Addicted to fear …? May 2, 2017 – Posted in: Advice, Confidence, Personal Development – Tags: change, confidence, fear, positive thinking, self esteem
As a Confidence Coach, one of my main pieces of work is helping my clients identify when they are listening to fear and how this then manifests in their lives. Fear is a very debilitating condition to live with on a long term basis:
- it causes us to stay in relationships/jobs/situations that no longer feed us,
- it tells us we can’t cope with life,
- it tells us we are not worthy and that everyone else is better than us,
- it tells us that the world is a scary place,
- it tells us we should compete with everyone else for money/sex/people/homes/holidays …,
- it tells us to wear a mask to avoid people knowing who we really are.
I could go on, but the upshot of listening to (and, crucially, believing) that voice of fear is huge anxiety and stress, unexpressed anger, bitterness, control and manipulation, living small and/or a sense that ‘there must be more to life than this’. I used to be very identified with that voice of fear. It ruled my life because I believed everything it said and I responded accordingly. But then I woke up and realised that fear was just a voice in my head and it was telling me a whole heap of lies. Knowing this changed my life and it now changes the lives of my clients.
But – and here’s the rub – I believe we, as a society, are addicted to fear. Just switch on the news or go onto your social media channels and you will find people telling you this is a scary world, or how to be thinner/younger/leaner/richer, or that we are all victims (Injury Lawyers For You, anyone?) and on and on. Fearmongering is EVERYWHERE and we are hooked on it!
The nature of addiction is;
- obsessive thinking,
- seeking more of the same substance, and
- avoidance of current feelings.
Let’s look at fear in light of this …
If we are caught up in the fear-habit we will even spend time looking for something to worry about in order to feel ‘normal’. I know people who don’t feel right if they’re not worrying about something – they truly believe that their act of worrying is preventing the imagined bad thing from happening. They become obsessed with the worry-du-jour.
Fear is addictive because it causes us to live in a state of constant over-production of adrenaline, which, like any chemical, can be habit forming.
When we are afraid we are usually in the future (in our heads) and therefore we are not present. Fear is addictive in that it stops us being in the moment and experiencing life as it currently is. We use fear as a distraction from the truth, which is that now is all we have. And, guess what? In the moment fear cannot exist because it’s not real. It’s not happening now – it’s an imagined scenario in our addled heads.
This is a big concept to get your head around, but hear me out … When you stop and breathe deeply, and simply live in the ‘now’ you will find that you are not afraid. Even if you are in pain or heartbroken or facing financial ruin, right NOW you are okay. You might not like what’s happening, but you are okay. Your fear is all about what might happen in the future and that’s what I mean about it not being real. It isn’t happening now. Right now you are so okay you have time and energy to waste worrying!
Breaking the addictive fear habit is a lifelong piece of work (I teach you how I do it in my book Flying for Beginners) but noticing that voice of fear and how hooked you are on it is the first step …
Fear tells lies about an imagined future. Love tells the truth about the moment you are in. You choose (moment by moment) which one to listen to.