Feeling afraid is very natural and sometimes very necessary. Fear ~ an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. We are wired with fear, it serves a purpose, like all things in our lives. It’s here to help us be safe, it keeps us alive during the times of danger. Our ancestors lived in a world where imminent danger from wild animals and the elements of their environment was always a life or death situation, but even now people live in societies with constant war, and physical danger around every corner. This launches us into The fight or flight mode.
The truth is most of us do not live in extremely dangerous environments, where we need to be in fight or flight mode, all the time. But, when you think about it, we are often there in our minds. We are practicing self preservation, we are trying to keep something, SAFE. We are trying to preserve our idea of what life should look like.
When life for any reason doesn’t look the way we would like it to, fear pops up and we panic!
Our minds begin to wonder, and our “what ifs”, start to flood us like a dam that has been broken and now is taking over a calm and peaceful forest, disturbing all of life within it. What if they do not like me? What if they see me for who I truly am? What if I do not get the job? What if I am not good enough? What if he doesn’t call? What if this relationship ends? What if it’s not what I expected? There is no obvious physical danger here, but our “idea of life” has been threaten. I love this quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Most of the time we are living in fear of things that will never happen.
When we constantly live like this we can be do serious harm to ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Here are a few ways that chronic fear can impact our lives: SOURCE: Impact of Fear and Anxiety
Living under constant threat has serious health consequences.
- Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
- Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
- Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
- Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.
We do not want to stay in a chronic state of fear, but when it comes, you can allow fear to serve you.
A few months ago my fear was over taking me and all I wanted to do is run away and put my son in a room, so he would be safe. I was in the flight mode for sure. It was about my son driving, he is 17 years old and he has been driving for a year. He is a pretty good driver, but it’s a scary thing to see your kid growing up and getting behind the wheel, with all the teenager driver accidents I hear about. I also have PTSD. Years ago I saw a guy killed in a car accident and his body laid in the road for awhile before the paramedics came to remove him. This put me in the hospital and I couldn’t speak for three days.
Trauma can give the mind references to pull up, when those similarities show up in our lives and our bodies and mental state can feel as though it’s happening all over again.
So when those past thoughts start to overwhelm me, I prayed and meditated. Suddenly I heard a gentle whisper, ” Why do I have to be something you avoid, something you fear or allow to consume you? I am here to serve your highest good.” I just sat there in tears, blown away by these words, that just washed over my soul. Fear is here to serve me. YES!!! It was put inside of my being, to help me stay safe and survive the elements of my world. The thing is, I do not live in an environment that is constantly threatening my physical body, but I do live in a world that is constantly threatening my emotional, mental and spiritual body. I continued to meditate and pray. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and this came to me, “Ask me why I am here?’ “Why did I show up?” So I took another trembling breath and asked fear ” Hello, fear why are you here?”
Fear said, as I continued to meditate and pray:
I am here to remind you that you have stepped away from where you should truly stand. You have stepped away from the spirit of truth and love. I feel so strong and so forceful, because I need you to move from this place NOW. I grip you so tight, because I need you to pay attention and listen to why I am here. I am here to show you where you have not surrendered. I am here to get you to look at the place deep inside you, where you first experienced me so intensely, so we can go back there and find your healing. I am here to get you to ask, Why am I scared? What do I truly want and am I afraid I will not get it? I am here to remind you to get back to GOD, back to LOVE and back to TRUTH. IF AM HERE, THEN FAITH CAN NOT BE and you will not have hope. I do not give hope, I am just a reminder that you need to take care. SO LET’S DEAL with it. There is work for you to do. I am your teacher. I am a hard teacher, that will consume you until you surrender, learn and move forward.
So many thoughts flooded my mind during this time of prayer. I had moved away from God, love and truth in my thinking and I was afraid of my son getting into a bad car accident and being killed like that guy was. I had to go back and deal. I had to give that fearful thought over to God. I had to trust and plug into the million other probabilities out there, like this one, my son can be safe on the road. You see we allow fear to take us over, because we do not honor it’s presence.
We push it away, we try to avoid it altogether, but I am learning to stop, pause, breath, pray and ask fear, Hello, fear why are you here? What do you need me to know? Where do we need to go? Once you have done that, the light comes back in, the soul feels safe from the dangers of the emotions we have not dealt with. It maybe something in childhood, a bad relationship, a real physical trauma, a negative thought, whatever it is, we must not be afraid of fear.
We need to face our fears like a old friend that knows us really well and is trying to get us to see the truth. Resistance only feeds fear’s call and it starts to consume us, so surrender with lovingkindness and ask fear, “HELLO, FEAR WHY ARE YOU HERE,” so we can be FREE.