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Being Less Afraid

Marilyn has been on a spiritual journey for over 30 years. She loves sharing thoughts and experiences that have brought her peace and joy.


Being Less Afraid

It sometimes feels like I’ve slipped into the ‘twilight’ zone these days. With so much fear being generated by politicians and the media. And there are times when I am with others, that I hear fear in the words they say, see fear behind their actions.

I feel like I want to help, but I know it isn’t possible. Yes, I can reassure, I can point out the positive, I can state the obvious—there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Ultimately though, dealing with fear is a personal responsibility. And I have to accept I am only responsible for dealing with my own fear, and for conquering that fear in myself.

I’ve often wondered what happens between childhood and growing up, what brings about the change in us? Once we were fearless, undaunted little warriors, determined to attempt it all—to try and fail and try again. We thought little about losing and a lot about winning.

But gradually when we became adults we faltered, became anxious and more often than not, ended up letting our fears hold us back. We grew afraid of trusting our own judgment, didn’t believe in our own abilities, found it hard to make challenging decisions.

Almost without realizing it, we let fear grab ahold of our minds. Let fear overrun our thoughts, and dictate our actions. We started to distrust our intuition, our inner guidance. We allowed ourselves to believe what others told us, without questioning what was true. We listened to all the talk about how dangerous the world is and allowed it to change our behaviors.

And for many of us, being out there in what we believed was the real world, we felt alone and just didn’t feel safe anymore.

This is what happened to me. It was the way I felt for a long time. Even before a devastating virus came along and locked up the world, I believed I was trapped with no way out. I was scared to say or do things that might “rock the boat”, upset someone else or cause others to be angry with me.

It was a painful way to live. I often felt like I was walking on eggshells. Like I had no control over what was going on inside me. I remember once describing this way of living as “being on an emotional roller coaster.”

This was the effect of fear on my life.

But eventually I began to be aware of how fear was impacting my life. And that was the key to being less afraid, to letting my fear go. Awareness unlocked the desire to look inside myself and see what I was thinking. I began questioning my fear-filled thoughts which led to the realization that I wanted to, and could, change them!

I finally understood that fear is something that had been created in my mind. That I had created it. And if I wanted to, I could create something else!

Yes, scary things are going on in the world, but the truth is that there is a lot in my life that is good. And if I am ever going to feel safe and have any real inner peace, I need to stop worrying about all the stuff over which I have absolutely no control. I need to stop thinking about what might happen. I need to stop projecting my fears into the future and just live in the moment—knowing I am safe and happy right now!

Like not wanting to do something or love someone because you could get hurt, I don’t need to run away from fear. I can simply acknowledge its existence in my mind, before choosing to let it go. This has brought me such amazing peace. Just that realization that I don’t actually need to ‘feel’ fear. That I can be aware of it and replace it with something else.

It is a moment to moment choice. I start each day with a short meditation. I open myself up to the love and compassion in my heart. I focus on being grateful for the loving people and the simple things in my taking a long walk early in the morning, or watching a mockingbird splashing around in the birdbath I placed outside my window!

I remind myself that I can overcome fear, by looking for and appreciating all the good in the world. There are so many heartwarming stories and videos out there—of animals that are rescued, the many acts of kindness going on everywhere, the generous gifts of time and food that are being offered to those who need it. And those are the things that I fill my mind with, the thoughts that bring me joy, edging out fear from my mind.

Yes, finally I realize it is my mind, my life and I decide what I think and do. It’s my choice to feel more joy and peace, to feel less afraid.

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