If you struggle with fear, that fear is a part of you- to reject it is to reject a part of your own experience and being. I think many of us are taught though to not feel our fear- we must either avoid it or resolve it immediately. Both approaches are damaging.
Let’s compare fear to grief or sadness for a moment. Interestingly, if you are expressing sadness, most people won’t tell you “oh don’t be sad, it is no big deal!” Often, in one way or another, they will encourage you to feel what you are feeling, and offer their presence and support. However the same is not true with fear, it is not at all uncommon to feel afraid and hear from another person “Don’t be scared”, “don’t worry”, or something similar. What if we need the same response to our fear as we need to grief?
Here’s how to start embracing fear:
Be afraid. Sounds simple! I know it is uncomfortable. Who likes to be freaked out, right? Recognize fear for what it is-an emotion. Let it be there, notice the effect it has, pay attention whether it has something legitimate to say. Allow the fear to say its piece.
Release the need to control your fear. Often when we get anxious or afraid, we hurriedly try to resolve whatever is scaring us. If it is dark and we are getting spooked, we immediately turn on the light. The second step in embracing your fear- don’t turn on the light. Let go. Let go of the need to do something.
Affirm the ways the fear is on your side. It is giving you a message, acknowledge receipt of the message, offer gratitude, and move on.
Don’t fight your fear- embrace it!