Sometimes I become fearful of the smallest things…returning a phone call…sending an overdue email…telling someone no. What is that about? How can something so small elicit so much fear?
My son and I were talking, several days ago, in the car. ( I never knew how powerful a car ride could be until he became a teenager.)
“Is it true that the only two emotions we really ever feel are fear and love?”
I have talked of this frequently in my work…that we either view the world through a love-centered “filter” or through a fear-burdened “filter.”
“Well,” I responded. We do feel a variety of emotions, but I do agree with you, that at the base of all emotions, lies either fear or love…the fear is often rooted in the fear of not being loved or accepted.”
I wonder if sometimes rooted beneath some of that fear is also a fear of being judged as inadequate.
Years ago (nearly 20!), only months before I “woke up” to my alcoholism, I was nearly paralyzed by fear. Fear to pick up the phone because it was…in most instances either a bill collector or some (former) friend to whom I had given my word on something, but then not followed-through.
Interestingly there was no fear of being injured physically. No bear, alligator or armed bandit was waiting to break through the door when I answered the phone. Nope…it was just Ms. Jackson calling from Capital One Bank wondering when I might be able to make a payment on my credit card.
It was remarkable how great a fear such as this could be felt for what appeared to be such seemingly non-dangerous events. Ironically it was eventually the fear and anxiety of such simple things that led to my “coming to, waking up, epiphany-run” on a late-day summer run in July of 1993.
There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that you’ve probably heard before. “Do the one thing everyday that scares you.” When I first heard this quote, I thought that the stuff had to be BIG in order for it to be truly scary–training for a marathon, trying an Ironman, hurling down a mountain on my bike, skydiving, or standing on a cliff’s edge.
But now as I get older and comfortable in my skin, I realize that what I believe Ms. Roosevelt suggests in this quote, is to do one thing each day that challenges us to lose our fear of not being loved…to do the one thing that holds us back from the understanding, belief and knowledge, that we are wonderful, adequate and loved even though we may have to say the no, admit we are behind in our bills or confront a friend.
Maybe its through working through the small stuff, where we feel our own worth, develop strength and a relationship of love with ourself and our Higher Power.
What small actions elicit a fear response in you? What does this say about a potential area of growth for you? How have you overcome your fears? Let’s talk about it.