Fear generally has a negative association with it. Our culture encourages me to become fearless, to conquer fear and to not talk about fear.
When I pause for a moment to reflect on fear in my life, I see its influence everywhere. There are very few, if any, aspects of my life that I can find where fear does not play a part.
Evolutionary biology has to be considered here. For tens of thousands of years, fear has helped my ancestors survive. If the objective of humanity has been survival, then it makes complete sense to fear anything, or anyone, that will hurt chances of survival. Those that did not have fear did not survive and as a result, did not pass down their genes for future generations.
The genetics within me are coded and coated in fear. To believe even for a moment that I can rid myself of fear, knowing it has been hardwired into my being, would be like trying to remove the bones from my body.
When I take a closer look, I can see clearly how fear shows up in small and large doses practically everywhere.
For example, this morning I sat in meditation outdoors. At some point, I heard an unfamiliar sound. A mix of curiosity and fear caused me to naturally open my eyes, pause my meditation, and assess the situation.
Last night, I was spending time with a friend and uncharacteristically checked my phone while he was speaking. A small dose of fear within me did not want to be late for the dinner I had next.
Yesterday morning, while picking avocados at the grocery store, I took an unusually long time selecting the perfect ones. There was a part of me that was fearful of picking ones that were too ripe, or ones that would take too long to become ripe.
This past week, I hired someone to join our team, who I am thrilled about. We expedited the interview process within 4 days, as there was a fear of missing out. The candidate already had offers from other companies.
Last week, I found myself working a 15 hour day, which I had not done in ages. I was fearful of not being able to complete all of the work that I had intended to do, for the people that depended on me.
There is a layer of fear that influences practically every choice that I make.
The specific fears will continue to change, as nothing is permanent in life. Like the seasons that come and go, individual fears will continue to evolve. This is what makes life interesting.
Instead of hiding from fear, suppressing fear or feeling guilt or shame about fear, I am learning to embrace fear. This helps me build a positive relationship with fear. To dance with fear is to sometimes lead, and to sometimes follow.
Most of all, fear serves me. It helps me make choices that are better, wiser and more aligned with what’s important to me. Fear keeps me honest and accountable, in a way that is deeply personal.
Fear is my friend. I cannot imagine navigating life without it.