Fear is such an interesting thing. It is so real for some people and not so much for others. I feel a lot of fears come from our discomfort with the unknown. Fear holds us back from experiencing true happiness without constraints. It’s like a blindfold that hides the truth, keeping us separated from what we want. It hides our potential and keeps us from attaining the life that we want.
There are many ways to confront fear but I think that courage and objectivity are powerful tools. Courage is a confidence that helps us to work to confront something causes us fear. We develop it by learning to trust ourselves – it’s like protecting ourselves with our own self-knowledge. Objectivity is being able to look within and to see ourselves with clarity and without judgement, observing with unconditional understanding. When we have to have the courage, confidence and self-knowledge to realize our own strength, we conquer our fears and overcome them so that we are not controlled by them.
When I was a child I thought that there was something in the closet or under the bed that was going to get me at night and I was really afraid. But when my parents turned on the lights, I looked under the bed and in the closet and saw that there was nothing there then the fear went away. Sometimes we need someone else to pull away the curtain of fear so that we can see clearly. Experiencing the things that we think we are afraid of often remove the sense of fear.
In teaching yoga, students often tell me that they don’t do or can’t do certain poses which usually comes from a fear-based point of view. These are usually the poses that present the most challenge in terms of strength, flexibility or they’ve never done them. If we are dealing with an injury then that is a whole other discussion. BUT, if the student is willing to try with the support of the teacher then, more times than not, the fear of the pose is lifted and then the student can move forward in the practice with confidence. The pose may be accessible but the fear of what they think might happen when they do it becomes the fear. Being afraid of fears allows them to control us even more, keeping us constrained and keeping us from living a happy, fulfilled life.
In my own life I approach some situations with caution or trepidation but I don’t know let fear enter into the picture and for that I am very thankful. There is an old Spanish proverb that I heard for the first time in the movie Strictly Ballroom and it says, “A life lived in fear is like a life half-lived”. Who wants to half-live their life? I don’t!