Overcoming fear for a better life
Fear is probably the single most damaging, debilitating, detrimental energy we have. It interferes with our well-being in every area of our life. We cannot thrive when we are controlled by fear because fear stresses our immune system and clouds our thinking. Facing fears may feel uncomfortable, but taking action allows the body to release the tension it has built up. Conquering fear could be the saving grace to our mental and physical health.
One of my favorite acronyms for FEAR is, “Face Everything and Rise.” Sadly, for too long I was afraid to face my dystonia (and significant weight gain) so I followed a different acronym for FEAR; “Forget Everything and Run.” This approach didn’t help matters at all. I spent many years deeply depressed and anxiety ridden, and drastically isolated from the world. When I began to face my fears and things I felt self-conscious about, my life began to change for the better.
When the topic of fear comes up, I often think of the movie, We Bought a Zoo, with Matt Damon. Damon’s character, ‘Benjamin Mee’, is having a conversation with his son about fear and courage. It was in the context of how he first met his wife, but it applies to anything in life where we have fear or apprehension. Damon’s character said, “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you, something great will come of it.”
He’s right. Feel the fear, whatever it is, and do it anyway. It will quickly dissipate, allowing us to move forward with confidence. Bravery is not being without fear. Bravery is having fear and walking through it.
A student once asked his yogi master how he maintained such peace of mind and physical well-being. “Oh, my son”, the yogi smiled, “you only see the outside of my life. Inside my mind it is as if two powerful dogs are always waging war with each other.” “Wow,” said the student. “What do the dogs fight about?”
The Yogi answered, “One is always leading me to a better life; good health, strong energy, creativity, wonderful relationships, and constant joy and peace. The other is always leading me away from that wonderful place, to a horrible place that is its opposite. He has only one method, but it is a very powerful one. He leads me to fear. Once I am afraid, I cannot move. I am stuck and I can only spend my energy worrying and being upset, or trying to prevent what I am afraid of. This dog causes me much suffering.”
“Tell me, Master, which dog most often wins?” The yogi sighed, paused, then smiled and replied, “Whichever one I feed.”
Too many of us complicate our lives by feeding the wrong dog, preventing us from living a fulfilling life because we are afraid. Be assertive and push through fear so you live on your terms. If you miss somebody, call; if you want to see somebody, invite; if you want to be understood, explain. If you have questions, ask; if you don’t like something, say it; if you like something, state it. If you want something, ask for it. Live your life no matter what obstacles stand in your way!
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.