The Key To Dealing With Your GREATEST Fear
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. –Franklin D. Roosevelt
Let me ask you a quick question. And I want you to really think about this.
What is your greatest fear?
Now let me ask you another question…one that just might change your life.
How is this fear holding you back?
The truth is that one’s biggest fear is often a roadblock on the great highway of life. Left unchallenged, it stifles growth and keeps us stuck.
Now don’t get me wrong-some fears are healthy. For example, if you smell smoke, you will become fearful and check around to make sure there isn’t a fire. That’s a healthy fear.
The kind of fear I’m talking about is that little fear that begins as a whisper and grows into a shout. As it takes on a life of its own, it becomes your greatest fear-one that can seem too difficult to face. As a result, you avoid it like the plague.
So just what does a greatest fear look like?
One’s greatest fear can be rooted in an event-like flying or public speaking. Or it can be rooted in an emotional concept-like falling in love and being hurt or the fear that a loved one will die. It can even be something as simple as a tiny spider.
Our first response is often to resist facing such fears.
And why wouldn’t we? We naturally want to resist feelings of discomfort. They feel horrible.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best choice. And for good reason.
You see, resistance only makes fear worse.
It becomes like a circus mirror. What we see isn’t what’s really there. That’s because with resistance, fear grows and escalates. Reality gets lost in the shuffle. We end up with a distorted picture in which our original fear is greatly twisted.
So just how do you begin to deal with your greatest fear?
To deal with your greatest fear, you must learn to stay present with it. This means you’ve got to face that which you’ve been resisting-little by little. In other words, resistance must no longer be an option.
This is where mindfulness becomes your greatest tool.
Through mindfulness, we learn to stick it out. I know that sounds awful, but it’s essential to your growth. You don’t want to stay stuck in a rut, right? Think of all of the things you’ve been missing out on.
Becoming mindful with fear begins with knowing our autopilot thinking patterns.
Autopilot is a mindfulness term for the scripts that run over and over in the mind and the emotions that we experience. Autopilot isn’t always accurate. As a result, it obscures our view of reality.
Think of it like this…
Autopilot scripts literally fuel fear. In turn, fear fuels the scripts. It becomes a vicious circle that spins out of control.
It’s like that fearful flyer who goes from being a little nervous to truly believing that if he sets foot on a plane it will crash. Is this true? Probably not. But the autopilot scripts are so defined that they seem real.
Mindfulness takes out of this loop.
Remember the famous term “stop the insanity?” That’s what mindfulness does. It’s a form of natural intervention.
From a perspective of mindful awareness, we can see fear as an observer. But from the autopilot perspective, we get caught up in the river of fear and carried away with the torrent. All we can see and experience is the intense fear. So we try to escape.
Sure, we may be able to escape sometimes. However, that doesn’t help us in the long run. Only by being fully present with and experiencing the fear, can we discover that it lacks substance. And most importantly, we discover that it will not harm us. Fear is not dangerous – it just feels horrible.
So to experience liberation from fear, you need to make mindfulness a priority-despite autopilot scripts.
By being mindfully present with fear, we see its true nature. We see that it arises and passes-without harming us. The more we practice the better able we are to stand by the river of fear-based thoughts and feelings and just watch them come and go.
We experience the fear without trying to push it away. This allows it to pass and allows us to live our lives to the fullest. In turn, we are able to experience that which we have been missing.
In closing this post, I want you to think about something. You are the author of the story of your life. Making the decision to face your biggest fear is yours and yours alone. The storm may seem choppy, but just on the other side lies a clear sky of freedom from whatever it is that terrifies you.
What fears have you been avoiding? And how would facing these fears change your life? I’d love to hear your feedback.
To your mindfulness,