How To Set Your Compass

Fear is a dirty liar.

There, I said it. Sometimes I just need to get to the point.

The part of you that doesn't walk down a dark alley at midnight? The one that doesn't jump off tall buildings or drive the wrong way in traffic? That isn't fear. That's wisdom. Those things aren't smart.

I'm talking about fear. You know the one. It stops you in your tracks and blocks you from moving through your own dark spaces. You either run or freeze. It goes by other names. Some call it anxiety.
Others call it "realism". Still others know it by the numbness that follows; the feeling of going dead inside. Or it's the stagnation of being stuck. Whatever you call it, fear resides there.

Photo By Toby
And it lies.

Fear is so clever. It knows just where to get you. It lives in the wounded places of your earliest experiences.

To one person fear whispers, "You will lose their love." But to another: "You will look foolish." Fear tells us that we will be rejected. Fear tells us that we are incompetent and not up to the challenge. Fear knows our deepest places of hurt. "You are too quiet. You are too loud. You never do it right. You have to do it right."

It exploits our vulnerability and this isn't even the worst thing it does; once fear has taken up residence it delivers the final blow. It's the equivalent of the boxing match that has left you wobbling until only a feather knocks you down. It's the faintest breath. More of an implication. Hardly noticeable at all.

But I'm going to give you fear's playbook.

Here's how to identify when fear is taking over. In your felt senses you will have a sense of impending doom or terror. This doom won't make logical sense if you interrogate it intellectually. "It's only a job." or "It's only one person." or "I won't die from this." But oh, fear says you will. Fear tells you that its so much worse; so very much worse than you can imagine.

Fear says "It's all over. Everything. You're done." And once that existential survival terror has taken root, you are in its possession. Fear has you. You will do and say anything fear demands. You will abandon, run, shut down, give up, lose hope and forget yourself.

But there's another way.
Do not set your compass by fear. Instead, find its opposite.

Because "perfect love casts out fear" as the mystics know. Courage isn't the antidote to fear after all. Love is. It's the only thing that I've ever found that works.

Instead of fighting fear on its own territory (you'll lose), change the rules of engagement. Pick another landscape entirely.
Go back to what you love.

Go back to the people who you love most. Go back to the things that make you feel alive. Go back to the precious moments you hold dear in your memories. Go back to the vision you had for your future that made your heart soar. Fear wants to define you, so you must remember who you are. And the quickest way to do that, is by what you love.

Instead of fighting fear, starve it. Fear feeds off your emotional energy. Even the scariest of fires cannot continue if it runs out of fuel. Suffocation brings down the largest of giants.

Love is your true north. Set your compass there.

So why is fear a dirty liar? Fear says you will die, but you won't. Fear says you will lose everything, but that's not possible. Fear says you can't go on, but you can. Fear says you'll never succeed, but you will. Fear says you can't withstand this, but you do. Fear says you will be unloved, but you are love.

Everything fear threatens, it is all bluster. Fear is the biggest playground bully. It's the wizard of oz behind the curtain. It's a shadow puppet. It only has power if you believe it does.

Please kick fear's ass for me? I'm so sick of watching it push people around. We've got too many important things to do and so very little time to do them. We don't have time for this. There's too much love that needs us.

You are a warrior, you just don't know it yet.


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