Humans along with all animals on the planet are hard-wired to respond to threats by freezing, fleeing or fighting. It is part of our natural survival behaviours. Sometimes fear is useful to us when we find ourselves in dangerous situations and these automatic behaviours just kick in. Sometimes they are a hindrance when our fears are deemed irrational, like fear of a dark closet or of leaving our house when there is no reason not to.
What we are afraid of can be highly personal depending on our life experiences. It can also be influenced by the fear of others. Presently there is a tonne of information flowing out there and it is difficult to be sure of what to believe and what to take seriously. We may have our internal red flags and sirens going off with no reassurance of what to attend to. Being a person who has come out of a religious organization that based their whole teaching on fear, I know how challenging it is right now to get a foothold on what to do. The temptation is to freeze and be immobilized.
What is fear? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “the bad feeling that you have when you are in danger or when a particular thing frightens you”
To keep fear from overwhelming me in a situation I think back to the Litany of Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune:
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Throughout history, fear has been used to control or incapacitate a population. We have seen that in wars, religions and relationships. Fears become incapacitating in times of panic whether it is orchestrated or a natural response to a given situation. To no longer be controlled by fear we need to find ways to let is pass over, around and even through us.
So how do we flip this coin and have an appropriate level of caution yet keep our rational minds and humanity?
Be kind to yourself. Be considerate of others. We are globally in this together and together we can get through this. When we let fear bypass us we keep our heads and manage what really matters.
If you need someone to help you through this time please feel free to connect with me for an Additional Support Session.