How to let go of everyday fears
Posted May 3, 2016
Sure, most of us have experienced the big fears, say, of public speaking or snakes. But what about the everyday fears, the ones that silently gnaw at us in our mind and heart, making us respond to people less positively than we could? Consider how fear and love compete and how we can consciously choose the latter to feel happier.
1. Fear of opening ourselves to people. After reading Gerald Jampolsky’s "Love is Letting Go of Fear," I was impressed by his idea that there are really only two emotions, love and fear. And that fear comes from a place of trying to control and predict our lives, which essentially makes us more isolated and disconnected.
To deal with this, Jampolsky’s view is to focus on peace and genuine forgiveness. Otherwise we can displace past fears and experiences on future ones that have not yet happened. And onto people without being able to view them with love. He shares, “When we cherish grievances, we allow our mind to be fed by fear and we become imprisoned by these distortions.”
Obviously, in a situation that is abusive or unhealthy, there are behaviors to choose such as creating clarity, setting appropriate boundaries and others. But especially for the everyday issues, this perspective infuses love and kindness.
As an experiment, I chose to view my day with “love and openness,” words that resonated for me. And wow, was I shocked. Without realizing it, my days had started to feel like a weight, right at the start, from all the things that needed to be done. And the backlog of “fears” of what ifs — what if that doesn’t get done in time, if he doesn’t turn that in and doesn’t graduate, if she doesn’t make that helpful choice and the fallout that will come.
Being more open to the day and to my family and to others was so surprisingly freeing! Yes, I still had things to do, but approaching the day with a positive attitude and tone of “what will today bring?” made all the difference. I found myself more open and gentle with people, and by extension, myself.
2. Fear of being a bad parent. Most of us silently nurse this one as we worry we haven’t taught our children all they need to succeed, or that we’re not as good as the neighbor parents.
What I’ve found, however, is to erase that fear with this realization: what our kids first and foremost need is our love. Not a perfect love, but our love. And that love looks more like interest than Pinterest, and more like being present than giving presents. Use, develop and share your built-in parenting love to trump fear-based parenting.
3. Fear of being a success. When I talk with women, they share the worry that if they’re too successful it will take away from their families, or good things, or skew their perspective. Those are valid concerns, ones I’ve had myself. And they’re not a good reason to avoid finding and fulfilling your true path. Because a true path would have at the center family and good things.
Approaching opportunities from a place of love — of valuing and prioritizing what matters most — allows you to keep your life centered on the essential. All while sharing your personal gifts in a way that’s right for you and your family.
Just for today, try choosing to view people and situations through love and let go of fear, knowing that your soul will know the difference.
Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.