How Do You Fear?
I’ve taken a common enough question, “How do you feel?” and replaced the last word with fear for a reason.
So often when we’re moving through a turning point in our lives, we get stalled in the process by what seems to be fear. Yet — that’s not accurate for what’s really happening.
Let’s parse the difference between fearful thoughts and true fear.
Essentially, it’s another example of the difference between listening to your Chattermind and listening with your Bodymind.
We all know the pattern. For instance, not taking action in a situation because: something “bad” will happen, the people involved will be upset with me, there will be repercussions that I can’t tolerate, I’ll be shunned, abandoned, replaced in their emotions, they’ll retaliate, I’ll be ridiculed, and so on and so on ……….
Often, we preface our explanations (excuses?) with the phrase: “I’m afraid that” ….. which plays into what I call “trauma talk”: verbalizing a pattern that’s not only inaccurate, but also hampers our growth.
Defaulting to “I’m afraid that ….” reinforces the belief that we’re dealing with true fear. It also allows us to step away from the task at hand—short circuiting any possible upset that we’ve conjured for ourselves.
Fearful thoughts are just that—thoughts. Yes, amped up by all the worries of what might happen or has happened in the past. They are, as a client of mind recently said: “clutter and noise”. Yes —clutter and noise. They are clattering distractions that ultimately have little to do with true fear.
True fear also has its own distinctions.Think of the moments in your life when you’ve encountered true fear— when there’s been imminent danger or a threat to You or yours. There isn’t much to debate, talk about or consider. Words are minimal, if at all.There is a visceral response that takes charge of the situation to support your very survival. You automatically get out of your own way. There is a leanness and immediacy to true fear. It doesn’t need to be explained, examined or dissected in the moment.
This makes the practice of differentiating the two much simpler, when you catch Your Self saying “I’m afraid that…..”:
Recognize the noise and clutter that are fearful thoughts.
Give them some breathing room.
Begin to eliminate “I’m afraid that….” from your vocabulary.
Remember, this is not meant to disregard or even belittle all that you’re feeling in a given moment. It is, however, a practice that can soften the sharp edges around any daunting challenge and allow You to move through it with more ease and even grace.
“I’m afraid that …..” then becomes even more hollow and inaccurate.
Here’s to listening less to your Chattermind and more with your Bodymind.
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