Episode 152 – FEAR

I read a lot of blogs. More than one blogger has suggested that we do something every week, that we are afraid of doing. The first time I read that, I didn’t think that was a wise idea. That is NOT advice I would give my 11 year old son. Because what is he afraid of? Jumping out of a moving car. Hunting a wildcat with his bare hands. These are things that he is afraid of.

Before embracing the idea – and, at this point, I have very much embraced the idea – I came to an understanding with the idea. Here’s the thing. I am not afraid of hunting a wildcat with my bare hands, because I would never consider it, right? It is a stupid idea. And I wouldn’t even consider it.

I AM afraid of people reading my blog and misjudging my intentions. I AM afraid of making what I think is a good choice, but that one that ends up hurting my children. I AM afraid of being rejected by someone I love. I AM afraid of wearing something to church that invites criticism.

Anthropologie had a sale. Whenever I wander onto their website, I think to myself, Could I pull that off? Well, I decided to get (way) out of my comfort zone and “complete the purchase”. I was ordering something I was afraid of owning. Right?

The dress arrived two days later. I was thrilled. My kids were thrilled, even though they didn’t know what had been shipped in that brightly colored bag. They watched while I cut open the bag (very carefully, in case I needed to return the goods), and I pulled out my Viera Wrap in Blue/Green.

“Mom! It’s a new Halloween costume!”

Well. It didn’t look like a Halloween costume on the model in the advertisement.

I am totally wearing that wrap to church this Sunday. I am doing it.

“There are very very few things that we genuinely need to be afraid of.”

Right from the get go, Brooke gets that out there. Fear serves us in genuinely dangerous situations, but there are few of those. Really. Fear is simply:

“An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.”

Our emotions are harmless when we allow them. They cause us all sorts of issues when we fight them. We have been learning this month what to do with emotions, right? Emotions go into the model, after thoughts.

CIRCUMSTANCE: I bought a floral wrap dress from Anthropologie.

THOUGHT: It might be disrespectful to wear a dress to church that my children think looks like a Halloween costume. Other people might question my appropriateness or criticize my choice, out right.


Really. The worse thing that can happen here is an emotion. Our brain tells us to avoid uncomfortable emotions: fear, embarrassment, etc. It tries to protect us by preventing us from taking action.

“Remember that the emotion of fear causes a chemical response in the body that prepares us to take action when we are literally being attacked, so we can run away. But when there’s nothing to run away from, we’re still having that response, we’re still having that chemical response in our body, and that is not useful because we are not running away from a lion.”

How does Brooke combat this emotion? She says she asks her brain: Is this fear actually protecting me? Is it useful? She says to herself: I hear you, Brain. I hear you trying to protect me. But I just want you to know, Brain, that we are going to be okay.

Remember. Fear prevents us from taking action. We avoid doing anything to avoid the emotion. But guess what. Everything worth going for causes uncomfortable emotions.

“We experience fear when we are faced with the unknown, and growing into MORE will always be unknown…

Don’t resist fear, but embrace it, knowing it is part of the deal… It’s like that ball you’re holding under the water, the ball is still there, the pain (or the fear) is still there but you’re not holding it under, you’re just allowing it to float with you.”

Do you know what I really fear? Two things:

First. I fear that things are final – that things will never change. I fear that I will gain weight and then I will be there the rest of my life. I fear hurting someone’s feelings and that they’re never able to forgive me. I fear buying a home in a neighborhood and never ever living anywhere else. Since my parent’s divorce, I fear getting in a fight with my husband, and he leaves me, for good. I fear trying something new, and forever burning bridges with what I already know and love.

If I weren’t afraid of this, what would I be doing right now? What would I be creating? This is a game changer!

Second. I fear suffering. I really appreciated Brooke’s words on suffering this morning:

“There is a huge difference between pain and suffering. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. When you push against pain, that’s when you suffer. When you allow pain, when you aren’t afraid of it, that’s when you utilize your courage, that’s when you step into the strength of yourself to feel a negative emotion… Moving towards pain releases suffering…. Relax into fear. Stay present with it. Don’t seek refuge outside yourself.”

Our emotions are harmless – even fear – when you allow the emotion. But they cause all sorts of issues when we fight them.


“Your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL. He hasn’t slept in days. He’s all hopped up on Red Bull, and he’s liable to shoot at his own shadow in an absurd effort to keep everyone ‘safe.’”

Elizabeth Gilbert

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