Here’s another thought I’d like to share
Make friends with your fears because they shape your life.
I don’t have any phobias. I’m not fond of snakes, but I’m not really fearful of them. I’m not a big risk taker, but that’s more from a place of having good sense rather than from being scared. Even my cancer diagnosis in 2008 didn’t exactly scare me – it more woke me up than made me fearful. So, all that being said, Judith Lasater’s quote made me think, “this isn’t so true for me – my fears don’t really shape my life.” However, I am smart enough to realize that I may not be a scaredy-cat, but I am pretty slick when it comes to pulling the wool over my own eyes. So, I began to explore the deeper meaning of “fears” and I must admit, albeit sheepishly, that the course of my life has indeed been subtly shaped by my fears. A driving force for me has been a fear of not being loved or lovable. As a child, I was the “sweet” one and that’s how I got my validation and my love. Later, I made sure to fly under the radar because that way I didn’t create waves. As a young mother, I tried to never be too “busy” (a four letter word for me) for my kids or husband because I got validation through being “available.” And although “sweet” and “available” are not bad traits at all, for me, they were both outcome based – so others (parents, kids, etc.) would perceive me a certain way and thus “love me.” Of course, none of this was conscious on my part at the time, but because I was acting from the fear of not being what others wanted me to be, I was not in touch with my true nature. (Note: This was my FEAR, not my reality. But because I didn’t question or recognize the fear, it made me think it was my reality. Fear distorts our reality, it doesn’t change it!) Becoming conscious of my fears and how I act in ways that are based on those fears makes it much easier to see through the distortions and make choices that come from my true nature instead. Acting from my truest and deepest self strips fears of their power to shape my decisions and thus lands the responsibility for my life aptly in my own lap. It keeps me honest. I can’t blame others or build resentment. And although it takes some “digging” to really see what’s driving me (to wake up fully) it’s freeing and moves me to a more <i>alive</i> feeling place. When Lasater says “make friends with your fears” I believe she means know your fears and don’t spend your energy trying to run from, avoid, tackle or annihilate them. (This is kind of like letting a bucking bronco roam in the pasture rather than caging it in a tight pen. It’s the same animal, it’s just not so reactive and scary.) Simply acknowledge your fears, learn from them, and allow them to loosen and become diffuse. The more we know, the more choices we have. With the freedom of choice we can respond authentically rather than automatically. We can grow, change, evolve – we can live fully. What fears shape your life? Do you have the courage to look deep – to dig?
Wishing you the courage to befriend your fears.
Originally Published May 20, 2010by