Living fearlessly is not about living without fear. Not only would that be impossible because Fear is built into these
human-monkey-suits we wear, but also because Fear is what keeps us wary of danger to that very human-suit which we still need to move through the physical world. The fear that helps us preserve our physical body, is our friend.
But, that fear, the fear that looks to keep us out of harm’s way, isn’t the only fear we experience, is it?
The other fear uses the same “alarm system“, with the same resulting reactions; fight, flight, or freeze but isn’t concerned about protecting our physical body, but about protecting our identity.
And this is where it gets tricky; this other fear can feel as powerful, and trigger just as powerful reactions in the body, as the fear that is designed to keep our body alive and well.
But the other fear is protecting the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and habits that you think is you, in essence it is protecting the ego-identity-concept. A very real world example would be fighting to protect an item; a book, a flag, a monument. No one needs those to physically survive but someone may feel like fighting to protect one of those things is as important as life itself. Why? Because that person is fighting to protect his/her/their identity.
So what does this have to do with self development? True self development begins with emptying out what doesn’t truly serve so that you may consciously choose who and what you want to be. And installing those new choices can feel just as emotionally and even physically frightening as taking a huge physical risk; jumping out of a plane, for instance. And that other fear may fight just as hard (or run away just as fast) to keep that process (letting go of what no longer serves) at bay…and keeping you right where you already are.
When clients come to me and say “I just don’t want to feel this fear anymore”, I sympathize. And the first thing to do is see which fear is being referred to; is it a real threat to the body, or a threat to one’s self-perception?
If you guessed self-perception, then well done. Would I be correct in guessing you’ve had experience with the other fear (the fear of deliberate change) in your own life?
Me too. That’s what my Living Fearlessly Mastermind is all about; not conquering fear as in “you’ll never feel fear again”, but building the muscles of Confidence, Capability, and Creativity to use effectively when either “real fear” (a physical threat) or the other fear (feels “real” but is really about protecting your identity, your status quo, the “old” you) rises up and pushes the “button” to fight, flee, or freeze.
I don’t want you getting derailed from reaching your goals because the other fear psyches you out, and tells you something is wrong and you have to resist, turn away, or stop.
I’m going to be devoting a corner of my weekly newsletter to tips to help you, too, build your own courage and resiliency muscles in the face of your fears, either “real” (physical danger) or the other fear (threat to your identity) so stay tuned and sign up here if you want to engage in this most worthy conversation.