Rising Above Fear

"[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

All of us have experienced fear during our lifetime. While fear is a common human emotion, we do not all react / interact with fear in the same way. Below are some points to help you rise above fear.

1. Understand what fear is and what it is notFear is your personal reaction to a situation, as others may react to that situation differently. For example, some may be fearful of a barking dog while others may feel comfort as they are reminded of fond memories of their own pet; a “barking dog” in and of itself does not necessarily evoke fear in everyone.

What your fear does do is provide insight into what is going on within you, signaling to you things within yourself (including your perception of the situation). We tend to focus singularly on whatever we are reacting to rather than taking time to self-reflect.

Fear, along with other emotions, however, provides us the opportunity to explore our underlying assumptions, beliefs, and experiences – of which we may not have been fully aware, to understand better what is going on within us.

2. How to interact with fearA common reaction to fear is to allow it to overcome and subsume us. We often feel powerless in face of a fearful situation, and therefore, believe that our only choice in the matter is to be paralyzed with fear and/or to disengage. We withdraw rather than connect to our fear, as if sweeping the fear under the rug will have it go away or that the fear we feel is something outside of ourselves, to which we can then turn a blind-eye.

But we must remember that – as stated above, fear has a purpose. It is a signal for you to explore what you may need to resolve within yourself and/or if you should take action. When you understand the purpose of fear in your life, you will feel freer first to (1) acknowledge your fear, (2) explore why you are feeling the fear – including if you are called to take action, and (3) then letting go of the fear after it has served its purpose.

Note, we often cannot control our thoughts and feelings but what we can do is allow them to flow through us. Recognize that our thoughts and feelings, including fear, are not a part of us and we do not need to grasp onto them as truth or permanent; this grasping causes a blockage within our system and results in us feeling more stuck as more similar thoughts and feelings get clogged within us.

3. Take care of yourself - Practice grounding and meditating to release your fears, in conjunction with exploring what the fear signals about yourself (including if you should take action). Rather than focusing on the negative, I encourage you to focus on what action steps you may wish to take stemming from self-reflection and also focus on the positive outcomes for which you wish rather than on those which you fear.

As with everything in life, focus on what you want and not on what you do not want, as you are most powerful when you are devoting your energy towards your aims / goals. Moreover, engage in self-care; be patient and understanding with yourself, especially when you feel overwhelmed with emotions, including fear.