What creates fear? It could be anything from a raised voice, physical pain, emotional hurt, even a simple conversation can send someone into a tailspin of anxiety or panic. We strive to overcome our fears, to convince ourselves that the fear is no longer there – yet often we are unaware that we have a fear until a life event wakes the dormant issue.
Fears can turn inwards and manifest into guilt or shame, or project outwards onto others through anger and frustration. There is a flip side- fear is only there to help.
Our fears manifest in order to protect us. The evolutionary purpose of fear is self-preservation. Rather than negate or criticize our fears, we instead should give them the respect that they deserve. While our fears prevent us from living full lives, they unconsciously strive to ensure that we don’t repeat painful experiences from our past.
Our mind creates a memory of every experience we’ve had, and downloads it into our programming. When we find ourselves in a situation where our fears are being triggered, it’s an indication that a similar situation in our past has caused us pain or danger; therefore the mind/body will do whatever it can to ensure that a) we are safe and b) the experience doesn’t repeat itself.
In comes the worry, doubt, physical inertia – and in extreme cases panic and debilitation. When we forget or don’t address our fears, we carry them forward to be resolved at a later date. Unresolved fears create limiting beliefs, rigidity in the mind and inflexibility in the body. Practices of presence and mindfulness remind us of the many choices available to us. Choice allows us to integrate and live in the alignment of oneness and essential self. So how do we work with our fears rather than battle against them?
Our ability to recognize the signs when fear is triggered plays a pivotal role in our response to the situation. Where do we feel it physically; a knot in the stomach? Lightheadedness? Perhaps a certain situation, a place, a group of people or an individual triggers us. The recognition of our response affords us the choice in our actions in order to improve relationships with ourselves and others. This is how we become positive change-agents in the world.