There’s a great quote out there that goes something like “remember that fear is just an emotion. Danger is real and fear can alert you to it, but after that fear just gets in the way.”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being afraid. It means your brain is working. The challenge is acknowledging fear, discovering its source and purpose, and letting it go.
One of the things that allows you to move past fear is faith, and this is where many religions do a lot of good – they give you something to put your faith into that you know will do the right thing.
With that said there is another kind of faith that isn’t mutually exclusive of the first and that I would argue is even more powerful: faith in yourself. The belief that you will do your best and things will turn out in the end.
The fear of following your intuition about living a different life can be a hidden fear that acts from the shadows – whispering to you in the dark from behind thick curtains.
It can manifest in a lot of fear loops that keep you stuck where you are. “I’m not ready yet” – the desire to make this perfect or to be fully prepared; “What if I wait it out” – the belief that things will get better if you just wait a little longer; “I’ll start slow and then do it” – the (usually faulty) desire to start living your ideal life while clinging to your old one.
There are many other ways that fear manifests itself but make no mistake that it is fear.
I was talking to a friend recently about starting a health and wellness community. He had been dreaming of it for a long time and had not acted because he wanted to get involved in the community and build up his network.
At one point I asked him simply “What were the barriers to starting your community a year ago?”
He answered that he had needed to build up a network and find a space to practice out of.
“Well,” I said, “over the last year you’ve built a huge network and you’ve shown me time and again that they’re willing to come out and work with you.
We’re also sitting in a space that’s prime real estate and I’m telling you you can use for free for a few months to get going.
So if a network and space were your two barriers, what’s stopping you now other than fear?”
I further told him that I think of it as two boats. He’s been on the same boat for over a year now, looking off at his “ideal” boat which was too far to jump onto.
Over this last year that “ideal” boat has gotten closer and closer and is now but a few feet away -yet he still won’t jump. He’s caught in the fear loop of wanting to prepare more. And of course he can always prepare more, and the boat will get ever so slightly closer, but only marginally so. Eventually you just start “preparing” so you don’t have to jump.
Of course that’s just my take on it – no one knows us better than we know ourselves.
And only you can honestly determine if you’re caught in a fear loop and what to do about it.
Friends and therapists and blogs can help you think about it, but the real change comes from inside. The change that happens when you accept fear as a warning and nothing more so that you can assess the danger with a clear mind and act with complete faith.