It is not that you must be free from fear. The moment you try to free yourself from fear, you create a resistance against fear. Resistance, in any form, does not end fear. What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it, not how to resist it through courage, and so on.- J. Krishnamurti
I’m afraid of a lot of things. Fear has been a very big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned, though, not to try to banish the fear from my life, because I think that would be impossible, but to live with the fear, to recognize it for what it is, and to accept it as a part of who I am. When I’m in situations in which my fears grow strong, I don’t try to reject the fear and pretend it’s not there; rather, I try to listen to it and find out what it’s trying to tell me. What does it have to teach me about the situation?
Alcoholics usually can’t just push their alcoholism out of their lives. They have to come to terms with the condition and live their lives with it as a part of who they are. Likewise, I’m not doing myself much good if I act as if I’m not afraid of something that I really am afraid of, for the chances are that I’d end up doing something reckless or foolish just to prove to myself that I’ve “conquered” my fear.
Don’t get me wrong–I don’t let my fears rule my life. I’m terrified of heights, but I still climb a ladder up to our roof when I need to fix something up there. I’m afraid of crowds and large groups of people, but I still put myself regularly in situations in which I’m a part of a crowd.
I don’t, however, try to fool myself into thinking that I’m not afraid of heights while I’m up there on the roof. I pay attention to my fear and I try to understand it, and I believe that’s what allows me to go up there in the first place–my willingness to accept the fear that’s trying to keep me from doing so. It’s never easy climbing up there, but I’m always able to do so, no matter how much my fear is telling me that I shouldn’t.
Questions to consider:
- What are you afraid of? Have you ever listened to that fear?
- Have you ever considered the possibility that our fears may be a part of us in order to teach us some very important lessons about ourselves?
- What advice do you tend to give to people who are afraid to do something? Do you follow that same advice when your fears surface?
For further thought:
Fear can infect us early in life until eventually it cuts a deep groove of apprehension in all our thinking. To counteract it, let faith, hope and courage enter your thinking. Fear is strong, but faith is stronger yet.
Norman Vincent Peale