Fear Less, Live More!
Gail Oliver Cambridge | January 2024
Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It protects us when we sense danger, be it physically or emotionally. It’s our innate reaction that can arise from any number of factors, such as heights, public speaking, unemployment, grave illness, dark spaces, things that go bump in the night, and so forth. We can experience a fleeting sense of fear after danger is averted, a fear that sits awhile as we develop tools to combat it, or one that turns into a paralyzing phobia.
Author Brendon Burchard said, “Fear is mostly poor management of your mind, and you must stop having fear as a frame. When you anticipate things are going to cause fear, you will not approach it and you will avoid it from now on.”
Another author, Mel Robbins, said, “Fear and excitement are the exact same physical state in your body. The only difference is how your brain reacts to it.”
I’m not an expert on this subject but wanted to explore it as we enter a new year. Although we may feel a bit protected in our homes, so many crises around the world and inequities in our cities have some of us alarmed. We may also be confronted with changes that we have no control over. How do we cope, especially when some matters are out of our hands?
What about the fear that’s a part of our daily lives? Have we allowed it to take root and hold us back? I believe we sabotage ourselves when we’re anxious and too focused on the fear of failure and/or of the unknown. We may have a great idea at work but are afraid to mention it because it might threaten the status quo. In our community, we have a chance to influence positive change but are afraid of some people’s reaction. At home, we hesitate to have the talk. Things don’t change—they might not worsen, but they don’t improve either, and the fear remains.
The authors above share many techniques to conquer fear, among them being that we need to pause and really examine exactly what we’re afraid of and why it has a hold on us. Additionally, we need to answer the question, what can we do right here, right now? The more we understand what’s blocking us, the better we can prepare to confront and deal with it. We can dip our big toes or do a body plunge; we simply need to make a move that will have us living more and fearing less. Most often, action diminishes fear.
We don’t all have the same fears, and one person’s seemingly crippling fear might be seen as easily dispelled by another and vice versa, so let’s not judge but rather be sympathetic and kind. Think about it—hasn’t there been a time in your life when you were scared to do something but pushed past the fear and did it anyway and realized afterward that it wasn’t so bad, so scary after all? And was that fear then replaced by something more positive?
So, whether we reframe our minds to not anticipate the fear or retrain our brains to believe we’re excited instead of fearful, I pray that this year we will have the courage to overcome whatever is keeping us stuck from moving forward and take the step to break free of fear.
Here are some acronyms for Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real, Face Every Alarm Reasonably, Forget Everything and Run, Face Everything and Rise. Which one will we allow to guide us? Take heart with Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.