Are You Feeling Fear or Thinking it?

In order to let go of fear, let’s explore where it all begins- your brain.

The Following is an extract from my upcoming self-help book on personal resilienc

The fear you feel now is nothing more than an old memory, that you experienced in the past, resurfacing over and over in the present “now”. Some of our fears may be inherited programs from our species’ past, when their existence was threatened by things such as snakes, fire etc. They are irrational, but have often proven their worth. Having “love” as an incentive, however, can be a better motivator to eliminating, reprogramming, or changing what you are going through rather than wanting to change out of fear. The first is a natural flow or progression, a joyful state that you aspire to; the second implies exerting a lot of effort to overcoming an obstacle you’re bound to experience inertia! Love is a powerful force and is not merely “love” for one other person. In its true form, it encompasses the world, and love of life.

Mental Dynamics of Fear

In order to let go of fear, let’s explore where it all begins your brain.

  • Our brain, specifically, or what is known as the reptilian brain[1] (basal ganglia), the most primitive part of the brain and which is in charge of your survival, is programmed to transmit fear as a response or a reaction to any new situation because it perceives it as unchartered territory; therefore dangerous. It tries to protect you, and maintain your survival. The fear you feel is nothing new!
  • It follows that is more efficient for the brain to maintain the current situation, than to exert the extra energy required to run new neural pathways which are needed to change your response and move past your current boundaries or thresholds This is probably the reason why most people stick to the old, “devil you know”, rather than trying something new which might actually be better for them. Fear is an instinctive response to change to ensure your survival. What happens next, with repetition, as we are always going through changes in life, this instinctive impulse becomes emotionally charged a function of your next brain the limbic or mammalian

Once you have integrated your fear response in the way, fear ceases to be merely instinctive impulse. For you, it is now emotionally charged and you begin to (over) react to natural stages of progression, or changes in your life, emotionally. With fear, you stress and react to changing homes, schools, lovers, jobs, diets, aging, etc. So the “sphere of your fears” becomes larger, and more filled with “stuff” that you are afraid to let go of, or change. The cost of making any changes also increases proportionally.

  • Are you feeling fear, or are you thinking fear? You may be feeling fear, but most of time, in my experience, you would be thinking it. In other words, your past caused you to fear going out of your comfort zone and to believe that breaking out of these familiar boundaries, or personal sphere of limitations is fearful. So, fear becomes a thought that is associated with letting go of the familiar (even if it is negative) and of stepping into unchartered territories.

This type of fear becomes a cage trapping you, even when you could, if you decided to leave a bad situation. Ask yourself why do many women stay in abusive relationships and think about German Jews mentioned previously; unwilling to leave their homes, until they were finally taken and put in cattle wagons for their final journey to Auschwitz or Belzec.

If you like, it’s an old belief system, or old pattern of responding to a new situation; rather than an actual genuine feeling. I will explore how you can discern between the two later in this document. You think you feel fear, as opposed to you really feel fear or that you are afraid of this new situation. A bad habit sticks, because anything new will cost!

So, when we run an outdated program for so long, we are actually thinking it, and not feeling it. We respond to new changes according to the manner that our brain is accustomed to, and which is familiar to us because it takes less energy than creating a new neural path. Our brain is wired to behave that way too. We are like a train running along a railway track.

Your emotions and thoughts get mixed up since one has caused or triggered the other for so long. You are feeling what you think you should be feeling; and may have nothing to do with what’s going on now. Perhaps you are not threatened in the same way now as you once were in the past. There may even be no reasons for it now.

You may have learnt as a small child not to give you own opinion, and continued to believe that this was the right thing for you. This view may have been reinforced throughout life by those who would bully or otherwise control you – “you don’t know anyrhing”, “you are to young to understand”, “you are just as stupid boy/girl/wife, what would you know”, etc. You feel yourself as a being of little value, unworthy, submissive to others.

Feelings versus Emotions

  • An emotion = energy in motion. It is a response that is trying to move in, out, or through your body. It has a vector, or a direction of flow:
    towards you, or, away from you.
  • If you like, an emotion is a charged response with a direction. Try and find out what you are experiencing, and in what direction. Close your eyes, feel that fear, is coming towards you, or going away from you? If you find it, then it’s an old response or memory, to a past event and you are resurfacing so you can acknowledge and deal with it for good.
  • An emotion, for example, can be embedded in your body, as a “cellular memory”. It is either trying to move or release itself by resurfacing and finding its way out, but you think it is trying to find its way back in again. So you experience it again because it was never acknowledged and then processed before.

So, how you can utilise “love” as a motivator to overcome your fear?

  • Let go of shame. That is unnecessary as well.

Shame is a negatively charged emotion or impulse. It implies that “I feel ashamed to acknowledge, respond to, or express my fears; now that I am no longer a child; now that I am an adult and should know better”. If you blame or shame yourself, releasing fear or any other negative emotion would not be possible. These are the rules!

  • Focus on what is positive instead

When you intend to build up a new consciousness, or a new way of perceiving and to making sense of events in your life; when you are exploring your responses or reactions; you have to be mindful that you do not engage in thinking negatively = shame, blame, “things will never change” or “I will never get over that fear”.

  • What if you turn around what you think you are feeling, instead of feeling ashamed that you are unable to cope with irrational emotions of fear? Instead, become aware that you have actually done something positive! You’ve spotted a previous outdated pattern and; you now actually desire to respond differently you’re fed up of feeling afraid! You’ve already made a shift without being aware but had misinterpreted, if you like, what you are now experiencing – that in itself is a big change to your self-perception.

In other words, it’s old software that needs deleting. It’s full of “viruses” that do not make you feel good about yourself or about your life. Perhaps it has served its purpose in the past, but now you have outgrown it. Just think this may have served a distant ancestor well, but you live in a totally different world.

What Can You Do?

Here are quick tips to help you cope with fear

  • Acknowledge that you no longer want it. And that what you desire now is different from the past. In other words, you have already moved on. Part of your belief system did not. So you are just catching up with yourself – or upgrading your belief system/emotional response.
  • Intend to release it, or let go of thinking that way.
  • Touch your forehead with your fingers and say:
    “STOP! I choose to react differently. I chose to think differently”.
  • Stand up, and do something different to interrupt that vicious cycle. Make your favourite drink, watch your favourite movie, or simply go for a walk. Replace the old pattern with a new enjoyable one.

[1] “The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or “reptilian brain” was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean proposed that the reptilian complex was responsible for species-typical instinctual behaviours involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.”

by, Sahar Huneidi    

About Sahar Huneidi-Palmer
Author, Columnist, Holistic Therapist & Personal Mentor; helping my clients achieve the life they are meant to live since 1992. I am passionate about demystifying the abstract, podcasting & and love Turkish coffee!

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