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Fear is Loud, but it's a Liar!

Message 5, January, 2021

Dear Guest,

I don’t blame you if you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, what? Why are we talking about fear? I came here looking for encouragement!”

I am talking about fear today because - since we’ve been talking about seeing possibilities - I have to tell you this. It’s the only responsible thing to do. Because when you open your mind up to seeing possibilities, I can almost guarantee that you are also going to open your mind up to feeling fear. Feeling fear isn’t any fun, not in your mind or in the way it shows up in your body.

So here are two things I want to tell you about fear, because these two things encourage me every single day.

One: Fear is normal. Feeling fear means you are human. You aren’t broken, you aren’t doing anything wrong, and you don’t have to try to push fear away or stuff it down.

Two: Fear is a liar! Most of the time, with very few exceptions, everything we fear is fictional or false. Unless you are being stalked by an actual bear or are otherwise in physical danger (and those things do happen, and I don’t want to minimize that), fears come from a place of what might happen. 99.9% of the time, we don’t fear things that are real or that are happening in the present moment. Not even when our fears are triggered by a condition like PTSD* or anxiety.*

Please understand I am not ever going to tell you fear is something you “shouldn’t” feel. Fear is a valid emotion (just like every other emotion you feel), and it’s an incredibly powerful one.

I don’t like fear, but that’s not how emotions work. We don’t get to choose our favorites! I can notice that fear is coming up for me and I can accept it and feel it, then I can handle my response to it. I don’t have to try to control my fear or deny it. And neither do you.

I think I have to acknowledge here that there are plenty of people who use fear - on purpose or not - as a tool to manipulate other people. I find this to be helpful to know, because the more I am aware of how fear shows up in my life and in my mind, the less I have to be a victim of it.

I think it is incredibly encouraging and empowering to realize that I don’t have to be afraid of fear itself. And to know that when I feel fear, I don’t need to try to get rid of it or shove it away or stuff it down. Understanding fear in this way has changed my life dramatically. It’s one of the big reasons I’ve been able to visualize and go after my dreams and goals, even while I am a caregiver, wife and mother. This is why I am shining a light on fear for you today.

You can see possibilities, and when that allows new fears or old fears to creep into your thoughts and emotions, that’s OK! You are normal.

In the next message, I’m going to help you see what you might need to unlearn so that you can see possibilities. And maybe even be inspired by them!

Please let me know how this is working for you, or if you have any questions, by leaving a comment here.

Kay Coughlin

*I have suffered from both of these during my life, and they have slowed me down or stopped me from making progress at times when I wasn’t able to manage them. I talk a little more about this in From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind.


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