Fear is a really strange animal.
I’ve seen two faces of fear, so far, in my life.
A deafening, all-encompassing roar that crashes into my life and forces to me to make some quick two-steps either out of the way or into the fire
A sneaky, translucent wisp, creeping in through my nostrils, settling into my lungs, and submerging itself so deeply into my bloodstream, into my DNA, that I never even knew she was here.
I can handle fear so much better when she destroys my life in front of my eyes, but that sneaky little devil trick is a doozy.
Conversations I’ve been having lately have made me aware that she has made a nest of my mind and fully embedded herself into the way that I perceive the world and people. It’s an odd thing to be almost 30 and to have only just begun to realize that they way you were is not the way you have been ( I say this and then realize that most others never become aware of how they operate). I’d thought myself as fearless for a long time, but it seems that isn’t true at all. I’m pretty fearful in here, where it’s quiet.
As we grow and experience the world, life and relationships, we develop triggers – actions or words that we associate with a particular feeling or reaction. Positive triggers generally make us feel safe and loved. Negative triggers bolster the feelings of anger or fear.
If I perceive any of my many negative triggers to be true, then I will fear being alone, being abandoned. And like any other good pack animal, I only feel comfortable as part of a group. How do I act when any this fear takes over me? I become sullen, sad, despondent, stressed, withdrawn, inconsolable. And I don’t feel that I’m alone in this particular reaction. We see this time and again with anyone who has lost a friend, a group of friends, a lover, or a family member.
But also, I have a fear of being a dependent. I fear needing people, requiring their help, or taking help when offered. I fear owing anyone anything, or that anyone will be able to discount my contributions as not my own because of something someone did for me (which routes its way back to a trigger).
My fear system keeps people on the fence-line, some gray area of both needing to be part of a social system and an unrelenting inability to trust that anyone who comes past that fence has my best interest at heart.
So knowing that my primary operation mode is fear, how do I go about changing this so I can stop sabotaging myself? How do I move from fear to love?
I’m still figuring that part out. But it’s good to have a starting place.