I know you’re scared. Terrified, in fact. So am I. What you may not realize is that we’re all terrified. Every single one of us.
We have this powerful base fear inside of us that moves us in our lives. It drives every decision that we make, and we have no idea that it’s doing that, let alone that it even exists. This fear is an expert at masquerading inside of us as something else. Most of the time, we have no idea that it’s working inside of us, orchestrating the direction of our lives.
I’m not talking about our surface fears of snakes or planes or our assorted phobias here. I’m talking about our basic hardwiring. Our core programming. The way that we are designed and built.
Before the age of 4 or 5, our human brains have no critical factor – no ability to reason, to use critical thinking, or to judge one thing against another to form a conclusion. Without this ability, when we experience something that we don’t understand that makes us feel uncomfortable, we interpret that discomfort as fear. Mom leaves the room for a minute and we don’t know where she went or why and – bam! – a fear of abandonment forms. What I call a Core Fear. At this age, we do not have within our basic structure, a way to come up with a different conclusion. Fear is it. Once we get beyond this age and critical factor forms, we then have the ability to formulate a proper conclusion. But by that time, our core fear is already well established and, unknown to us, has already begun to make decisions for us.
Contrary to our belief, however, this fear is not designed to destroy us, to tear us down or to cause us pain. It is not meant for us to deny it, hide it, feel hatred towards it or shame because of it.
Fear’s base purpose is to protect us, to keep us safe. Fear is what tells us to run from a predator when our life is in danger. It has a higher purpose also – to guide us and to help us to expand and grow. At its highest level, it allows us to live up to our potential as human beings, to elevate into a higher form of being.
Alas, our bodies and brains did not come with a handbook, and so we don’t know the basics about how we function. We don’t understand this purpose. We’re in this blind, blundering around trying to figure out how things work as we go. If we did have a guidebook of some kind distributed to us at birth, it would tell us all about our emotions and how to best understand them, navigate them and use them. If we did have an understanding of our nature, we would all be living much different lives. Personally, our lives would be successful and in harmony. We would have loving, fulfilling relationships and amazing family dynamics, healthy bonds, healthy boundaries. We would have societies that care about both the individual and the whole. We would have a world of peace.
However, it is not actually the fear itself that causes the problems in our lives – it is our fear of the fear.
Oftentimes, when we feel fear, it is because we lack the appropriate information that lets us come to a different conclusion, so without this handbook to guide us in understanding its nature, we fear the fear itself. Instead of embracing our core fear and thereby learning about our true nature as human beings, we fear the thing itself that is designed to educate us. And around in a circle we go. We fail to realize that our emotions actually are the handbook we’re wishing for. They guide us at every turn even when we work hard at denying them.
And deny we do. As human beings, we would sooner drink, shoot up, shoot each other, screw the planet and fly to Mars than look at what scares us. We’d rather hide from our pain than face it head on.
What we fail to understand is that we were hardwired with fear and love in equal measure. We can’t have one without the other. We’re built for both. We’re designed to embrace both. We’re designed to embrace all that we are.
Do you embrace love and deny fear? Would you cut off your right leg then wonder why you can’t walk? Your right leg isn’t evil – it’s just not your left.
We are built of polar opposites for a very solid reason. We are both light and dark, feminine and masculine, electric and magnetic, yin and yang, liquid and solid, non-physical and physical, so that we can experience. Without the experience of cold, we could not know hot. Without the experience of hate, we could not know love. We are designed based upon the principle of conflict and so without guidance, we mistakenly label one side of the conflict as good and one as bad. Within us, we take sides. When we take sides, we create war. When there is war within us, there is war outside of us. We create the wars in our world by trying to deny our mutual pain.
None of what is inside of us is either good or bad. It just is. It’s our design. You and I had no control over that design. It is not our fault. It’s important and liberating to know that. But as adults, it is our responsibility to understand it and to use it wisely. We do control what we do with our design. We can use it to hide and to destroy one another, or we can use it to grow and to elevate – to create something new and beautiful.
So let’s embrace that fear!