It seems that I have come into this life to immerse myself in fear. To know it intimately. And I suspect, at some point, to overcome it in order to enact my innate self-love and recover my health. My childhood years were characterized by a culture of fear. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I was scared all the time. What scared me most, was that people would find out just how scared I was, because I put on a brave front.
Although this is all behind me now and I understand the purpose of my experience, I would love to have had the conversation below with my father while I was growing up. This dialogue is meant to be a script to help me retrain my mind and remap my brain in order to let go of fear. I hope you find it helpful and I urge you to keep reading it everyday, as I will be. I expect that I will be updating it as I receive new ideas. I wish you fearlessness and good health!
How are you this morning, Fred?
I’m scared, dad!
What are you scared of?
Going out to play!
Why does that scare you?
I’m afraid of getting beat up by Tommy?
Cause every day he beats kids up!
Has he beat you up before?
No, but he said he’s gonna!
I can understand why you’re scared, Fred! But there is a way to look at this so you won’t feel so afraid.
What’s that, dad?
To begin, what is fear?
The way you feel.
That’s right, it’s a feeling. Just like happiness is a feeling! But where happiness is meant to help us feel good, fear is meant to warn us of danger.
So feeling fear is sort of good.
It can be when it keeps us out of trouble. Fear becomes detrimental when we hold on to it or when we experience it when we’re not in danger. So, what causes us to feel scared when we’re not in danger?
What we’re thinking.
Yes, our thoughts! So the first thing you can do to feel fearless is change your thoughts.
I tried thinking about other things, but my mind keeps thinking about getting beat up.
I know it can be hard, but keep practicing. You have a very powerful mind and once you train it to think positive thoughts, it will be awesome!
I will do it, dad!
Great! Now, the second thing you can do, Fred, is bring your attention into the present moment.
How do I do that?
It’s simple actually. Just focus on your breath or look around and observe things without thinking about them or naming them.
How does this help?
Remember what causes us to feel fear?
Yes, worrying about bad stuff happening.
Bad stuff happening in the future!
I get it! When I focus on my breath I’m not thinking about the bad stuff happening.
Awesome! I will practice it!
Fantastic! You can do it, Fred!
What else causes us to feel fear, dad?
Eckhart Tolle, who is a really wise person and the author of two really good books, calls it ‘identification with form’. This means three things. First, it means taking any situation and thinking it is a problem, or worse still, thinking something bad is going to happen and we’re not going to be okay. Second, it means we think we’re going to lose something, like losing our life, our money, our job, a relationship, respect and so on. Third, it means we think bad thoughts about ourselves, and worse still, we believe them to be true. Like when we believe we are a bad person, or we believe we are a failure, or we believe we are a coward and so on.
How do I think differently about these things?
Let’s start with the first one, thinking a situation is a problem.
Like my situation with Tommy.
Yes! You think Tommy is going to beat you up because he beats up other kids and he said he was going to beat you up. There are two ways to look at this situation. The first way, is to think it is really bad! “I’m going to get beat up. I’m going to get hurt and I’m going to cry. People will laugh at me. I will be embarrassed.” Can you see why you would be scared?
I sure can!
But if instead you thought, “Tommy says he is going to beat me up, but he’s not beating me up right now, so I’m okay…at this moment. But I need to be prepared in case he does try to beat me up. I need to have a plan. Maybe I’ll run. Maybe I’ll hit him first. Maybe I’ll face my fear and stand up to him and tell I’m not scared of him, even if he does beat me up. Perhaps I could take up karate and learn how to defend myself.” Can you see how this would be empowering and not so scary?
I sure can!
Now, let’s examine the second point. We are afraid of losing something. What would you be afraid of losing in this case?
Maybe I would be afraid of losing respect because people would laugh at me.
Indeed, that would be very scary, to think people would laugh at you. Embarrassment is not fun!
It sure isn’t!
But what if instead you thought, “I can’t be 100% certain that people will laugh at me and even if they do, I can choose to ignore them and remind myself that what other people say and do doesn’t have to affect me if I don’t let it.” How would that make you feel?
