It’s common to belittle our fears and try to pre-maturely cleanse them away. But just because we’re afraid, doesn’t mean we’re toxic or failing or falling off the spiritual wagon. Fear is one of the many colors in our emotional palette, and it’s often there for a reason. There’s nothing weak or less evolved about being frightened. And guess what, you’re not alone. We’re all scared. No one is fearless.
Fear contains powerful messages. When we’re courageous enough to be with what scares us, we can awaken our intuition and create a new path for healing. Whether you’re worried about getting sick, you’re currently dealing with a health issue, or you’re scared and struggling in other areas of your life, don’t judge your fears, invite them to tea.
Managing Your Fears
Anyone who lives with cancer (myself included) will tell you that managing fear is an ever-evolving practice. Sometimes the shifts happen quite easily; other times our fears refuse to be rushed (and they really hate being trivialized). It took me over ten years to have a realistic perspective about my own health terrors. And let me be honest, I’m still working on it. Though I had the same information that I have now, time and experience have had a tremendous impact on how I work with my fears.
Fear is normal and, to a certain extent, it’s important. We can thank fear when it makes us get a lump checked or tells us not to get into a van with that guy. We can have gratitude for fear when it shakes us awake or jolts us from complacency. But while fear can play a very valuable role in igniting action, we can’t let it run our lives—especially if our fears are totally unfounded or irrational. Once we receive the message (the ah-ha!), we need to disable the fear alarm, turn it off, and cool it down because no one can thrive in a constant state of panic. Our bodies aren’t built for that, and neither are our spirits.
When fear becomes your lighthouse it will perpetually lead you to darkness.
Give Your Fears A Voice
So how do you get what you need from fear without letting it pull you under? Bring yourself back to the present moment. The here. The now. The pillow under your butt. The ground under your feet. The real reality. Unplug the movie in your mind and pet your dog. That’s real. That’s what’s truly happening.
Being afraid doesn’t make you inadequate. Many of us feel embarrassed and ashamed of our fears. We’ve been conditioned to believe that fear makes us weak. “Grow up. Man up. It’s not cool to be scared. Don’t be such a cry baby.” But stored up fears never make us stronger. Quite the opposite, stored up fears break us (emotionally and physically). If you want to set a powerful example for yourself and others, give your fears a voice. Talk it out. Call a friend. Chat with the friend within. Book a session with that good therapist. Pray. Ask for help. It’s all around you.
Lastly, sometimes fear is much easier to understand than we think. It may not have anything to do with being useful or not. It may not even really be fear. Perhaps we’re just really uncomfortable with change. New things. New information. The unfamiliar and all that goes with it. Give yourself a break. You’re human. You have many valid emotions. The trick is to stop being so critical and start applying more compassion and kindness to all aspects of you. Now go put on some cute heels or a snappy fedora and dance with your dragon (I promise you won’t get burned).
“When fear becomes your lighthouse it will perpetually lead you to darkness.” –Kris Carr
Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and wellness activist. Back in 2003, she directed and starred in Crazy Sexy Cancer, an inspirational documentary for TLC that chronicled her journey from cancer diagnosis to juicy healthy living.