WHAT IS FEAR, ANYWAY?
Now, I’m not a scientist or psychologist. I do not have a degree in understanding what fear is, but I’ve done a lot of research, personal observation, and experimentation on the subject. In pretty much anything that you read or listen to on fear, it’s very clear that fear is created by the brain.
In fact, it’s created in the hallucinatory part of our brains. Based on what you’re experiencing or about to experience, your brain is taking a certain memory from the past and projecting that feeling or experience into the future. You haven’t even experienced it yet and your brain is creating scenarios for you about what it thinks the outcome is going to be. Since the event hasn’t even happened yet, it is not real. It is an illusion that you are creating in your mind!
Fear is intended to keep us safe from harm and it is well intentioned. However, when we are constantly reliving our past because they are being projected into our future – we find ourselves trapped in a scene from the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Constantly reliving the same day over and over again with slight variations.
THAT FEELING OF BEING STUCK
It’s that feeling of stuckness that was my indication that I wasn’t fully living in the moment. This came to a head when I was about 25 years old and it was the most stuck I’ve ever been in my life. I had been working as a financial planner for a few years and doing quite well. Living in downtown Denver, Colorado with a nice apartment in the city, a nice car, and a pretty good book of business that afforded me the ability to do a lot of great things.
My life was so set on autopilot and I was going CRAZY and I had no idea why. I’d tell myself, “Jordan, you have everything you need, what could possibly be wrong? Just be grateful for what you have!”
Gratitude journal after gratitude journal and I still felt so frustrated and stuck.
Now that I look back at it, I get it so clearly. Here’s what my week looked like pretty much every week:
- Wake up at 5:30am to work out.
- Eat, shower, get ready, walk to work.
- Work from 9am to sometimes 7, 8, or 9pm.
- Walk home.
- Got to sleep and do it all over again.
Weekends consisted of a lot of drinking, eating, and partying. Staying out late and being pretty irresponsible with my time and my money. Attempting to “get things done” on Saturday and Sunday but feeling pretty useless at the same time since I drank a lot the night before.
There were slight variations, but it was essentially rooted in all the same activities over and over again. All of which were just FEAR with a nice sugar coating.
Deep down, I knew I wasn’t happy doing that, but my fear told me I was selfish to really want anything else. My fear kept me so comfortable in the day-to-day that anything outside of it felt impossible! And truthfully, I was so blinded by my fear that I couldn’t see many other possibilities outside of what I was experiencing anymore.
I was slowly drowning in my own fear and didn’t even know it. Everything felt so “normal” and everyone around me could sympathize but no one knew how to get out of it. It’s easy to talk ourselves down when everyone else feels the same…
Here’s the thing.
Fear IS normal!
Everyone has fears. I truly don’t think they ever go away either – we just learn how to manage it better and work THROUGH and WITH the fear instead of letting it stop us. I will talk about the ways that I have learned to dance with fear and let it guide me instead of stop me in the next few posts.
I’m still working through my own fears and feel that I will for the rest of my life. There’s always a new level and a new layer to peel back because fear is DEEPLY rooted in our lives. It is created throughout your whole life and typically around very painful experiences you’ve had – both large and traumatic AND small and seemingly insignificant. Some of which still need to be worked and healed through.
Pretending fear isn’t there and ignoring it is the last thing that we want to do. I did that for years and it only dug my hole deeper and created even MORE fear. In the upcoming blog posts I’ve listed out some symptoms or signs so that you can better identify what you’re experiencing when any of these come up.
The better we get at knowing when we are in fear, the better we get at moving through it.