Responses arising from fear cannot be rational.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. 2020 has been a year of change, from many of our perspectives, an overdose of unanticipated change. Many of us react to unwanted change negatively and emotionally, ranging from mild apprehension to flat out resistance. It scares us and sets off a fight or flight response inside us. Once this biochemical reaction is engaged, our impulses are no longer largely reasoned. They are, at least in part, visceral and or emotional, learned based on what we (often subconsciously) feel were similar circumstances in the past.
Sometimes this type instinctive response is protective and useful, for example when we unthinkingly dodge to avoid an object rapidly coming our way. Other times it is simply habitual, as when a previously abused dog flinches at any human touch. How do we then sort out when our fear response are or aren’t useful or helpful? The key is in awareness.
Today’s message reminds me to pay attention to my feelings of fear and how they express. When I react physically and unthinkingly out of fear, I can review my response to determine if it was helpful and appropriate in the moment. If not, I can do internal work around the emotional trigger to moderate future behavior. When the fear presents as mental apprehension or resistance, I can examine my associated beliefs and thoughts to evaluate whether they support the life and actions I would consciously choose for myself. Observing my words can help me identify these opportunities. Key phrases to watch for are: I fear that, I am afraid that, I am scared that, I am frightened that, I am worried that, I am concerned that. Listening to myself express can clarify how often fear drives my responses. I can make fear my ally and choose to use it only when appropriate.
How about you? How do you relate to fear?