How does fear manifest itself in your life? How do you deal with it once you recognize it?
In Fear Act I, I shared a scenario to illustrate the sneaky nature of fear as it related to my attachment to my first baclofen pump.
I hadn’t expected the piece to mirror any relationship where fear creeps in, but was pleasantly surprised by the development because it does work the same way with everything.
We give others our personal power often in relationships. Much the same way I gave my personal power to my first pump. This is also what happens in depression, addictive behavior and with those who go from relationship to relationship.
Why do we do give away our power? We do it for any number of reasons—insecurity, low self-worth, the belief that we need something or someone else to “complete” us, avoidance of looking inward, etc.
The bottom line for all of us is that fear has an open door when we feel helpless, hopeless, powerless or less than. This “less-ness” creates the unhealthy attachment to the things or people, which then allows fear to invite itself to come in and make itself at home in our lives.
We may do any number of things with our new houseguest. We may avoid it like the elephant in the living room. We may pick a fight with fear—cursing it and trying to kick it out of our home. We may even try to outsmart it by moving out of the house altogether!
What I propose we do with fear, once it is inside the house, is to make a pot of tea or coffee and sit down with the fear in the dining room. Radical idea, I know!
It would never have occurred to me had I not had a dream last year where I sat down with fear, as if it was a friend, and sought to better understand it. I look at fear much like I look at pain these days. Both are present to draw my attention to something important—they are both potentially helpful.
Rather than acting out over fears, I now seek to better understand where it is coming from and why. I cannot understand something I avoid, have an adversarial relationship with, or deny.
No matter how you have convinced yourself you can outmuscle, outsmart or outrun your fears–you simply cannot! I cannot either, which is why I’ve chosen to follow the dream I had right after my beloved first pump was removed. I decided to work cooperatively with my fears (and my pain for that matter).
Consider inviting your fear over for a tea party. Schedule an hour out of your day, as you would for any friend, and sit down and talk with it. Make some cookies, set the table, put some fresh flowers in a vase and have some fun with your special visitor. Fear is present to help you, not hurt you.
My fears have hurt me far more when they were lurking in the shadows, behind the scenes. When I brought them into the spotlight, as I did in Fear Act I, I became more aware of them. My next step was then to invite them over, willingly. They’ll come into my home either way. Inviting them is a way to preserve my personal power so that I have the courage to get to know the fears better.
The next time, we will discuss what to talk about with your fears at your tea party. I would love to know what you would ask or say to your fears if you had the opportunity to befriend them, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!