A wise person once told me ¨Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real¨ Wow, I thought, that is helpful as it applies to most fear that we experience daily, of course not the fear we have when we stand ready to bungee jump or if we find ourselves in a dangerous situation. The existence of real physical fear is not what I am referring to here.
Fear, when broken down, often has other elements beneath the surface like low self-esteem, sadness, grief and even anger. But fear is the free floating one that seems to sit on top and can control our thoughts and actions, or, in many cases, our lack of action. It often manifests physically, increased heartrate, or heart palpitations, nervousness, sweaty palms or feelings of restlessness and anxiety. But often these symptoms, driven by our projection and thoughts about a situation or about people, are not based in reality. And that is the rub.
We can experience the fear as if something has already happened, which has not. The potential break up, loss of a job, loss of money or property, all the millions of things our minds can worry and be fearful about. Sometimes simply reciting ¨False Evidence Appearing Real¨, can be extremely useful. It turns the mind to seeing the thing for what it really isn´t. It right sizes our preoccupations and can lower the fear factor.
Another helpful question to ask is ¨What is the absolute worst thing that can happen? ¨ Normally the truthful answer helps to normalise the fears and worries. Fear can stop us doing things we want to do. Keeping promises to ourselves becomes more difficult when fearful. Recently I felt my aversion to going to a new gym to work out. I imagined the scenario in my head and began to tell myself a whole host of reasons why it would probably be a negative experience. By noticing what was happening, I broke it down and thought ¨If I go a few times and don´t like it, I can find somewhere else. ¨ But I must have the lived experience before I can reject something or decide how something will be in my mind. Noticing these negative thought patterns is a key step to shifting them.
Fear is not something to fear. We all have it in varying degrees and in different levels of intensity throughout our lives. When it begins to interfere with how we want to live and interact with people, places, and situations then it is important to take notice and to face it. That way we begin to take the power out of it and move into a place of having faith in ourselves and our abilities.