22 Mar Are We Afraid of Fear?
During these challenging times of going through a global pandemic, emotions are high even for those of us luckily not directly affected health wise by the virus. This is an unprecedented situation and dare I say a “scary” one?
As most of you I am sure, I am currently navigating this trying time with some research, discussions and all the feelings that come up. It seems that the topic of fear is coming up a lot and I felt compelled to share my feelings about it with you. I hope that you find it interesting and I look forward to discussing it further with you.
I had been feeling uneasy about certain social media posts and some discussions with friends and family members that left me feeling that I should not feel fear and that it was unhealthy. It felt as if the word “fear” had become taboo and almost something to be ashamed about. I felt a sense of relief when I watched the lovely Deborah Anne Quibell’s video on how to cope with fear on a psychological level. I loved her take on it and it helped me understand how I felt. I highly recommend that you watch it!
My background as a Pranic Healing practitioner gives me interesting insights into the energetic, mental, emotional and physical connections that we experience. The energetic centre or “chakra”, called Solar Plexus is connected to what is called the “lower emotions”. We tend to associate this centre with negative emotions such as anger, stress, fear, anxiety and grief, however the lower emotions also include positive lower emotions such as ambition, courage, perseverance, strength and justice. It remains challenging but I strive to not judge our negative emotions as they have their purpose and place. Of course prolonged negative lower emotions do cause energetic and physical damage but the healing process from these negative emotions is a slow, complex and sensitive one. Unfortunately we cannot simply “wish” or breathe our negative emotions away.
What we need to do, in my opinion, is to try to look within and dig deeper into what we are feeling and why. And we need to do this armed with a huge dose of self-love, self-compassion and self-forgiveness. As the always inspiring Master Hector Ramos said recently in an online session, we need to try and understand what we are afraid of: are we afraid of losing income, afraid of getting sick, afraid that our loved ones will get sick, afraid to be stuck indoors for a long stretch of time. If we can all try and be honest on how we are feeling without judging ourselves, we can hopefully also be more open, understanding and compassionate with others, especially with our friends and family, when they express how they feel.
Fear in particular is defined as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm”. The definition implies that there is a purpose to feeling fear, it can alert us to danger and make us think, react and take necessary actions. However I am sure that we can also all agree that fear is a horrible emotion to feel, and never a “choice” as Deborah explains in her video. Yoga, meditation, breathing, walking outside are all amazing tools to help manage stress and find calm. However our fears really need acknowledgment, compassion and introspection to heal, not denial or repression. We need to try and be mindful and do “inner work” to understand what fears we have and why. Often a crisis can bring up deep rooted fears we have had since a child or that we were born with. A lot of us also have very primal fears of death, of being alone, of being poor, of losing loved ones but also of not being good enough, of not being lovable or loved. In a way we could see this crisis and how we react to it as a challenging opportunity to learn about ourselves and grow.
I love how Brené Brown explains so well that vulnerability and shame resilience are actually a form of courage and key to what she calls authentic, “Whole-hearted” living. Courage is often defined as “Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”
For my part, after digging deeper, even though I did not think I felt “fear” about the current situation, I realised that what I did find the most scary at the moment, was not having enough information, the “unknown” and still having to make important decisions that would affect my family and my business, my livelihood and those who depend on it for their own livelihood. A regular demon of mine came up: “the fear of making the wrong decision”, as well as “the fear of hurting others”. I really loved Mirjiam at Gentle Beginnings’ beautiful poem and illustrations about this journey into the “unknown”. I felt understood and supported and it helped me find some peace. Identifying my fears definitely helps me to deal with them and also express them clearly to my loved ones.
During this time, we need to, more than ever, identify our own needs and communicate them to our loved ones. And I have noticed that these needs can change quite quickly, day by day or even hour by hour. We may need a break from discussing the news, or from certain topics, more contact with people, more rest or sleep, or more alone time at the moment. It can be a good time to look into or revisit Non Violent Communication. I love Marianne’s Cup of Empathy videos and tools such as her Tough Talk sheet! There can be more conflict and heated discussions at the moment with our loved ones (I definitely notice that I can be more defensive and snappy at the moment!) and NVC is a great tool to try and use.
If we come to the realization that we have perhaps repressed or buried some feelings of fear in an attempt to “cope” with the current situation, we can look further within and find that we may have also numbed some other feelings or emotions during these trying times. I realised that I had numbed some feelings of compassion and sadness when it comes to the number of people affected by the virus and the fatalities. With a sense of detachment and a feeling that it does not and cannot touch me, I felt lighter and more positive. However I think that by doing this, we risk disconnecting from others and ourselves. It creates a feeling of separateness whereas we are all one and connected. We need to be brave and take some time to feel compassion and sadness, to honour our fellow human beings and their suffering. This is an incredibly difficult balance to find as we all want to cope well, to stay calm and positive, to watch our mental and physical health and to support our loved ones.
These are such testing times, that I am sure that we will all learn and grow together, feel more connected than ever and remember that we all need each other.
Sending you lots of love, light, hope and daily (even hourly) self-forgiveness.