Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown.
It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid.
Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.
- Pema Chödrön
When Pema Chödrön writes about becoming intimate with our fears, she recommends using fear as a tool rather than as a problem to solve. She advises us to dismantle our familiar ways of behavior and says we must accomplish, “a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking.”
Bravery is not the absence of fear but the intimacy with fear.
We need to step forward a little further with courage. Pema Chödrön encourages that our deepest strength arises by befriending ourselves which is the only mechanism for befriending life in its completeness.
Susan Jeffers believes, "Apart from obvious connections, it is possible the cause of our fear lies elsewhere. But does it really matter from where self-doubts come? It is often impossible to figure out the actual causes of negative patterns. Even if we did know, the knowing doesn't necessarily change them. If something is troubling you, simply start from where you are and take the action necessary to change it."
Duke professor Dan Ariely suggests 'reframing your experience.' He says, "You might not be able to change what you have to do but you can change how you see it."
Find a fear and approach it. Then write to it with all the senses.
Use laughter to tickle fear into submission.
Develop a metaphor to return to when faced with the fear.
Write until your mood changes to Fear Less.
If you find your socks don't match
Stand in a flowerbed
If your shoes don't fit
Give them to the fish in the pond
If your horse needs shoes
Let him use his wings
If the sun never shines again
Hold fireflies in your hands to keep warm
If you are afraid of the dark
Remember the night rainbow
If there is no happy ending
make one out of cookie dough
- Cooper Edens