4: Fear – Would the real Fear please stand up
Imagine a young girl, maybe about 6. She’s in her pyjamas, it is the middle of the night. Her Family is running down the stairs from there small apartment. She is holding nothing but air between her hands because there was no time to grab her doll or even shoes. Her mum and brother are running in front of her, she can only hear them in the dark. They are running to their neighbours’ home, to safety. Her mums’ boyfriend has come home drunk, again. He has hit her, again. This time her mum is trying to get away. The boyfriend must have passed out, as she made sure they all stayed whisper quiet. It is all a blur going into the house, it is late and no one really speaks. If they do the girl can’t hear it. All three of them lay in the neighbours’ spare bed, wide eyed, pretending to go to sleep. The girl is frightened as her mum holds her. Her brother is on the other side, very still, trying to be so brave. The girl can feel his fear too, as much as she can feel her own. Then a loud voice outside, it is her mums’ boyfriend yelling for them down the long driveway of the apartments. He calls each name and with each name comes a tear rolling down the girls face. The only words in her head are ‘please don’t find us’.
The neighbours kept them safe that night, but the little girl did not sleep and as they went back home the next morning after he had gone to work the young girls mind had already started thinking about what would happen when he got home that night.
That little girl is me. That feeling of fear has always remained clear to me. As I began researching emotions 5 years ago, this was clear in my mind and I started to understand that somewhere along the way fear had been given a very different meaning.
It was these memories that helped me truly understand why fear has a place and what its purpose is. I could clearly see that we feel fear for our benefit. It is not meant to be for a detriment as so many want and choose to believe.
Of course I felt fear in that moment, I was at age 6 running for my safety. He was a violent and frightening man when he was drunk. I can look back now and see how controlled, inauthentic he was when he was sober. The drinking just gave him permission to let go, numb the pain he felt inside and inflict it on others around him. I know now he was frightened of himself, and I only have the deepest compassion for him.
Fear helped us stay safe. When we all instinctively choose to follow fears lead, it always led us to safety. Fear always wanted us to survive. I say us because in those moments it was like we used our collective fear to help us as a whole, there was no individual intention. Those moments clearly showed me that fear is the same for all of us.
So what then is Fears purpose for good in your life?
Fears purpose is to keep you safe.
Fear only wants the best for you, to help you thrive and survive when you need to.
Fear helps you know, to your very core, how important something is to you.
Fear helps you focus and be present.
The beauty of this emotion is that you are grounded wonderfully in the moment you are in, not in the future or past, but completely in the present.
For me, now that I know its purpose and use it to its benefit, I can easily see the complicated misconception that has been built around it. Fear has seemed to get the blame for everything.
Public speaking and spiders are 2 of the most commonly known fears. Take a moment to think about each of them and ask yourself why you might feel fear for either of these things?
Look at public speaking. If you are not comfortable in front of people but the topic you are sharing is very important to you, then you would most definitely feel fear. Why? It is not because of being in front of people; that is a different emotion, it is because your natural instinct is asking you to be present and focus on how important this is to you. To deliver the information to the best of your ability, with authenticity. That is Fear, right there kicking in to help you.
Now look at spiders, if it is a deadly spider as we have in Australia, then you are right to feel fear and want to follow your instinct to move away from it. Right there is where fear wants to help you survive. That feeling of flight or fight is there for a reason. Not to ignore and push down, but to use to your benefit. To follow what fear is telling you or yelling depending on how quickly you need to act.
The two fears I mentioned used to be my biggest fears, but once I started using fear for its purpose then it changed. I can now talk in front of others with far more authenticity and confidence, and spiders I can even walk past, even be in the same room with. As long as I know they are not dangerous, like redbacks or whitetails, and even then I catch and release.
Now you know why you feel fear. I want you to transform all the things you once thought were negative and turn them into a positive, understanding that this feeling, fear, is truly for your benefit.
All you need to do is remember Fears question in those moments when you feel butterflies or want to run.
Fears Question - How important is this to me?
Watch how your life changes and you can experience all the gifts that fear gives.
I mentioned before that there was a different emotion that you experience with the example of public speaking. That is the next emotion I am going to share with you, Shame.
Stay with me as I lift the lid on this one and help you use Shame to help you, thrive and grow.
Thank you and please remember – BE YOU and FEEL GOOD,
Ema Borg - Unique Phoenix