For many of us who have dealt with fear since we were children, there are many layers of fear. Fear and anxiety come from within us and are always looking for a place to land. So we may worry about money, our children, driving on the highway, a physical illness, being criticized by others, etc. The list about what we can worry about goes on forever and is constantly changing. And at the time, our worries seem to make sense. In hind sight however, it is a different story. Often we look back on situations we worried about and realized that we worried for no reason because everything worked out in the end. Then we ask ourselves “How much time have I wasted in my life worrying?” The answer is a little depressing.
The truth is that worrying is a habit; a strong mental habit. If we really are sick and tired of worrying all the time, which is understandable than we have to commit to changing that habit which is hard work. Part of that commitment has to involve a willingness to feel the fear. Many of us got into the pattern of avoidance early on without knowing it. We didn’t like feeling fear because it was uncomfortable. Sometimes it was very uncomfortable. And so we unconsciously decided to avoid that feeling whenever possible. The worry is one way to distract ourselves from our feelings. Fear is just a feeling and if we are willing to connect with it and feel it, it eventually it will go away on it’s own.
Worrying is in our minds. Fear is in our bodies. Fear is just a feeling and feelings are just energy in our bodies. So all we need is the willingness to leave the safe, comfortable world of our minds (which is an illusion anyway) and go below our neck to the unexplored territory of our body and it’s feelings. While this is a simple idea, it is very hard to do. It’s like swimming upstream. We are introducing something new and we need a lot of practice to change a longstanding habit. Facing our fears about our feelings especially our feelings of fear gives us freedom. Freedom to live our lives to the fullest. YOU are the observer of your mind (and all the thoughts it produces) and you are the observer of your body (and all the sensations happening inside it). Knowing that you are the observer will help you to detach from what is happening. We need that detachment to not react and to not get overwhelmed. We also need emotional connection from others; a safe person that we can talk to about how we are feeling. Someone who will listen and not judge us. Someone who understands.