Why You Can't Face Your Fears
Fear might be a biological necessity, but it needn’t be a psychological one. In the service of your body, its purpose is to protect it and to shield it from hazards. But most fears you experience have nothing to do with your body.
You will prevent yourself to talk to a stranger. You will forgo on the opportunity to make a new friend, forge a new bond. You will be scared to do so.
Most people like to say that they are not scared. The fashionable euphemism is: “I can’t be bothered.” They will think that the will to comfort is a natural instinct. Yes, it is. But it’s the wrong instinct. Be suspicious of comfort. Comfort is the flip side of fear.
Don’t worry about the big fears. It’s the small fears that will eat you up. It’s the small fears that matter, because you will be incapable to shine light on them. They will control you with soft and subtle nudges. To the left, to stay away from the right. To the right, to avoid the left.
It’s said that humans are more motivated to move into action to prevent loss than to seek gain. Even if the loss is only half of the gain. We like to protect what we have at the cost of what we can have. And we believe that what we think we have is the only thing we have, just because we are unaware of everything that’s freely offered, wide open to our requests.
You might be afraid to pursue your dreams, or to execute on that crazy plan that scares you so much it makes your whole body tingle. But I’d like to draw your attention to a massive misconception. You’ve wrongly cast the net of fear.
Most people I work with will have a flawed relationship with what they call fear. At some point in their youth they will have generalized fear to include excitement. Fear, without interpretation, is not fear. It is energy. Energy you can either direct into your legs to run, your shoulders to fight, or your brain to think. When your body tenses up, your brain tenses up.
The fear mechanism is three fold, and the fear you experience is two steps removed from its substance. The object of fear is danger, and the object of danger is the catastrophe. Fear merely tells us that we are two blocks away from a car accident. That’s why many people naturally freeze. But the mental pictures formed remain.
Are you afraid of the sensation of fear? This sensation is but alertness and energy. How much do people spend on coffee for energy? You didn’t spend a penny for this one. Keep it it’s yours. A gift from your body, a surge of presence. A shot of matcha espresso. Let it diminish you, that is passive. Use it with purpose, that’s self-mastery.
Are you afraid of the pictures fear throws at you? Then you are afraid of the danger. This is more constructive. Never face your fears, if ever, face your dangers. If you are still afraid of fear, you will be unable to deal with its substance. That’s where the abilities of your mind have the edge. It allows you to use the mobilized energy to analyze the situation and play with the variables. A rush of clarity. And still, danger is but one step removed from the catastrophe.
When you truly dive into your idea of the catastrophe, you might discover that it isn’t threatening your body. It isn't threatening your life. It isn't even even threatening you. It is threatening something else entirely.
Your ego is your imagined self. It’s who you think you are by composing something from your recollections of the past. It’s not who you are now. It’s never who you can be. You can look at a lake. An enormous lake, and you might see a plastic carrier bag swimming in it. You are the body of water in the lake, your ego is the body of water in the plastic bag. It’s in your best interest not to allow it to stale, it’s in your ego’s best interest to enforce it.
You will most likely be among the majority of people who identify with the water in the plastic bag. You will most likely project the vastness of the lake onto the world, into your dreams, and your disembodied excellence. What if you were, in any instance of imagination, the bigger and more powerful one?
Your ego is cunning. It will make you believe it is you, rather than just a circumscribed constellation of all that you are. And you will fight for its cause, as if it were yours. You will feel what it feels, you will desire what it desires, you will fear what it fears. You will fear the lake. Your ego doesn’t care about you, your ego cares about itself. And your fears don’t protect you, they protect your ego. They protect its dissolution into the vastness of the lake.
You don’t want to live your life inside a plastic bag, sealed off not only from the world but the totality of your self. You don’t want to live as a fragment scared of its whole. A fragment in pursuit of a security only defragmentation can provide. And it’s the intention to pre-empt that creates what you tried to prevent.
Where is your body? Where are you? When fear is out where you are found, but not where you are rooted, is it your fear at all? Keep your edges, keep your spunk, and be suspicious of the comfort inside the plastic bag.