Facing Our Deepest Fear
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that,
fear has no power... you are free." — Jim Morrison
What’s your deepest fear? You know … the thing that keeps you awake in the middle of the night, causes you to second-guess yourself, or keeps you from living your dream?
I’ve come to realize my greatest fear is uncertainty. Not knowing what’s next makes me uneasy, unsure whether I’ll be prepared and ready for whatever may lie ahead. Often, I’ll create not only a Plan A, but also Plans B, C, and D … just in case the others don’t work out. I want options and safety nets to ensure I’ll be safe. But can we ever guarantee a predictable and secure tomorrow? Of course not. Uncertainty is one of the life’s biggest mysteries.
Whenever I find myself fearful of the unknown, I instantly grasp at what’s around me, trying to control the outcome of every detail of my life. However, this reactive behavior only keeps me tucked away in my comfort zone, a space where I cannot learn, grow, and discover unforeseen possibilities.
By refusing to face our fears and attempting to control all aspects of life, could we be sheltering ourselves from unseen opportunities?
When we allow fear to rule, we stay small, often missing out on incredible experiences. Instead of trusting that all will be well if we go with the flow, we interfere with what is. In essence, we interrupt the Universal plan in hopes of getting what we think is in our best interest. This behavior isn’t selfish—it’s a defensive reaction, a form of self-preservation. Yet, in the process of keeping ourselves on the straight and narrow path, we often pass by the mysterious side roads, many of which are filled with unexpected, beautiful moments.
However, when we acknowledge our fears and venture down those unanticipated avenues, our fears lose their power over us. This does not mean that they vanish. They’re still present, but we’ve now owned them, seen them, so they’re no longer lurking in the dark, waiting to ambush us. And if we can recognize when we go into fear mode, then we can name our fear, the first step in taming its impact. The more frequently we catch ourselves going down that oh-so-familiar rabbit hole, the better we can pause and respond instead of knee-jerking to a fear that pulls on us emotionally.
And this is exactly my work if I hope to tame my fear of uncertainty. I must first acknowledge this fear and attempt to make sense of my corresponding behavior.
The reason I’m trying to control everything around me is because when I’m unsure of what’s next. I’m afraid things will go wrong. When there is not a solid plan in place, I feel vulnerable, exposed to danger. That’s why I step in and try to take control.
It’s when I can verbalize the reason behind my fearful behavior that it suddenly all makes perfect sense. I understand the motive behind my actions, noting I’m being reactive not responsive. Just this “aha” alone is huge. And the more present and aware I can be when this fear of uncertainty rears its ugly head, the easier it will be for me to alter how I handle the situation. In essence, I now hold the power because I can choose how I move forward.
Maybe groups cause you anxiety. Or perhaps you’re uncomfortable being alone at night. Regardless of what triggers you, accept what is then take a step back and watch how you react when you are in that situation. You may be surprised at how quickly you can connect the dots to your fears.
One thing I’ve learned from dealing with past fears is that when I get to a point where a fear consumes me, I give it to the Universe to manage. This act doesn’t make the issue vanish, nor do I instantly receive any assurance that all will be fine. However, by releasing my fear to something higher than myself, I let go of my attachment to the outcome. I can then allow what is meant to be to occur, knowing it is out of my control.
That’s why trust, surrender, and faith are so important. In fact, these three concepts have been my personal focus these past months. I’ve even made the homepage on my laptop to read …
May I trust, let go, and believe … that the best is yet to come.
While my small self—my ego—strives to ensure everything around me happens in a particular fashion, my true self knows this is impossible. Instead, this higher version of me understands that as humans we are here on earth to learn to trust that things happen for a reason, let go of the need to control, and have faith that the Universe/God/Source has a Divine plan for each of us. It’s when we try to interfere with the plan by directing and manipulating what is not ours that things become messy.
So, when I’m triggered by uncertainty, I will do my best to take a big breath, pause, and remind myself of the three stones that sit on my desk …
Only when I choose to have faith that these engraved rocks hold far more power than my fear of uncertainty, will I be free.