Spiritual teachers sometimes say that fear is the opposite of love.
That is gobbledygook.
Love has no opposite. It’s the one force that transcends polarity.
So what, then, do we do with all our fears?
Because we all have them. Some of us are so face-first in our fears it becomes nearly impossible to function. Some of us literally attempt to exit this world, and our pains, through self-destruction, numbing, or suicide.
It doesn’t work. As a soul who remembers more than one past life that ended in suicide, I can promise you there is no escaping the truth of who we are. There is no circumventing emotion.
What we feel is what is real. And we deserve to feel peace.
So what do we do with fear?
It starts and ends with love.
How Can We Possibly Fall in Love with Fear?
Anyone that has dealt with any level of anxiety knows the core goal is to STOP FEELING SCARED.
Trust me, I know from experience. I used to be so terrified of the world, calling Domino's took substantial bravery. I have felt fear with such outrageous intensity, I've had to vomit to cope. It used to take every ounce of courage to show up for the smallest of events. And panic attacks were once the norm.
But I ask you, have you ever successfully talked yourself into not being afraid, for more than a minute or two (if that)? Has the critic inside your head ever scored a victory by chastising you into heart-spaced acceptance?
Why? Because resistance is the core of fear.
That voice inside us that tells us not to be afraid is fear’s foundation. It generates more resistance, which in turn makes us more fearful. That’s why this feels like a never-ending cycle. That’s why it’s so damn hard to break the pattern. Fear feeds itself.
Let’s use the process of elimination and therefore deduce that fighting fear is not fruitful. It makes it worse.
What about settling into the fear instead? What about making it a sole intention to merge with it and encompass it in love?
Maybe that sounds crazy. Maybe it makes your heart pitter-patter with possibility.
But I promise, it works.
Stop Trying to Understand Fear. Make it Your BFF Instead.
I treat anxiety like a beacon of light. Fear is not the enemy. It’s just an honest communication that my body, mind, and emotions want me to pay attention to.
Why that fear is manifesting is only important if I’m in immediate danger. If a bear wants to turn me into lunchmeat, my beloved fear is giving me the adrenaline to run like hell. That’s damn good information.
In all other cases, fear is much more complex. It could be tied to a past trauma. It could be integrated into a lineage; a long line of cultural induced fear that we unconsciously carry.
For this first phase of friendship, it doesn’t matter one iota why the fear has manifested. It matters what your relationship is to that energy.
We spend way too much time trying to analyze the why. Where did this come from? Why is it here? Who put this in me?
The mind loves to spin in these stories for decades, if we let it.
I suggest we use a force that’s far more powerful and revealing. Love. Is. IT.
Love is disruptive because it stops telling the fear to go away. Love stops communicating that something is wrong, and instead dares to proclaim that everything is right.
Our fears are sacred, beautiful wounds. They are the parts of us that cry out for attention, nurturing, and safety. They spur us into action. And they give us the contrast to experience surrender.
The first step with any range of fear outside an immediate survival is comfort. What if we treat fear as if it were our child, wrap it up with compassion and kindness, and invite it in to relax and express itself?
Takes some of the sting out of all that resistance for sure.
If done with a full heart, accepting and loving fear can silence the internal critic that creates the conflict. It can finally give us enough space to breathe and feel the light. But it takes time. It's a process, like everything else.
Relating to the Fear, Not From It
One of the tricks to use with fear is to depersonalize it. Don’t call it “My fear,” call it, “The fear.”
Creating distance from the experience of these intense waves allows for a shift in the relationship.
When we’re in full-blown panic, we are so afraid that we BECOME the fear. There is no distance. It is us and it is all that is. That’s why it feels like an endless black hole.
The moment we shift and see it as The Fear – as an energy that has taken up space in our awareness – we leave room for other emotions. We leave room for love and light and acceptance.
It does us zero good to deny the fear. In fact, that makes it worse. Most of us have very tangible experiences of that.
Then it makes perfect sense that it also does us no good to get taken over by fear.
The happy medium is friendship. It’s acknowledgment that “This is happening” without getting lost in the idea that “This is mine, this is who I am, I’m paralyzed with fear and I always will be.”
Fear is energy. Energy is always in motion. Even for those that are frequently in the experience of fear (like me), there is an awareness of other states. We have all had tastes of lightness and joy, even if for a moment.
Acknowledging this truth gives us chance to remember that fear is always passing through.
We are not fear, we feel fear.
Relationships Take Time
As with any relationship, making friends with our fear takes a lot of time and effort.
There are a lot of great articles about techniques to do with our fears, but I suggest starting with love and gratitude. It’s the missing secret sauce in any attempt to transform.
We have to love our shadow to integrate it into our higher self. How that process really looks is very individual. We all do it differently. But it will never, ever happen that we feel better long term without first saying – thank you. I accept. I will feel. This too shall pass, and I can handle it.
So the next time fear pays a visit, stop and listen rather than feed the desire to fight and/or run. Breathe into it. Go into your heart and emanate gratitude and acceptance. Even if only 1 percent of your awareness is buying into this process, it’s monumentally powerful. Practice makes perfect.
Love is the strongest force in the universe. At the end of the day, it’s the only force. Fear is just a different manifestation of this creation. Give it unconditional love, and fear becomes an ally. An enormous force for transformation.
Since the only way out is through, we might as well give love to every part of the journey.