The “No Fear” Slogan Has Hypnotized Us Into A Lie
We’ve all heard the famous “No Fear” slogan. Isn’t it amazing how an advertisement can get inside our head and wreak havoc? I mean, really, who are we kidding? I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t trust anyone who pretends they have no fear! KNOW FEAR, though, makes me want to snuggle up and get closer.
I think of a little ditty on a piece of driftwood a friend made for my dad. He had it hanging on the wall of his cabin in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. It said: “Drink for you know not whence you came nor why. Drink for you know not where you go nor when”.
I don’t know about the drinking part, although that was certainly the flavor of the week in the Florida Keys for decades. But, what about the “you know not where you go nor when”?
Spiritual and religious beliefs notwithstanding, the specter of death in itself is enough to cause a significant amount of fear and trembling in we mortals.
The Many Fears of Being Human
We face many fears as humans. The fear of the unknown (I’ve already pointed out the “great” unknown), the fear of physical and emotional suffering, the fear of failure, the fear of success. And then there’s the fear of abandonment, the fear of “shining” more than others, the fear of not being liked or fitting in, the fear of public speaking, the fear of hunger, job loss, relationship endings, hair turning gray, turning old and wrinkly. You get the point.
So, where did we get this NO FEAR thing from? I mean, that is BULLSHIT in the 1st degree. It takes the proverbial cake my grandmother was always talking about.
No Wonder We Don’t Face Fear
The bottom line is fear is uncomfortable. No wonder we don’t want to even acknowledge it to ourselves, let alone hang out with it.
You could put anxiety in the same category. The very nature of anxiety is that it’s a miserable feeling. We want to escape as soon as possible, send it off to Siberia, never to be heard from again. No return address thank you very much. Don’t call me, I’ll call you – when hell freezes over.
The Irony Of It All
Pushing uncomfortable emotions away and pretending they don’t exist is NOT helpful in the long run and often fails in the short term as well. It simply isn’t an effective strategy.
What does help? Paradoxically the only thing that calms our fears and anxieties is to face them. Head-on.
Try the following exercise. I hope it helps bring you back into a place of calm in your darkest moments.
An Exercise For Facing Fear (or anxiety, fear’s close relative):
- As soon as you notice fear or anxiety creeping in, immediately find a quiet place to sit and still yourself. If you’re out and about you can go into a bathroom.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
- Go inside. Continue paying attention to your breath. Feel the rhythm of your breath as you breathe in and out.
- Tune into your body and feel where the discomfort of fear lodges itself in your body.
- Breathe into the discomfort and visualize a softening in that area.
- Become curious about the fear.
- Talk with your fear.
- Let your fear talk with you.
- Soothe and comfort your fear as you would a frightened child.
- Pour love and compassion into your fear.
- Open your eyes when you feel centered and complete.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Have a cup of tea.
- Listen to lovely music.
- Call a friend.
It’s Not Cool To Declare Life a No-Fear Zone
Going along with the idea of “No Fear” is hazardous to your health.
It’s a lie. We all have fears. We need to support one another in facing our fears and the first step is acknowledging fear is part of being human.
It takes courage to face fear.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in facing fear and anxiety.
It’s challenging to meet these feeling face-to-face when they arise. But, the rewards are great.
Until next time, be well, have fun playing with the dragon, and may you experience the best relationships ever!
Dragonfly Photo Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krikit
Crow at Full Moon Photo Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luchilu