People say things like, “Oh, but I’m not afraid.”
I don’t believe it.
Everyone is afraid, somewhere. People just don’t always claim it. I dare you to read the entirety of this list, with a keen eye for recognizing yourself:
Fear will show up as:
resistance, low grade anxiety, forgetting, not “feeling like it,” skipping out on e-courses/meetings/calls/group get-togethers that you committed to, not doing what you said you would do, procrastination, self-sabotage, creating drama, running “mental drama” in your head, replaying old situations and getting triggered, imagining future scenarios and planning a defense, persistent anxiety, giddiness, detachment, numbing out, abuse of substances or people or self, high-risk behaviors (oddly enough, it’s the amplification of fear in an attempt to wipe out fear), cheating on partners, dragging your heels, refusing to make a choice and pretending as if that is not a choice, rationalizing (“I’ll do it next year”), justifying (“Now’s just not the right time”), buying more books that you don’t read or finish or actually utilize, creating obstacles such as more debt or being over-committed, lying, fibbing, manipulating the facts, trying to be right at all costs, making it someone else’s fault, rigid fundamentalism, hating the “other,” arrogance, all of the -isms, condescension, taking fixed positions on issues, accumulation of stuff, dogma, attachment to a label or over-identification with a group, rage, sadness, depression, avoidance, shame, running Stories without checking them out, holding grudges and resentments, taking care of everyone but yourself, using caring for others as an excuse not to do the things you’ve committed to, shaming, blaming, taking no position whatsoever and going through life as an amorphous blob shaped by others with no personal identity…
No, this is not a complete list.
Yes, I do some of these things. I’m not pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, just to be an asshole.
I’m hoping that you’ll laugh with me a bit, at the utter folly and madness that so many of us go through around pretending we aren’t afraid, that fear doesn’t touch us, and that with enough meditation and the right yoga pants, we will never again be afraid.
I’d love it if the world would ditch “living without fear” or “becoming fearless” as goals worthy of our time.
I’m hoping that what I share here will light a fire under our butts and get us to stop wasting time.
When you aren’t caught up in the hustle to avoid your fear, you get to do something more powerful, more effective, and more enlivening: figuring out how uniquely need to practice courage, instead.
But before you get to that, just start, here: no longer, ever again, denying that you are afraid of giving someone a calm, pitying, Zen-like gaze as you tell them, “There is nothing to fear, my child; fear is but an illusion.” (Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you).
Everyone who takes a risk, emotional or otherwise, experiences fear. Don’t be in denial.