suffering that you have experienced as the result of their/your behavior in the past. As you do so, you also begin to carefully monitor your behavior, asking yourself is this an appropriate, logical and rational reaction and behavior based on the circumstances? In addition, be aware that it is likely that many of your reactions and behaviors may be based on irrational reactions due to incorrect perceptions due to your underlying fears.

 Participate in fulfilling and rewarding activities that reinforce and strengthen a positive self perception and improved self-esteem.

 Finally, I leave you with a challenge. Read the following EVERYDAY as you begin your day feeling inspired to be ALL that you can be!

Our Deepest Fear                    By Marianne Williamson  

 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

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