Recently, I had a dream. Perhaps you could even label it a nightmare.
I felt FEAR in that dream.
Do you know the feeling of raw fear? Maybe you’ve had a threat to your physical body and felt the reaction of fear, the raw need to escape danger.
It’s a very real sensation.
This dream reminded me of the bodily feeling of fear, a feeling I have not experienced in waking life for several years (fortunately!).
That dream was a gift to me.
In coaching and in coaching circles – anything self-help, really – it’s quite vogue to talk about “fear of…”
“Fear of…” failure – or success! “Fear of…” being seen or rejected, of being alone or having our independence taken away.
“Fear of… too much or not enough.
So much talk about fear.
And I think it’s a term that’s inaccurate.
And it’s a poor term to describe what I believe is the core issue.
I work with a coach mentor and was working through the discontent that I had with this free-wheeling use of the term “fear” when my dream reminded me what true fear is – a strong bodily sense of Need To Escape. To preserve.
I have started to substitute the word “fear” in my everyday life.
And, when it’s appropriate, I offer this to my clients.
I believe the common modern use of fear is actually an unwillingness.
Fear of…is often a phrase that obscures a deeper thought:
“I am unwilling to…”
Fear of not having enough money is “I am uncomfortable with what might happen to me and mine if we had to change our lifestyle.”
Fear of too much work is “I am unwilling to draw boundaries because I am unwilling to invite negative consequences from the boss.”
Fear of rejection is “I am unwilling to face discomfort that someone else will not accept me, and I don’t trust myself to support myself while I face that emotion.”
Fear of being alone is “I am uncertain what life would be like when I have to spend more time in my own company.”
The use of “fear” in our culture usually points to:
- Uncertainty with what the future holds
- Discomfort with how we would support ourselves if a significant change arrived quickly
- Unwillingness to step boldly into uncertainty and discomfort with courage
What if you believed in the core of every cell of your body that you would do your best to take care of yourself and the people you care about most no matter what?
What if you trusted yourself to face every event and circumstance, being willing to be bold enough to decide your next action in the moment?
This is the ultimate in self-trust.
The world is full of uncertainty and discomfort. When you add the pursuit of your dreams, well, those things become amplified.
Reflect on this in the coming weeks.
Observe how often you and those around you use the term “fear” when they mean something else.
My dream reminded me that I choose to see FEAR as a physical response to deadly threat.
I have decided to face my everyday decisions with courage, vulnerability, boldness and decisiveness.
When I tell my friends that I have become free from fear…
…That’s exactly what I mean.
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