"There are four ways you can handle fear. You can go over it, under it, or around it. But if you are ever to put fear behind you, you must walk straight through it. Once you put fear behind you. Leave it there" -Donna Favors
As I previously stated last Friday, I'm going to continue working on my "emotions series" and write each Friday about a particular emotion that best sums up my week.
As I reflect on this past week, fear is the first feeling that comes to mind. Each day brought a new opportunity to either face my fears or run from them. I'm still in a state of shock that I shared my deepest secrets with all of you and continue to fear being thought of as less of a person. My first big exam of the semester was also this week, which brought a sense of panic caused by past fears and memories of being a poor test taker.
After doing a little reading on fear, I found there are three different types:
External fears are the easiest for me to understand. They come from something outside of ourselves. Examples are fear of spiders or snakes; these fears are easily diagnosed and managed. Simply facing these fears head on can be a good way to overcome them.
This type of fear is typically triggered by a past negative experience and is associated with low self esteem or confidence. The trigger can provoke negative internal reactions, like questioning your own abilities or self doubt. Most of these fears come from childhood experiences and can often be difficult to reverse.
Produced by accepted fears in the mind that limit potential or even cause self sabotage are subconscious fears. These fears are similar to internal fears, but they become so ingrained that we often don't realize this is what we are feeling. The process of reversing these fears can often be extensive.
Hmm... internal and subconscious fears are associated with self doubt; this sounds way too familiar. The fears we chose to run away from, rather than face, are always the ones that could potentially create uncomfortable feelings.
Whether we stop and take the time to realize it or not, fears present themselves every single day. These fears can be incredibly useful or down right crippling. Without fear of failing my exam this week, I would not have taken the time to study. Without the fear of past secrets haunting my future, I would have chosen to keep them bottled up.
Most of the time our fears are somewhat irrational. I think it's important to ask ourselves if what we are feeling is a healthy or unhealthy fear. Again, this goes back to control; if we constantly live our lives in fear of things that are out of our hands we are wasting precious time.
It seems like every time we build up enough courage to face a fear, another one presents itself. I thought this was just something that happens in recovery, but I'm starting to realize that's just how life is. The only way to grow is to face our fears.
I have a feeling I will be much more aware of what kind of fears I'm feeling in the upcoming week. Now, however, I know they only way to make our fears disappear is to face them.
Happy February 1st!