How Paralyzing Is It?

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” ~ Seneca

Typically, I write about topics in which I believe. I’m an advocate for self-belief, an encourager of authenticity, a voice for positivity and constructive outcomes. It’s infrequent that I write about subjects which are deflating, pessimistic or negative. Given choice, I focus on possibilities, forward moving action, and potential. So it might seem a bit out of range that today’s post is about fear.

We continue to live in challenging and fearful times. Whether it’s the financial markets, future uncertainty, or the disruption of our lives, it can be overwhelming and even paralyzing. This is where, for me, inspiration plays a role; an opportunity to embrace challenges and changes rather than fear them.

Clearly, there is a lot of uncertainty and apprehension in our daily conversations and in the news. The fear it provokes is so continuous and repetitive we easily feel overwhelmed and unable to escape it. (This helps to explain why I’ve neither owned nor watched TV in 13+ years). So it seems a good time to discuss this important emotion and the dangers of allowing it to cloud our choices and block our joy.

Fear is the emotion signaling that the mind doesn’t know what is happening or about to happen. It also signals an anticipation of the future and the “what-ifs” of possibilities. The purpose of fear is to warn us to act or not act, or to begin to prepare for the future. While fear is useful when we are in immediate physical danger, most often it is illusionary. It has been estimated that up to 80% of our fear is illogical and unrealistic. That means our fear is grounded in:

  • What isn’t known and thus can’t be predicted.
  • Our beliefs about what could happen that threaten our current reality and personal identity.
  • Expectations we can’t or won’t get what we want or believe we need.

Putting aside the 20% of realistic fear, what do we do with the other 80% that is easily perpetuated by circumstances and events that can cause us to hesitate, distrust ourselves, or even paralyze us? Here are three tips for reducing and even eliminating the fear that is not useful and especially the fear that is a barrier to positive choices and success.

Tip #1
Shift your focus from “out there” to “in here.” Focus on what you know and what is happening around you now. Giving focus to what you don’t know and what is happening “out there” that you can’t control only provokes more fear.

Tip #2
Invoke “This too shall pass.” It’s a familiar phrase and a valuable one. Like everything in life, movement occurs because everything is constantly flowing. When you quit resisting what is happening and instead focus on actions and choices to respond appropriately, you join the flow and what seemed so daunting and scary can be easily navigated. (See an earlier post for more on ‘going with the flow’.)

Tip #3
What is unknown is only an opening for what is possible. That which is known to the mind is what has already been experienced. That leaves you the option to repeat it or to open yourself to what isn’t known but always possible. This includes what could add abundance and bring you what you have always wanted. (Another previous post on becoming a Possibilitarian.)

Fear can be a helpful and lifesaving emotion, but most often is a paralyzing, limiting, and frustrating one. Use these tips to discover that what you feared, especially with all that is happening around you, is an opportunity rich with possibilities to glide through and benefit from.

20 thoughts on “How Paralyzing Is It?

  1. Another post on fear! Thanks so much for sharing this Eric. I’ve come to understand this about fear too and have made the choice to live life without the fear…..which is in progress.

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  4. Excellent post, Eric. I’ve realised things re fear, and this post said a lot that I understand. But UGH don’t like the photo!

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  6. I really liked #3, Eric. A good reminder of how these openings are surrounding us. We only need to take a step towards the space ahead, trusting we will use our minds to get us through things, new beginnings and trials.

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