Giving Power to Fear


Fear I believe is so often a misunderstood, denied, belittled and untreated form of human suffering. I used to define fear in relation to larger events or things.  I didnt link fear to the way I live my life on a daily basis.  Then I needed a paradigm shift in my life.  I needed to make big scary decision.  I became paralyzed.  I had to look at myself truly and remove internal barriers for growth. FEAR popped up everywhere.

I began to understand how fear can be found in such simple things that directly attacks our vulnerability, confidence, self love, and can overall simply just leave me feeling empty, lonely, and/or powerless.  Repeated meetings at work where “I feel” my ideas are never heard or acknowledged and I feel powerless.  Anything that creates conscious or unconscious barriers within ourselves.  Before I know it I have created barriers and blockages with my thought, people  and things I cherish.   I had become my own personalized slippery slope of self preservation due to my own insecurities (imagined or real).  My perfect mixed bag of fear induced trauma resulting in a lack of self love.   I was the master of my own self destructive domain.

Science shows us more and more of how our body absorbs and manages stress.

It resides in our body so secretly we most likely don’t even know its hiding until it sneaks up on us……and we may not even know what occurred, but our body does and it goes immediately and instantly into survival mode.  A place within ourselves that thinks it is serving us best with distractions, attempting to make us not feel.  Covering wounds with bandaids so thick we may actually forget they exist but our body does not forget.  Our body will hold on as long as possible and in some instances forever despite our best efforts.  

 Its like the garden snake that hides within the beautiful fragrant garden.  It hides for its own safety and survival.  If we sneak up on the snake what does it do?  It slithers deeper or sometimes it may come at us with a fear induced survival mode strike.  The need for survival……we all have that.  Is the snake more successful at striking out or slithering deeper into the darkness?  So I ask myself this.  How can I use the power of fear to actually provide myself a safer space so that I become more confident, healthier and not afraid of vulnerability or failures.   I know personally that reliving my fears over and over is not healthy for me.  Eventually there comes a point where I need to flip the power and restructure in a way that gives the cells of my body new space to grow within.  Seems instinctive right?  I remember once when I was a littler girl…I guess maybe 9/10.  Old enough to meet friends in the campground and go to the swimming hole (1970s).  The swimming hole was in a big lake and it was a family populated beach.  There was a swimming rope that created a nice segregated swim area.  I met these girls and we decided to swim out from the beach to the middle of the semi circle swimming area……We arrived in the middle and came to the realization that we are gone into water deeper than where our feet could touch the bottom.  The girls started to panic and claim that they didn’t know how to swim. 

So what did I do? 

I started panicking and calling for help.  It was relatively organized panic…no one was going under and the rope was within short reach…I watched the sun bathing older sisters of the girls begrudging grab their air mattress and start swimming out to us.  While I was watching them I realized that at my young age I had actually graduated all my private swimming lessons and had even already started lifeguard lessons.  Once I navigated the fear rationalIy I remembered that I could swim back to shore without assistance.  My dad came to fetch me later for lunch or something and I recall telling the story,  I could see that he was trying very hard to be a good listener and not show panic.  He asked me to retell my story to my mom.  She then sitting there listening with wide eyes and complimenting me on my panic survival skills and how we could all learn from that.  Is that not trauma awareness and the start of healing in its simplest form?  We have an experience, we become acutely aware of the incident, we somehow have the ability to relive it with our own version of the story with a healthy wrap up……clearly I had all the tools in place to make the most of the situation….survive, recount, reflect, communicate, learn and process….clearly I still have some trauma associated with it but its healthy….its like a smack of ”wow”.  that was scary and Im ok and Im surround by people I love and I trust…….so what’s the point?  

What if we don’t have the tools to be able to communicate

What if we get very close to not surviving, what if we don’t have the tools to be able to communicate, we don’t have people around us that feel safe or that we believe truly have our best interest at heart…. left alone to manage our own survival.  At the end of my marriage I in no way felt my husband of 20 plus years had my best interest at heart and our level of communication was so dismal that recovering was pointless.  I powered through and through for survival …getting so stuck in my head repeating my own stories that I couldn’t see beyond my trauma.  My stories were the only ones that could possibly exist in my world.  My survival instinct was to hide from myself and others.  I was stuck repeating negative behaviors expecting others to also.  I was walking a dark path.   I am so grateful for the people both personal and professional that were there to help me understand the true nature of all the dynamics, not my stories.  This happens to people around us everyday.  If not addressed it can hide so deep and lash out in amazingly destructive ways.  Actually make us physically ill.

Until we become self aware of our own behavior patterns and thought process….we cannot heal, we cannot grow, and we can be stuck with a trainload of perceived obstacles that hold us back from living our best life.  Its all a process and it is so individual and unique…..I guess my thought is either we decide to focus on the pain and suffering and feed the fear or we focus on what we learned and we continue to grow despite ourselves.  At the end of the day the choice is ours.  We can walk it alone or we can ask for our village.  I am so grateful for my village!

Posted in ,