Fear often gets in our way, slows us down and stops us from being the very best version of ourselves.
I love this story from Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Element Books; Thorsons Classics 2007.)
Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she must do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”
In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
Fear whispers to us frequently and can take over our lives. You make the choice to listen to it, or not. It’s easy to be taken in by the fearful stories that our imagination can create and assume that they are true. Here’s the thing – what if you chose to make fear and adversity your friend instead of being paralysed by their presence? What if you decided to do the thing you feared? Fear’s strength lies in the assumptions we make about it and our lack of action and awareness when confronting it.
Remember, fear loses its power when you become aware of it and take action or move forward.
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