We all fear things; fear is one of our most basic emotions and it fuels our paths through life, whether or not we decide to use it to our advantage. But we are often afraid (puns come free with this post) to admit the things we are afraid of. Many of us try to perform activities that conquer our fears, or take us out of our comfort zones. Yet half the time I feel I am afraid of so much, from the mammoth to the minute, that I don't know how to go about conquering anything. We are told to "face" our fears, but how do we take this metaphorical advice and turn it into something tangible, something we can hold in our hands?
Make a list, of course!
So I did, and the results were enlightening to say the least. I suggest you try this exercise: either type or handwrite (whichever you feel more comfortable with), stream-of-consciousness style and without stopping for 5 minutes, a list of anything that you are afraid of...anything! I started my list with the phrase, "I am afraid of," and went down the page from there. See what you come up with; you may arrive at some interesting conclusions. I won't share with you my whole list, since some of it is intensely private - and that's the point of making the list - but I will feature a few items that I found to be of interest to demonstrate the variety of fears my brain conjured up with only a bit of coaxing:
I am afraid of:
- My dog chasing a squirrel into a busy road
- Global warming
- Not helping other people enough
- Worrying too much
- Being too much like myself (??)
Can you relate to any of these? I have found, since compiling my fears into somewhat of a tally, that I can now try to connect the dots and see which fears directly affect the others and so forth. I hope to be able to make some concrete observations about how I react to forces that influence my every-day life, then make a plan of action to work toward either letting some fears go, or using them to my advantage. I also suggest adding to the list whenever something pops into your head. Or try the exercise from time to time and see how your fears change or disappear.
Please feel free to share any of your findings if you try this exercise. I'll be interested to see if anyone else benefits from it as I have. Don't be scared, give it a try!
(Aren't free puns great?)