Lessons about Fear

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My Aunt Myrtle has been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking about a story she told me about a time she visited someone who lived deep in the woods. She parked her car and was walking to this person's house and noticed a pack of dogs running towards her. She knew that she could not outrun the dogs so her only option was to run towards them. She ran towards the dogs and started screaming at them as loudly as she could and the dogs retreated.

One of the reasons why I’ve been thinking about that story is because lately, I have been allowing myself to be crippled by some fears and doubts. For the most part, I’m good at pushing through my fears and facing them head-on but some are harder than others. For example, some of my fears are my mental health, how I connect with others, not understanding messages from other realms, the hamster wheel and letting go and letting God. Part of the reason for some of these fears is me not getting “it.” I’m a curious person and part of that entails me figuring things out and understanding it. The downside of that is when I can’t figure something out and I see no type of answer or resolution it puts me in a downward spiral. The “it” that I’m working through now has been a recurring “it” throughout my life and that’s why it’s so maddening. I’m not here to talk about my “it” shit, I’m here to talk about fear and what I've been learning about that emotion thus far.

One of the created acronyms for fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” I agree and disagree with this meaning. I do believe that we do tend to overthink things and project future outcomes of situations that have not happened yet. Maybe it gives us some sense of control of the situation or provides an excuse for us not to face the thing(s) that we have been dreading. The other side of that is when we minimize the concept of fear to motivate ourselves or other people to get through it we also dismiss the realness of fear and the effects of it. Some fears are tangible and facing them means life or death. Sometimes our intuition gives us a sense of fear to alert us of immediate danger. Fear is individualized and in some cases, cliches and mantras just don’t cut it. I’m not saying that they are not helpful but sometimes they can be dismissive in certain situations. I say this to say that it’s ok to validate your fears. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that you’re scared out of your fucking mind. Acknowledging it can help you let go of it and move accordingly.

For me, in some cases, it helps me to think of the worst-case scenario when it comes to fear. Sometimes if I can map out the worst-case scenario in a fear situation, no matter how ridiculous it may be, I can tell myself I can survive it. This doesn’t mean that I have any control over the outcome. It’s not about that. It helps me make peace with whatever the outcome will be and become detached from it. It also helps me face the fear with a little bit more ease and less resistance. Lastly, most of the time things were not as bad as what I perceived them to be. To be honest the anticipation was the worst part. But there have been times that things were worse than I could have imagined but I survived it……and lived to write about it.

What I’ve also learned about fear is that you have to have a conversation with it. You have to talk it out or write it out. Emotions can be tricky and sometimes we become distracted by surface-level fear. When I become plagued by emotions I like to ask myself why do I feel this way and where did this come from. When you break down your emotions and can pinpoint the base of a fear you can navigate through it much easier. Sometimes it’s not what’s in front of us that we are afraid of, it’s something buried within us.

The scary part of facing fear is that eventually, you have to let go and allow. Well, for me it is. I tend to try to control things, even though there is a thorough record of how that doesn’t work out for me. For me, sometimes, it’s not about facing the fear, it’s about what’s on the other side of it. We don’t know the outcome of any situation no matter how intentional we are. All we have control of is our energy and how we react to it. Also, there are so many forces working around us that our human eyes can’t see or our human mind can’t comprehend. One of my continuous lessons has been that in order to face a fear you have to trust yourself, trust the source (or whatever your belief) and allow the universe to work its magic. Trust that no matter what that you will be ok. We will be ok.

Lastly, sometimes the only way to conquer fear is to run towards it screaming at the top of your lungs. Other times, it’s letting go and allowing. There is no one size fit all when it comes to facing your fears. Whatever your fear is, please be kind to yourself during the process and know that you are stronger than what you think you are. These are just some of my thoughts regarding fear. Thank you for allowing me to share with you and I hope this resonates with someone.

Until next time,

April Odom

April OdomComment