Redefining Fear


When your brain says you “can’t do” something, take it as a sign that you need to dive right in!


There are two types of fear. There’s the kind of primal, raw fear that takes over your entire body before you jump out of a plane to skydive. Then there’s the sometimes- debilitating type of fear that lives upstairs in your brain. This gremlin is always on standby, ready to tell you what you can and can’t do and it can be just as intense as your instinctual, your-life’s-at-risk type of fear.

One of the dictionary definitions of fear is: “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” I’m most interested in the latter part of this definition, the “whether the threat is real or imagined” part.  Somewhere along the way, we, as human beings, decided to award our imagined fears a great deal of power over our lives.

We are built to physiologically respond to real threats and fears when our lives are truly in danger. Some of us start to shake, sweat, get nauseous and experience heart palpitations when we come face to face with a life-threatening situation, like running into a hungry bear, for example. There’s not much we can do to control this type of response, which is truly meant to protect us, other than breathe deeply. However, we have tons of tools we can use when it comes to controlling our mental fears! Good news, eh?

Kick fear to the curb by reminding yourself of the popular acronym- F.E.A.R. or False Evidence Appearing Real. Ask yourself if your fears are based on facts and real information or if you’ve created them in your mind. You can redefine fear in this way then, by simply examining the source and legitimacy of it. All of a sudden fear can be defined as something like, “a natural part of human existence that is overcome by courage.” If you’re in club number two, take a deep breath, forgive yourself for putting your mind and soul in a limiting place, and then take a step forward. The platitude ‘face your fears’ seems overused, but it has merit. Use your human superpowers of breath and courage to expose yourself to that which haunts you.

A small scale example of me facing my fears looks like me picking up a household spider and taking it outside to be free, rather than screaming at the top of my lungs, running out the door and squealing for someone, ANYONE to ‘get it out!’ A more life-altering example of me facing my fears looks like me quitting my job, changing careers and moving to another city to follow my dreams. I did that already and hey, it was scary, but so worth it! Freedom is underneath fear. Find it.

What do you want to do, but won’t because fear is standing in your way? What do you want to say, but won’t because you’re scared? What won’t you let yourself feel, because fear has cast a shadow on your heart? Take a breath. Take a step. Trust yourself and fly.

Namaste ❤

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© 2020 by Eryl McCaffrey