I have been thinking about fear quite a bit this week, and the bungee jump my sister did off the Bloukrans bridge in January this year. The main thought being why we have fear built into our systems. Can you imagine if we were immune to being afraid? It would either get us into a lot of trouble, keep us sane or it would send us 6 feet under. That fear though is what keeps us safe to some degree and it is the same thing that keeps us too comfortable or from venturing into new uncharted territory.
The funny thing about fear is that it isn’t just something that aims to protect us physically but it also aims to protect us emotionally – which is why sometimes we push people away just in case they hurt us first or we keep others at arm’s length just in case or a relationship meltdown we are already half way to the exit.
It is a normal survival instinct that warns us when to fight or flee. It is when fear begins to take over every aspect of our thinking and decisions – when it begins to limit our living and pushes us into a corner where we are too afraid to step out of and really grow that we need to start paying close attention. The question is how healthy is your level of fear? Does fear limit you and keep you from really living?
What I have learned in my life is that fear is often a really good way to ensure growth, if you don’t let it rule you. Yes, you may be afraid but if you are determined to move beyond the space that gives you sleepless nights you can overcome the fear that holds you back. You can choose toe use it to push you forward. Once you get past fear it can serve you and not the other way around.
In the last few years of my life fear has been constantly knocking on my door reminding me of the risks we have been taking – the possibility of failing and looking like fools and being the topic of everyone’s gossip stories. It has been biting at my heels telling me to choose the easier path and it has been shooting not just arrows at me but hot fiery bullets at my ‘fear-proof vest’ telling me it will never happen and that we are fools to believe this radically for something that is reasonably impossible to the naked eye.
Fear and doubt work so perfectly together. Fear comes in and weakens you faith, your strength and resolve – once that has been done successfully the next step is to get you thinking in the wrong direction and before you know it – you have slipped off the path of determination and you are tumbling down the embankment of ‘oops I gave into fear’ straight towards the jungle of doubt and torment. I have first hand experience on how quickly you can land up there if you are not on guard against those fearsome bullets and sneaky manoeuvrings of fear.
Despite this – it is not fear that needs to be feared. NO…think about it…
It is in fact being blissfully aware of what is lurking in the bushes, waiting around the corner for just the right moment to karate kick us off of our feet. It is our inability to take heed when those warnings, checks and words of wisdom are sent our way to manage what we think, to stay focused on that which uplifts and brings hope and it is our complacency when it shatters through the resistance instead of us counter attacking.
So how do we deal with it? What are your counter attacks?