I would feel awesome because I would know I have a choice! I don’t have to feel scared!
Now let’s examine the third point: we believe something bad about ourselves. What might you believe about yourself that would cause you to feel afraid?
That I am a coward and I am ashamed of myself!
I can certainly see why this would scare you and make you feel that way. Believing you are coward could be humiliating!
It sure would be!
But what if instead you thought, “It’s okay to feel scared. It’s perfectly natural. But I have a choice. I can choose to stand up for myself. I can choose to be compassionate towards myself. I can choose to be accepting of myself.” How would this make you feel?
I would feel good, because I would know that it was up to me to choose how I want to feel.
So, what do all these things have in common, Fred?
They are caused by our thoughts.
Yes! And these thoughts are the result of what we were taught growing up. So if we want to live fearlessly, we need to teach ourselves new thoughts. We need to start all over again.
What can I teach myself?
First, as we already discussed, you can teach yourself to live in the present moment, without thought.
Second, you can teach yourself that there really is no such thing as a problem. What we think is a problem, is really just a situation that we need to deal with in the moment that it arises. In the meantime, we need to focus our attention on planning to deal with it effectively in the event that it does happen.
Third, we need to remind ourselves that for every situation we face, there is always, always a solution. We just need to figure it out!
Fourth, we can ask ourselves, can I say with 100% certainty that what I’m afraid of is going to happen [the answer of course, is no] and if it did happen, would I be okay? Could I go on living? [I would certainly do my best] We can never say anything will happen with 100% certainty because there is always the possibility that it won’t, but we can say with 100% certainty that we will do our best to deal with it and that we will always go on living.
Fifth, we can trust that whatever we are experiencing is part of our life journey, and no matter what happens, as long as we have the ability to make a choice, we will always, always be okay!
Sixth, we need to teach ourselves that life is just one big adventure and challenging situations are part of the adventure!
Seventh, we need to know that fear is just an experience. It is just a part of life, like everything else! It really is as simple as that!
Eighth, we need to know that fear has a purpose, and that is to guide us to self love. It is hard to feel good about yourself when you’re scared all the time. This motivates us to find a way to live fearlessly, and when we live fearlessly, we feel good about ourselves! We love ourselves!
Ninth, we come from the same energy that Jesus did and we can live fearlessly just like he did. The power that was in Jesus is in us!
Tenth, you can remind yourself [and this you can be certain of] that you came into this life to experience fear, to immerse yourself in it in order to truly understand it, perhaps to help others overcome it, because we are not meant to live in fear. We’re meant to live in love and compassion!
That’s an awesome way to look at it, dad! Do you think I will ever stop feeling fear?
No, there will always be situations that will cause you to feel fear. Remember, fear is meant to warn us of danger. It is meant to keep us safe! The challenge is not to hold onto it, judge it as bad or personalize it by thinking there is something wrong with us. We need to let it go!
And if you really want to get good at mastering and letting go of fear, just remember that we’re not just human beings. Rather, we are divine spiritual beings having a human experience. As a divine spiritual being, we can be the witness to the thought that causes us to feel fear, so that we don’t attach to it or hold onto it. We can be God’s eyes! We can be the conscious observer of the feeling with conscious awareness that the feeling is being created by a thought, and fear, like happiness, is just part of the experience. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is!
I understand that! Something I don’t understand, though, is why I always feel so angry. Can you help me understand it?
Yes! We feel angry for two reasons. First, being afraid all the time can cause us to feel like a coward which causes us to feel angry with ourselves. Second, feeling afraid is a really unpleasant feeling. It makes us feel powerless. Whereas, anger makes us feel powerful [it’s a false sense of power] which is a much better feeling.
I understand that! I will stop feeling angry when I let go of fear.
Oh! One last thing! When the experience you are having that is causing you to feel fear is over, throw your hands up in the air, smile and yell, HALLELUJAH! This will help you let go!
I can definitely do that! Thank you, dad!
You are welcome, Fred! Have an awesomely fearless day!