Fear, when administered in the proper doses and at the appropriate times, is a very helpful emotion! It mainly serves to protect us from imminent danger, and honestly, who doesn't want their child to feel a healthy dose of it before they climb their first tree or sail down the mountain with their sled? It helps us to respect the natural limits that want to prevent us from going too far, but if you give it too much freedom, it starts to prevent us from living a courageous and self-determined life.
Fear plays a useful role in situations where we may put ourselves and other people in danger, for example in traffic. We all know that feeling when we race through the yellow light or pass someone on a two-lane highway. That surge of fear lets us know that we should exercise extreme caution when making our decisions so that we don't end up as a traffic statistic!
Keeping the Balance
The fear of what other people will think CAN be useful in situations where we might be tempted to say more than what's appropriate, but if we're not careful, it might also keep us from speaking up when we really should! Sometimes, we might need to state our opinion or take a stand for something that isn't popular, and the fear of what everyone else will think keeps our mouths shut and our hearts trapped from free expression. My own battle with people pleasing has been long and frustrating, and only now in my early 40s am I learning that my views and values are just as important as the next guy's. I am challenging myself to take positions and address issues that I deem important, and if someone has a problem with it, that's going to have to be THEIR problem. I'm tired of being everybody's darling, and am starting to enjoy the tremendous freedom that this insight has given me.
- Where do you have the feeling that fear has become your master in at least one area of your life and has forced you to not do something that you really wanted or needed to do?
- What concrete steps do you need to take to re-assume control for this area in your life?
Grappling with fear is no easy task, and you're not going to master this over night, but the essence of courage is doing the things that scare you over and over again until that fear begins to lose its power over you! If you need help with this process, feel free to get in touch with me! I'm more than happy to help you send fear packing!