Walk With My Fear
Surely one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life, was leaving my longstanding employment relationship in order to start something new several years ago. I left the one reliable way of earning my livelihood, which I had known all my adult life, and the new one was very unknown – it was simply fear inducing. That is what fear is often about: the unknown and the unfamiliar.
This reminded me of a dream I had had a few years ago. I called it “a walk with my fear.” In it, a big grey hairy monster appeared that had two windows where there should have been its eyes. In them, my fears continually appeared and disappeared one after another. Nevertheless, it took me a while to figure out that this “thing” was a symbol of my fear in general, and at first I assumed I was afraid of it, it surely looked horrid, but I soon realized that I simply was not. My fear monster didn’t feel scary, but rather friendly, as if it was my friend, not my enemy. I still remember how surprised I was about this realization. We started walking together and chatting along the way. Whatever I asked, my fear would lovingly give me answers to my questions. It told me I was to let go of my fear as well as of my feelings of guilt; that I was to “grow up” as in, growing out of my fears.
I had never liked feeling fear. Feeling fear was scary to me in the sense of me wanting to move away from it and avoid it as best I could. It was this dream and its message that changed that relationship with fear. I still don’t like it, I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie and I never will be, but I can now interact differently with some of my fears.
I learned that some fears are literally on my side, as they keep me alive. Some supposedly attempt the same, but in reality just try to keep me within the limits my subconscious mind has set, when I am trying to leave my comfort zone and all that is familiar. Then there are irrational fears that simply come up for no apparent reason at all. My natural tendency would be to move away from them all, but this is the key my dream taught me: fears are not scary and I can move towards them instead of running away. If I had run away in my dream, I would never have had this specific conversation with my fear monster. When I remember to move towards my fear, I can interact with it. Irrational fears mostly vanish into thin air when I do that, while I can have an exchange with the ones that try to keep me within my comfort zone. I can learn what they teach me and negotiate with them, for example, by taking things in small increments, to allow me to move forward. I am grateful for my kind fear monster showing me a way to balance my life between my fears and my determination to achieve; it gave handling my fears a quality of lightness I had never expected.