Fear Is Not Real
One of the most crippling emotions I have ever experienced is fear. It has consumed me almost my entire life in some way or another.
When I was a child I feared vampires, monsters under my bed, my parents getting divorced, and even the fear of being a disappointment to my family.
Once I became an adult, new fears found me: losing my children, my husband or our financial stability.
Fear has been a constant foe in my life.
Even today, as I write this, I find myself battling fear, and as I try to overcome this demon that sits on my shoulder, I am on a quest to discover why it has such a powerful grip on me?
What is fear?
“Fear is an emotional response induced by a perceived threat that someone or something is likely to cause pain or threat.”
We all experience some level of fear in our lives at some time or another.
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of failure
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of dying
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of being abandoned
- Fear of the unknown
The list goes on. But as I dig deep into my core, I find that most fear is based on what has happened to me yesterday, or what might happen tomorrow.
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me; danger is very real but fear is a choice.” ― Will Smith
Breaking Down Our Fear
I read somewhere that our mind is made up of two parts. One part of it is memory; another piece is our imagination.
So, fear ends up being an emotion we experience because we aren’t actively living life; we are living life in our minds.
Fear causes us to build boundaries, restricting us from living life to the fullest. It robs us of seeing or experiencing any beauty that the day may hold.
Fear feeds on fear. Negative memories can trigger feelings in such a way that when you find yourself in a similar situation, you are left paralyzed in darkness.
“The truest darkness is not the absence of light. It is the conviction that the light will never return. But the light always returns……”
Loosening the Grip of Fear
Once we understand what fear is, we then have a powerful tool to use against it.
When I was young, it was my dad, who would check under my bed, and in my closet assuring me that there were no monsters in my room.
Today, it is my husband who reminds me “We are okay today.”
There is a saying that FEAR has two meanings.
“Forget everything and run” or “Face everything and rise.”
The choice is ours.
Fear Is Part of Life
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it” -Victor Hugo.
Being fearful isn’t something to be ashamed of, it is part of life. When we feel afraid, we need to think through the possible outcome of what we are imagining and realize that even if that outcome were to happen, we would find a way to work it out.
We all will experience various degrees of fear in our lives, but if we can learn how to control it, we can lessen its grip on us. Feeling fear is human; conquering fear will empower us to move forward and live in joy.
Turning Fear into Joy
Since fear shows up when we find ourselves living in the past or worrying about the future, what if we replace it with joy instead?
Joy causes us to live in the present. When we shed the past and let go of the future, we are then in the moment projecting more positive thoughts that can show the brightest stars shining in the darkest skies.
An old man said to his grandson, “Boy, I have two lions caged within me. One is love, joy, and compassion. The other is fear, doubt, and anger.”
The young boy asked, “Which one will win, grandpa?”
The old man replied, “The one I feed.“
We are faced with hundreds of choices every day, and each decision can have an impact on not only ourselves but those around us. Joy doesn’t just happen to us; we have to choose it and keep choosing it every day.
“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. ~ Russell Nelson
So, today I choose to feed joy, and I will make that choice tomorrow and the next day until fear no longer has the same hold on me.
What about you? Which caged lion will you feed?