“Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood.” John Mayer, “The Heart of Life”
I wrote against fear last week, and I firmly believe that it is among the most troublesome mental predators that we deal with. That said, fear can serve a purpose.
Fear can show you yourself. Nothing unveils the hidden parts of your soul like the things you’re afraid of. Your anxiety swirls around whatever you hold most dear. That twinge of panic you feel when your husband doesn’t come home on time during a dark rainy night comes from an honest place of not wanting anything bad to happen to him. We fear losing what we love.
Along the same vein, fear reveals what matters most to you. Curious where your true devotion lies? Try removing a few things from your life and see how your anxiety levels react. What we pay attention to is what really matters in our lives and you can tell what’s attached itself to you by how you feel when it’s gone.
Lastly, fear shows where you need inner healing. Those irrational phobias and knee-jerk reactions to aspects of daily living are tell-tale signs of areas where you’ve been hurt. It can be as simple cause and effect. For example, an accident on a bridge leads to a fear of driving across bridges. On the other hand, it can go as deep as a secret childhood trauma that shadows everything you do and feel as an adult. I encourage you to explore those fears in professional counseling.
So, yes, despise anxiety and strive for a fearless life. But at the same time, if fear is present, learn from it. Let it be a mirror you hold up to yourself and see the things you ordinarily can’t see. You can better combat fear when you know exactly what you’re dealing with.