“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
Week Twenty Eight
This week is about developing a fuller understanding of your fears. Types of fear in escalating order include: apprehension, nerves, worry, anxiety, dread, panic, and terror.
It may be that a large step in your vision is terrifying, but a series of much smaller steps, taken individually that will eventually lead to this large step, just make you apprehensive. This knowledge about when jitters are most likely to come up allows you to identify and take the smaller steps that may make you nervous, but not enough to stop you from moving forward. In this way, you will have greater courage in the face of fear.
1) What aspects of your experience make you fearful?
Pay attention to how you feel when you consider your goals and the possible actions steps that are involved in reaching them. When you notice anxiety, make a note of the activities associated with this emotional response.
2) Identify the roots of your anxious response.
Common themes are being accepted, being competent, or being hurt. These will often be linked to a series of worries about being judged, not being good enough, lacking something, being rejected, or failing. They could show up interacting with others, or doing something new, or in public. When you feel blocked by fear ask yourself “What basic fears are fueling this one?”
3) When you have identified where the tension lies, you can examine whether it is well founded and make choices on realistic tolerance and releasing of these fears.
Situations that trigger fear are opportunities for love – in other words, for relationship and connection with others and yourself. Find out who or what you need to connect with and love. How can you nurture yourself through something you fear? Cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude even for things that frighten you. They are often related to your growing edge and by diving in, or gradually immersing yourself, if taking the plunge is too much, you will soon find yourself swimming freely.
4) How will you handle the fears you have identified? Use these tools to develop your plan
a. Identify questions that will bring new perspective by considering what you would ask your very best friend if they had the same specific challenges.
b. What new options for handling your fears are revealed when you ask these questions?
c. Talk to the fear. Constructing a dialogue with your anxieties is a useful approach to discovering what else the tension is communicating.
These questions aids in overcoming anxieties that hold you back. By taking the time to recognize the specific aspects driving your fears you can come up with a targeted action plan and support system. This may involve developing some new skills, finding places to practice under reduced pressure or developing systems for handling your nerves. You may even experience insights into how you are representing yourself. Overall, you will be benefited by not becoming frozen by fear and discovering all the ways in which you are truly courageous.