Fear and uncertainty can happen at any time. The recent Coronavirus has had a way of shining a bright light on the fears that every human secretly harbors. This type of fear and uncertainty originated from an environmental phenomenon.
But what are the fears that live within us?
To better understand the fears and uncertainties that live within us, I will give you a few examples of both conscious and unconscious categories.
The fears and uncertainties, which we are aware of, are conscious. For example, I know, that if I see a snake, I will always jump back and get a physically uneasy feeling (my body will shiver and tense); even if it is a tiny or harmless garter variety.
Another example. Whenever I have to give a presentation in front of colleagues, who are more knowledgeable than me, I am very conscious of my public speaking/presentation fear. I call it anxiety and I feel it in my stomach to the point that at times, I will want to vomit.
So, what is unconscious fear?
Unconscious fears are fears that are not presently in your conscious awareness. Everyone has unconscious fears. Recently, I have unearthed some of my unconscious fears. And, from this, my new enlightenment, I now know that my unconscious fear and uncertainty (now conscious) was preventing me from living to my full potential to engage in desired activities and adventures.
How did I know this?
A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch reflecting about my life (rebuilding after my house fire) and I came to the realization that I am afraid! There are a lot of things that I want to experience, but I am not because I am afraid.
Here is an example, I like to go hiking and I want to go to new places. I want to venture out and experience the beauty of the region in which I live.
But, I am not. Why?
Well, I realized, as I was having my couch epiphany, that I am always relying on others to go with me to do things that I am interested in. So, if my husband or friends cannot or do not want to join me, I get either angry, upset, or disappointed. And, I have been using their lack of collaboration as my excuse to not venture out.
Rather than being conscious of the fact that I was simply afraid to do some hiking on my own, I would get angry. I would get angry at my husband because (of course) it was his fault that I was not doing what I wanted to do. I would get sad because I did not have a friend that was available to accompany me.
The anger and the sadness were displaced onto others. This displaced was actually covering up my _________________________?
That’s right. This is my unconscious fear. While sitting on the couch, I said to myself, out loud (no one was home), “I am afraid!”
What was amazing, was that my self-revelation was a type of acceptance. I accepted, (out loud) that I am afraid to do (some) things on my own. And that is okay. I know that you cannot change what you cannot accept.
I am afraid of a lot of things. Maybe it is a lack of self-confidence or self-worth. But I am not afraid of everything. I do a lot of things where others remark “I don’t know how you do that” (e.g. extreme skiing, Ph.D. torture;-).
What to do?
What I did about my fear, was nothing but accept it. I accepted that I was afraid to explore new places and venture out on my own. So, I googled ‘hiking trails near me.’ Then, I headed out one morning and I was so proud of myself for doing this beautiful adventure. The fear and apprehension did not, however, go away, but I learned, that acceptance of anxiety (based in fear) is very empowering.
- Accepting that you are afraid
- Speak out loud or write down what you are afraid of (trying new things, change jobs, leaving a bad relationship, going back to school, public speaking, being alone).
- Be specific about your fears and express them without judgment
- Stop blaming and displacing your fears onto others
- Work within the fear rather than trying to avoid it
- Keep growing and learning and enjoying your accomplishments
The Take Home
Accept what you are afraid of. Don’t try to eliminate the fear or uncertainty. AVOIDANCE of emotions never works! Acceptance allows you to control fear and carry on regardless. Avoidance allows your emotions to control you…
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