False Evidence Appearing Real. That’s the acronym someone once told me when I said I was scared of something. Needless to say, it didn’t help me. What my fear was, was very real, tangible, and understandable. There was nothing false about it.
Each of us will experience fear in life. Yes, there are times when the fear will be intensified by our imaginations, and we need to be mindful of when our own brains are manufacturing fear to hold us back. Times such as these are often our way of side-stepping our own power. Fear becomes something that paralyzes us and keeps us from moving forward. The nature of this aspect of fear is to thwart change and positive and necessary transformation.
Kimm recently came across an acronym that really gets to the heart of fear. Face it. Explore it. Accept it. Respond. A much healthier way to cope with fear is to look it in the eye, ask it questions (like why it is there and are there other emotions at play), embrace the fear as a part of who you are at the moment, and then act.
Fear can be both rational and irrational. But in either case it feels the same. Captain Hook had every reason to fear clocks as the crocodile had swallowed one and was after his other hand. Each time Hook heard ticking his fear level rose exponentially. A lot of people have a fear of flying and that isn’t completely irrational. Planes crash, after 9/11 people were worried about terrorism – all totally rational.
Irrational fears are often ones that crop up when you have certain triggers all through your life, and you have a knee jerk response to the triggers without thinking it through. Fear is not something to avoid in these cases. It is an emotion that asks you to step up your game, to believe more in your abilities, to try the untried. In this way, fear can fuel your creative energies, and give you the impetus you need to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and just do it!
Once the fear has been identified and you know why it is there, find ways to move through it. The simple answer is baby steps. Stop projecting your thoughts way ahead into the future. If you are going back to school after 20 years, just take it one class at a time. If you are starting a new job, stop worrying about whether or not your boss will like you. Just learn the tasks at hand and tackle one thing at a time. Be in the present! If you work on understanding what needs to be done now and focus your energies on that, you will accomplish much more well.