Accepting fear and moving towards it is the remedy to getting through it.
As human beings, we are fragile and we know it. We are no match for the raw strength of a wild beast, we can’t outrun a hungry predator, we are not natural born swimmers, and we don’t do well in extreme cold or the heat.
Yet, we are the ruling class of this planet. We did that with human intelligence – our ability to process information in a more advantageous way than any other animal on this planet.
Our ancestors who survived the hostile plains of Africa had to be very calculative, defensive, and always on high alert for any threat. It was literally a daily life or death situation for them. Today, we don’t need to outrun a chasing lion or confront an angry grizzly bear, but our instincts have changed little.
We treat everyone with suspicion until we are assured of our safety. Our instincts regard everything as a threat until proven otherwise. These rules not only apply to the external world, but also to our own internal thoughts and feelings.
Anything that causes us unease is viewed as a threat that needs to be extinguished at once. It is in our nature to feel threatened and afraid when something feels overwhelming.
This might have saved us from danger during ancient times, but right now it is doing us more harm than help.
Our nervous system flares up at the slightest arousal. If you were in any kind of trauma before, you know how sensitive you might suddenly become to anything that reminds you of your injury. One panic attack is all it takes for you to be hyper-vigilant during every waking hour, waiting and watching out for the next attack.
What we don’t realize is that, in reality, these feelings are not a threat at all. That realization is the start of the healing process. If we could just view them as what they are, just raw feelings, without the danger our nervous system associates it with, then we can go towards these feelings.
Accepting such feelings and moving towards them is the remedy to getting through them.
When you start feeling anxious for no reason, or feel panicky in a given situation, notice how you start clenching and tightening.
This is very akin to a hunter who has come face to face with a dangerous wolf. He tightens up. His vision becomes narrow and anything non-essential becomes blurry. His heart starts beating louder and harder, pumping more blood to the big muscle groups like his legs; priming them ready for attack or escape. In that moment, all he thinks about is how to eliminate the threat or plan an escape route.
This works well when the threat is external, real, and immediate, but fails miserably when the perceived threat is internal. You cannot outrun or fight your own thoughts and feelings. You are definitely going to lose such a fight.
Instead, we must realize that these thoughts and feelings are not threats, they are just sensations that our nervous system is not used to.
re-train our nervous system to stop responding with depersonalization, fear, or panic when we experience nervous energy.
- Opening Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/keep_bitcoin_real/5908168937/
- Dark Tunnel – https://www.flickr.com/photos/drainrat/16250161758/