Tips on Dealing With Fear

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

The key to change… is to let go of fear.

~ Roseanne Cash

I couldn’t disagree more. There is so much focus on all we ought to let go of—fear, judgment (I even coach my own clients on that one), the past—and really what promotes change is focusing on what’s right here, right now. And then using it to evoke change.

I’ve used Pema Chodron’s quote about fear many times in the past couple of months because it speaks truth to me.

Fear is a natural reaction to getting closer to your truth.

Getting closer to your truth means clearing the clutter. “Clearing the clutter” means creating white space so you can see what’s important to you staring you back in the face. If fears surrounding you, look them them in the eye. Examine them. Be curious about them. See what makes them tick. Hold them close to your heart and love them. Don’t drop them like hot potatoes (at least not to start with).

I read a horrible article this morning on how to deal with fear and wanted to share my experience with you. (This isn’t like saying, “Oh, this tastes, terrible … try it!!” I promise). I’m not going to just share my horrible experience with you, I’m going to give you a bit of what I’ve learned along the way.

Here were the article’s tips:

  1. Consider Your Foundation
  2. Fuel Yourself with Positive Resources
  3. Learn to Control Worry

(those should go along with some scary Dracula music, right?)

  1. Consider Your Foundation.” The idea expressed under this bullet point was to think about what’s important to you and understand your purpose: knowing your purpose will help dispel your fears. This sounds all well and good, but what about when you’re so frozen with fear and you have no sense of what your purpose is? What about when you don’t know where you’re going, only where you’ve been and everyplace you can remember is scary? This is a great time for creating the white space so we can think, breathe, learn, and honor.
    • White space is what you create when you take deep breaths. When you close your eyes. When you reopen them again and you have a clearer mind because the clutter has fallen away, even if momentarily. If you’re not ready for the clutter when it comes back knocking, lather, rinse, repeat. Breathe deeply. Close eyes. Reopen. Love yourself. Being in your white space brings you into the present day and mind frame. Fears are typically based in the past (which is no longer here) or the future (which isn’t here yet). By bringing yourself into your present state of mind, you’re clearing the clutter of past and future fears.
  2. Fuel Yourself with Positive Resources.” Here the focus is to stay positive, to put your energy into positive thoughts and not “angry music.” I get the idea. Surround yourself with more of what you want in your life, and less of what you don’t. I get it. But this does nothing to address fear. All your positive resources can get drowned out by fear screaming at the top of its lungs.
    • Positive resources have their place. And even all that positivity can block you from seeing what’s true for you. Where do your positive resources become a burden? Where do they mask your pain, your fear, what’s real for you? Rather than simply fuel yourself with positive resources, fuel yourself with some white space. The white space gives you a place to breathe and slow down and close your eyes and open them to see what’s really there and not an illusion your positive mind is trying to create for you.
  3. Learn to Control Worry.” This part ended up being the equivalent of “Stop it.” You don’t control worry or fear by simply saying to yourself, “Self, that’s a silly thing to worry about. Stop it.” If that worked, millions of people would be worry free. the truth is that we do often worry about what we fear. The trick is not to control it, the trick is to love it, to nurture it, to care for it, to be curious and see what it’s trying to tell us. Yes, our fears are speaking wisdom to us, but sometimes it comes out in the voice of a screaming four-year-old afraid of the bogeyman under the bed. Well, David Romanelli notes in his 3 Tips on Dealing with Fear, the Dorothy Thompson quote, “Fear grows in darkness. If you think there’s a bogeyman around, turn on the light.” Again, this leads to creating the white spaces.
    • We worry about what we don’t know. We fear what we don’t know.  The ‘not knowing’ is usually the part that makes it scary. When we become familiar with our fears, familiar with what scares us—by way of engaging in curiosity, by loving ourselves, by seeing to understand—we get to the root of what causes that fear. And once you understand the fear, you can make the decision to drop it like a hot potato, or see it for the lesson it was trying to teach you all along.

Now, I understand that the author of that article I read (and deconstructed) may have had his own agenda in writing it, and may have had an audience in mind (that probably didn’t include me). This is important. When we’re searching our souls, going deep within our beings to seek our thruths, we need to stay in a space that nurtures us. If you’re reading tips on how to deal with something you’re going through and it seems out of line with who you know yourself to be, just stop reading. Even if it means you stopped reading this article eight paragraphs ago. I mean it.

Not everything we come across is meant for us to ingest. Some of what we come across is meant to make us stronger. To show us what isn’t true so we have a better sense of what is true. Some of what we come across is meant to open our eyes. Some of what we come across is a truth we knew all along and just needed to see it to be reminded of it. The only way to know the difference is to practice being open to receive, and see what comes your way.

“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

~Susan Jeffers

What are your fears teaching you?

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mynde mayfield July.27.2010 at 9.17 pm

fear is my greatest ally in discovering who i really am. my fear teaches me about the deepest, most hidden parts of me that are seeking to be acknowledged and given love & adoration.

C. A. Kobu July.28.2010 at 2.57 pm

I really hate to hear the expressions 'controlling fear' and 'controlling worry'. There's something so cowardly about them. Besides, it's like sweeping the dust under the carpet and pretending it never existed in the first place. Fear is good. I always believe it's a tremendous opportunity to understand myself better. It's the ignorance that should alarm us, not fear. Fear is just a reaction like you say. A signal. This post is a real eyeopener, Dian. And a great reminder too! 🙂 Thank you.

Angela July.28.2010 at 7.12 pm

I have “done” life Roseanne Cash's way for as long as I can remember, throwing fears as far away from me as possible, only to have them reappear wearing different, usually more flamboyant, outfits. Lately I've been trying to do what Mynde describes, and it's a much, much different experience.

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