With Fall upon us and Halloween almost a month away it got me thinking about fears. It’s interesting that we actually celebrate a holiday based on playing upon people’s fears. Of course it’s all in fun, but when fears become what we base our decision making upon then it’s not so celebratory. Fear can lead us around through life without us even being very conscious of it. Sometimes it seems as though we were socialized from a young age to be afraid. As our parents had to teach us right and wrong and what is safe and what is not, about how to behave or else….we were shown the way to incorporate fear into our repertoire of emotions. Yes fear has its place, in the face of danger as an age old response from the days of daily living the fight or flight response. But fear does not have to play such a big role in our lives today. It’s worth looking at where fear is causing us to make choices that may not lead us to the path that we want to be on or where it may keep us from doing things we want to.
In our relationships fear can cause us to make decisions that are not born out of love. We become afraid of not getting what we “deserve” out of a relationship or perhaps we fear someone might leave us. We fear “losing” ourselves or our freedom. But what if some of those fears could be turned inside out and actions could be chosen from places of love instead? What if we took the time to outline clear relationship boundaries and define for ourselves who we are and what we want out of life? And what if we recognize that fear only serves to cut us off from loving relationships? Imagine how fulfilling our relationships could be if all parties decided to love fearlessly and recognize what could best be brought to the table, to be giving fully instead of fearing what we may not receive.
We fear bad things happening to our children. I don’t think it’s realistic to think we can ever be totally free of worry about our children. But where has fear led us to make decisions that might stop them from certain experiences? Where have our own fears robbed our children of opportunities to grow and learn and come through crisis a stronger and more expanded person? How would it feel to stop fearing that our children will not turn out exactly how we want them to and to let them live their own life experience through what feels right to them? Letting go of fear in and of itself may be scary as worry can seem to be a means of controlling situations. However, in reality, it’s that fear that stifles growth and development.
Fear of what people might say or think about us can stop us in our tracks. How many times has this type of fear stopped you from speaking what’s on your mind or choosing an action that feels most right for you? Fear can cause us to lose sight of living from our true/authentic selves. This type of fear especially can be carried along from early and middle childhood when the opinions of our peers somehow mattered more than our own. But now in adulthood that fear does not have to rule our lives. We can choose to become more aware of our own agendas and likes and ways we want to live knowing that when we choose things that make us most happy somehow what others think doesn’t quite matter as much. When we learn to love ourselves that fear slips away, leaving us to live the life we were put on this earth to live. One where we make decisions based in love rather than fear. A life where we can be consciously aware of when fear has a hold of us and we can choose to focus on possibility instead. Then we have cause to truly celebrate!