Are You Afraid?

Contributing Writer: Misako Lauritzen

It is hard not to be these days. Afraid, I mean. With so many uncertainties surrounding us in this nation and the world, we are bound to feel unsettled, worried, if not afraid.

Let me speak for myself. This week I found myself feeling afraid for my child. A 20-year-old is a grown adult; however, with so much violence happening around the world these days, one night when she was out and about with her friends, I started having less than peaceful thoughts.

As a human being, it is only natural to have feelings; there is absolutely nothing wrong with having fear, sadness, even anger. However, it is beneficial to distinguish a difference between HAVING a feeling and BEING TRAPPED in it.

When you are trapped in fear, you lose control of your actions. You may make bad decisions; you may say or do things that you later regret. In order to bring yourself back and take control of your fear, do the following.

1) Ask yourself. Are you afraid/worried that things you wish to have happen may not happen, or that things you do not wish to have happen will happen? Acknowledge that whatever you are afraid of/worried about is in the future, and that you cannot do anything to control it.

2) Ask yourself. Is your feeling a reaction to something that happened to you in the past? Is your feeling a leftover from the incident in the past. Acknowledge that it has already happened, and that there is no way that it can come back and hurt you. You are safe.

It does not mean that you are pushing away your fear. Instead you want to be kind to your fear. Find a safe and quiet place where you can be alone. Set aside time for yourself. Sit comfortably whether on a cushion on the floor or on a chair. Doesn't matter. The most important thing is that you have ZERO discomfort.

Close your eyes, and breathe easily. The trick is to slow down your breathing without straining yourself in any way. Place your hands in the middle of your chest, over the heart center. Feel the warmth of your compassionate heart. Be with your fear.

What you are doing is embracing the fear, just like a mother would cradle a child in her bosom. You see, fear is actually our ally, not our enemy. Fear is a warning mechanism put in place by our natural instincts to keep us away from possible danger. It becomes harmful to us only when it is in overdrive. Then it is time for you to acknowledge its presence, embrace it, and give yourself an assurance "yes I got this."

And when the time comes for fear to leave, gently and respectfully show it the door.

Sure, it probably will come back, but each time you will familiarize yourself with your fear. Eventually you will be able to greet it like you would an old friend.

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