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4 Tips for Dealing With Fear

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. ~Unknown

From the minute I woke up yesterday, I was consumed by fear. The fear had no clear face, and I couldn’t tell what had sparked it or how it might be tamed from a blazing fire to a small flame.

It left me with a gnawing pit in my stomach, which I recognized as guilt and anxiety. Everything from that point forward felt off and out of place.

I couldn’t see that nothing in the present moment was wrong, only that the immediate future was unsure, and I had lost my firm grip on the control I believed I had.

So I attacked.

My boyfriend received the brunt of the clearly irrational outburst and I went straight to the source of the majority of my upsets and the sore spot in our relationship — money.

I’m accustomed to earning and spending from a place of lack, and I’m used to feeling guilt each time I pay for anything — even the essentials.

He, on the other hand, spends freely and believes whole-heartedly in giving gifts, handing out cash to the homeless on street corners and treating himself when he has the money in the bank.

Beliefs Rooted In Fear

I associate his spending habits — as normal and non-problematic as they might actually be — with a complete lack of stability and control. I actually requested that he think about money from my mindset — one rooted in fear that goes against the flow of the universe.

In an attempt to keep the peace, he apologized for not being as “mindful” as I was. Instead of moving on, I kept digging, pushing for some reaction or change in behavior from him that would make me feel better about me and my life.

And then, as I saw him turn inward, clearly hurt by the unnecessary war I had waged against him, I had a real reason for my guilt.

I’m still in the process of wading through my fears, determining why they’re sitting so heavy and why they’ve decided to show up now, but I know that the process is an internal one and I won’t find any relief in attempting to control outside experiences or the people in them.

I started today with a clear intention of working through the baggage — not stepping over it or avoiding it altogether — in order to determine how to reframe the way I have been approaching my life and relationships.

Here is what I’ve discovered so far in recognizing, releasing and reflecting on my fears.

1. External Circumstances Bring Our Fears to Light

When the economic crisis hit my family like a ton of bricks, I used that experience to say “See, I should spend my money with the idea that this is all I’ll ever have.”

I used that experience to validate my stance regarding the flow of money, yet, in reality it was simply the embodiment of a fear I already had inside of me. I had been struggling with this for as long as I could remember, so I can say that this isn’t where it stemmed from.

Things don’t happen to help us form opinions or beliefs. They happen because we already have those opinions or beliefs, and the universe is asking us to pay attention to them and clear out the ones that no longer serve us.

Money “issues” continue to appear for me because I haven’t worked through the junk that created them in the first place.

2. Trying to Control What We Fear Will Increase the Likelihood It Will Happen

The more I concentrate on something — positive or negative — the more energy I’ve put towards its expansion. Worrying about future events or things that I have no control over impedes the positive flow that letting go could help facilitate.

Given the things that all of us would do in the face of fear, it goes without saying that a significant amount of energy goes towards entertaining our fears.

If we spend a great deal of time avoiding what we’re afraid of, we’ve essentially helped to recreate it in our own reality.

I may not always be consciously aware of my thoughts surrounding money, but I know that I think about it enough to continue the cycle of never-ending money issues. For instance, anytime I feel like I’m “getting ahead,” I find myself struggling with another unexpected expense.

I am now acutely aware of the fact that I’ve allowed my fear to keep this struggle at the center of my existence.

3. People Can Point Out Our Irrational Fears if We Are Open

I have always thought that my way of thinking and acting was completely rational and totally normal. I assume that other people think and act the way that I do because I can’t imagine anything different.

The truth is, they don’t. Other people (i.e. my boyfriend) can spend money without being racked by guilt while still falling under the category of “financially responsible.”

If I step out of my comfort zone and open myself up to taking on another way of being, I might begin to sense how irrational my money fears actually are.

My mind tells me I’d feel more comfortable if he acted like me, but the truth is, this only pushes me to be more preoccupied with my fears and attachment to control. I’d be more comfortable if I could let him just be and I could tap in to the abundance that is available to all of us.

4. Sometimes Distraction is the Only Way to Detach

I generally love to face things head on, get to the root of the problem and move on to other things. However, yesterday the fear was so overpowering that thinking about it and attempting to dissolve it in that moment seemed futile.

Then, when I went to work this morning and turned my mind to simple, everyday tasks, I noticed that the fear was smaller and less intense when I returned to it.

If I react to fear while still entrenched in the fear mindset, I won’t see the results that I might if I think about it with a clear and healthy mind.

If paying attention to my fear is only making it grow, it’s best that I take a step back and return at a later time. It certainly isn’t going anywhere on its own — willingly that is.

When it comes to the fears that I have struggled with for years, the breakthrough is yet to happen. It may be a gradual process, or it might come in a single lightening bolt of clarity.

Either way, I am open, aware and ready to allow the universe to fill the hole with something that works to push me forward, not pull me back.

What fears do you struggle with?

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About the author

Kayla Albert is freelance writer intent on living life deliberately. You can follow her at Confessions of a Perfectionist. If there's a writing project you'd like for her to tackle, visit her website at kaylaalbert.com

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3 thoughts on 4 Tips for Dealing With Fear

  1. I have to say my hubby is great at pointing out my irrational fears in a great way that doesn’t make me feel silly fro having them in the first place.
    And as a long time suffered of OCD I tend to have a lot of irrational fears lol

  2. Rob

    “Trying to Control What We Fear Will Increase the Likelihood It Will Happen” I couldn’t agree more!
    Nice post ;)

  3. Sally

    I am struggling with the fear I will never recover from my antidepressant withdrawals and the anxiety symptoms and irrational fears related to that. However I know time is thr healer and am now trying to change my negative attitude to a positive one and stop moaning so much. I see the effect this is having on family and friends and I man diving some of them away. It is a choice to be happy isn’t it?

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