What fear lies beneath your fear?
In this post, we're addressing mental and emotional fear, not physical threat to our lives.
When we are afraid, often we must go deeper within ourselves to discover our true fear. This point was driven home in the story of a woman who was seeking help with an intense fear of flying. When she sought help to overcome her fear, the counselor said, "First get clear on what you're afraid of. You're not afraid of flying. You're afraid of crashing!"
Often women that I coach about relationships are afraid of losing their current relationship, even if it's bad for them. When we dig beneath the surface, the fear beneath the fear is that they are afraid no one will ever want them again; they'll be alone for the rest of their lives; and, even deeper is the fear that there is something fundamentally wrong with them and they are unlovable.
There are other fears like being afraid to speak in public, flying, fear of water, fear of intimacy . . . . In the end I think that we all fear death - either physical death or the death of our ego; the death of core beliefs that we use to create the fabric of our lives. Think about it, how often have you spent hours, days or months being afraid of an event that when it happened, wasn't all that bad?
Years ago my list of fears included that insane fear of being unlovable and it included bizarre things like driving my car in thunder & lightening driving across long bridges. When I thoroughly investigated my fear and became more self-aware, those things were not my true fear. Beneath that fear was a fear of dying. Even deeper was a fear of going to hell because I thought I had been so bad.
Gradually by asking that my fear be removed and taking actions contrary to the way I felt, the fear left me.
One day I was driving home from work in rush hour traffic during a torrential downpour. Traffic was moving slow. Visibility was limited. The sound of the rain was deafening. Driving under a freeway overpass there was a momentary hush as if someone had switched off the rain for a moment. The moment was surreal. I smiled. Driving into the pounding rain again, I realized that I wasn't afraid. The fear of driving through a storm had left me.
You would think that when a feeling of fear that intense leaves it would make a loud popping sound or something! Instead it left quietly. It was gone before I knew it.
How then do we get over fear?
- Identify what your afraid of.
- Find the deeper fear within you.
- Ask that it be removed.
- Be willing to let it go.
What would you do today if you weren't afraid?