Fear rules our lives in so many ways and is responsible for so much of our internal misery. When confronted with fear our reaction is either to control the situation or to escape the situation. Both of these are unsatisfactory in the long run. We can’t control everything, and if we are always running, we never fully live and enjoy life. So what is the solution to fear?
The Short Answer
Surrender. This is the antidote to fear.
The Long Answer
Surrender. Choose Joy, Release Fear.
OK, so how do you do this? What does that mean?
When faced with something that you fear, instead of trying to fix and control it, or instead of running from the fear (perhaps into the arms of your addiction), surrender to it.
Be with it. Examine it in your mind. What is it you fear? What if your fear came true? Would you be ok? Even with our worst fear, death, which will eventually happen to all of us, the answer is yes, we will be OK. We are incredibly resilient. Let’s look at a few examples.
1. Friend Anxiety
You run into a friend whose party you were unable to attend. She is cordial, but cool. You explain why you weren’t able to make it, but your friend seems doubt your explanation. When you part ways, you feel anxiety.
Maybe you’re worried that she is mad at you. Maybe you are worried that she is gossiping about you behind your back. Maybe you feel anger at her not believing you. Either way, the core emotion is fear.
Once you’ve done all you can by explaining why you were unable to attend her party, the thing to do is release your fear. Surrender and release. You can’t control her views or her actions. You can only do your best to explain and be her friend going forward.
Also, trying to escape the fear by either turning to an anxiety-soothing addiction (nail biting, smoking, eating, taking alcohol or drugs, gossiping) will do nothing to change the outcome.
Surrender and move on sending her well wishes in your mind.
2. Current Events Anxiety
You hear of a story of terrorism, violence, or natural disaster that is random and out of the blue. You feel anxiety. Your fear is “Could this happen to me or a loved one?”
How do we react to this? Usually with Control and/or Escape.
Control could sound like this:
- How can I protect myself?
- I’ll buy a gun.
- I’ll steer clear of crowds.
But take this to the Nth degree and you’ll never go to a movie again, you’ll be homeschooling your kids, and moving to a remote island in the South Pacific. Not that any of those things is bad. It’s just bad if it’s not how you really want to be living your life.
And would you then be 100% protected from terror, violence, or random destructive acts of God? No, you wouldn’t. We can’t be 100% protected here in the physical world.
Escape might look like this:
- Hatred towards perpetrators (If I’m hating I can’t feel the scary feeling of fear.)
- Hatred towards certain kinds or groups of people.
- Turning to an addiction to escape feelings of fear.
But the fear is still there. Better instead to examine it and find acceptance that the world can be a randomly dangerous place sometimes. The root fear is death, pain, or loss of a loved one. We can take some measures to be safe, but after a certain point, it’s better to live today in this moment instead of living in the future possibility of death, pain, and loss.
Where you are in your mind at this moment IS your reality. It’s best to examine our fears, observe them, and let them be. Don’t feed them and don’t cover them up. This neutralizes them. It doesn’t eradicate them, but it makes them much smaller and easier to handle.
3. Secret Fears
Some fears show up in very sneaky ways masked as something else.
- Perhaps we don’t sleep well at night because we are worried about that little pain in our side. Ultimately we are fearing death.
- You get mad at a family member for interrupting your freelance work. Your fear is that you won’t get your work done and you’ll lose your client. You root fear is that you won’t be able to pay your bills and you’ll lose your home. If you know the root, maybe you’ll see it is an overreaction. Some balance may be in order.
- You get mad at your spouse for coming home late. You fear that he/she may be cheating on you. Maybe you know they are cheating on you. Your root fear is loss of love. Instead of confronting the fear you choose the easier action of arguing, because it is easier than facing your fear. Face your fear. There is nothing you can’t handle. Truly.
When fears are masked by another fear, sometimes we don’t act rationally. It’s best to uncover that root fear so that you can address it in the areas where you have some control and face it, accept it, surrender to it in the areas where we don’t have control.
Be Aware of Fear in Your Life to Rise Above It
In any case where you are frustrated, mad, scared, or feeling anxiety, the root is some type of fear. If you can understand your root fears better, then you can take action where you have some control, but also spend some time with your fear where you don’t have control. This will take some of it’s power away.
When we are running from our fears in a panic, we never solve them. We need to stop running, and stop building endless fortresses. Imagine your worst fear coming true and accept it. That’s the exact moment your fear stops having a hold on you. That’s when you can actually move forward in life, finding joy right here, right now!
What fears control your life and how do they manifest in your behaviors? Does it lessen the quality of your life? What and how could you change that?
Thank you in advance for sharing this on social media or via email if you found this helpful!
Subscribe today for future updates! Subscribe to Life Learning Today by Email.