Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Fear is an inner guidance system, an evolutionary necessity, which warns us when something is wrong. It is our fight or flight response which protects and, if we choose, elevates us. If we choose not to become frozen in time-fleeing from things that are no longer harmful to us and/or fighting battles that no longer need to be fought.
I don’t believe fear is a bad thing. In fact, I think it is a gift — a blank canvas of opportunity that takes on a negative or positive quality in our lives depending on how we choose to navigate it and something we can either reject or be open to receiving. It has a Jekyll and Hyde energy to it and can manifest as darkness-a gloomy cloud hovering and taking over one’s life sometimes in the form of destruction or as a life force-a frenetic and seemingly chaotic energy which uses its disturbing force to ask us to transform and create our lives anew. We need to integrate the Jekyll and Hyde of fear instead of polarize it so we can do just that-transform and create the lives we want.
Fear as Destruction
If we stick our hand in boiling water, we instinctually remove our hand because our body-through the sensation of pain-is telling us that our physical system is in danger if we don’t take action. On an emotional and mental level, this is what our fear response does for us as well: it warns us that something is off. If we live in a constant state of fear-working against it instead of with it, fear becomes our emotional pain-our depression, our anxiety, our phobias, our digestive issues, our migraines, you name it. All of these symptoms alert us to the fact that something is wrong internally and point to something specific that we need to address-an unresolved trauma that we need to work through, a belief system that is wearing us down or keeping us trapped, a current situation we should no longer participate in, a person we should no longer be involved with.
This face of fear comes to each person in a unique way and manifests through a form that resonates with each person’s life story. To add even further to the list it can be addiction for one person, fear of public speaking for another, unrelenting anger, chronic pain, people-pleasing, compulsive over-eating, self-harm, the list goes on. Usually difficult to manage and hard to comprehend, fear then for some becomes something to be avoided, a face that is “not-me”, a dark shadow never to be truly looked at yet always around. When we do this-when we hide from the face of fear, a face which is in fact our own and one we are presenting to ourselves to be looked at and known on a deeper level, then our lives no longer become the product of our own making. We become Hyde: acting in ways we don’t want to act, being a person we don’t want to be, or more subtly living a life that feels stale and devoid of emotion and satisfaction. We miss out on the clues behind the fear-the messages, the warnings, the intuitions. We are prevented from dismantling fears that are false, that are not our own and in need of clearing. Living from our shadows, we create unconsciously and often destructively-negating, constricting, sabotaging that which is our right to have.
Fear as Creation
If we look at fear instead from a different lens: fear as a life force-a frenetic and seemingly chaotic energy which uses its disturbing force to ask us to transform-then a different picture begins to emerge.
Fear is a life force that disturbs which is why it scares us and evokes sensations that we prefer not to have. As a result, we mistakenly think we shouldn’t have these sensations-that we should hide in our familiar sense of safety, in our ordinary routines, in our ordinary lives. We sense a vague outline of power within us that we mistake for something not quite tangible or accessible, not really ours to use or even worse, not really ours to begin with. Our first impulse, needless to say, is to run from this disturbing force because we are not sure what we are going to see or if we are going to survive.
We must turn this face of fear on its head and redefine it because it is actually encouraging us to do quite the opposite. Our fears, our pain. our experiences, our challenges, our traumas-none of these things are out to hurt us even if what initially caused the pain was something out of our control and hurtful.
These things do not show up to scare us away.
They are here to scare us back: back into ourselves. They are here to scare us into awakening.
Fear and its many manifestations-the depression, the anxiety, the addiction, the anger, the suffering are fragmented pieces of your power waiting to be reintegrated into your being. They are fragmented pieces of your life force speaking to you in the only way it knows how to wake you back up.
So, yes be scared. But please don’t run away.
There is this quote that I refer to over and over again. It is a reminder to myself always and often to those whom I work with. It is by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president. Ten words worthy of digesting:
“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
If we want to create the life we dream of we must tolerate being scared. We must hold our fear instead of polarize it or become it. Our Jekyll’s and Hyde’s and all of our many faces ultimately want to unify in a co-creative, life-giving process.
Next time you are feeling scared or wondering if you are going to survive another round of whatever it is you are battling with, instead of running or shutting down ask yourself instead: What dream of mine is fighting to be recognized? Which goals of mine are dying to be born? What part of me have I ignored that is begging to get through?
About the Author:
Danielle Benvenuto is a writer, healer, and artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. For 15 years she practiced as a psychoanalyst and energy healer in New York City bridging western and eastern forms of treatment. Currently, she offers one hour sessions called Life Readings which help you tune more fully into your passions, goals, and dreams and any potential blocks that might be hindering your self-expression You can find Danielle on Instagram and website: itisyour.life.