This post follows the Spirit-led talk I gave on Facebook Live regarding overcoming fear. I use the word "fear" but it can be interchangeable with "anxiety" or "stress" or "worry". This was specifically related to grief and trauma, but I believe these ideas can be applied to other areas of our lives that may result in fear. The key points were downloaded from Spirit, using my own experiences and frame of references for examples. For this blog post, I will keep my own experiences/examples to a minimum in order to maximize the points that Spirit made and to keep this as brief as possible.
To overcome our fears, we must first face our fears.
To face our fears, we must first have an intention to do so.
To have an intention, we must first be open to the possibility that we can overcome our fears.
I (Rachel) wish there was an easy way around this very difficult part of our grief/trauma/healing journey. Please know we can confront our fears in a gentle way. We can do this in baby steps. We can do a walk-through in a therapist's office. We can become empowered to face our fears through prayer, meditation, spiritual connection, energy/healing work employing others. We can release to an extent through these things. We can hold the hands of our loved ones. We can ask Spirit to lead us to the right tools for us. But there is no way around doing that which we believe we cannot do, in order to gain the freedom that will result. There is no detour around facing our fears if we want to lay our burdens down and not pick them up again. It may not be a one-time event, but every time we face a fear, we experience more freedom. Every time we face a fear we release. Every subsequent time will be easier, until it no longer has a negative emotional/energetic impact on us.
The first example I used of facing my fears was walking in the dark (literally, after sunset). I was with my husband, holding his hand. (baby steps) A month later I faced this fear alone, but I took care not to walk far from where I had parked my car. I inhaled my essential oils as I walked. I prayed and meditated (slow breaths, relax) before I walked. (baby steps, walk gently)
It's important I share with you what I may not have shared in the Facebook Live: I cried, I paced, I hyperventilated and I did my best to avoid scary thoughts while I faced my fear that first time. That first time I faced the darkness, my fear of allowing my babies (12 and 15) to walk outside was actually greater than my own fear of walking in the dark. It was scarier to me that my babies were out on their own than it would have been for me to go out on my own. Walking with my husband wasn't an act of courage, I needed to see that my babies were safe. But I faced this fear to allow them to do something enjoyable and to give them independence that they needed. By facing this fear, I overcame it. I felt so much lighter after that night. Never again did I experience anxiety at that level about my children being out at night.
If you can't do it, that's okay, it's the trying that counts. It's the trying that says you have an intention to heal. Just don't give up.
We don't have to face all of our fears to have peace of mind!
Does your fear/anxiety/stress negatively impact your lifestyle or your relationships? How early in your grief journey are you? Some things will take care of themselves with time. Early on we should focus on survival and taking care of ourselves. My fear of the dark wasn't even a big concern of mine for several months. (I was mostly consumed with the fear of living without my son's physical presence, and trying to overcome that.) If the thought of facing your fears is causing you more anxiety than not facing your fears, it may not yet be time. Don't force it. Be gentle, you are healing.
If it is time, ask yourself these questions :
1. Is my fear negatively impacting my lifestyle?
Is my fear preventing me from participating in life when I otherwise feel ready to do so?
Is my fear preventing me from seeking out or participating in activities that are healing or healthy for me?
Is my fear causing me to take on unhealthy coping mechanisms?
2. Is my fear negatively affecting my relationships?
(assuming these are relationships I value and my loved ones are being reasonable)
The release of my fear, the extent of my healing, is dependent on how much work I want to do (when I’m ready). Clearing out friendships that are not good for me may be a difficult, but wise, investment.
Assuming these are relationships that are good for me:
Is my fear preventing me from spending quality time with my loved ones?
Am I projecting my fear onto my loved ones?
Is my fear making me dependent upon my friends (beyond early grief) in some way? Is my fear causing me to take advantage of my friends and loved ones?
If your answers to these questions are "no", then maybe your fears are the result of high expectations you place upon yourself.
Maybe it's not releasing your fears, but releasing your high standards, that is the work you need to do. Maybe you need to be patient with yourself and just give yourself time.
I overcame my fear of doing Facebook Live, but instead I could have let go of the expectation I had that I needed to utilize FB Live. My relationships or lifestyle would not have been negatively impacted by letting go of that expectation.
I had anxiety over people handling my son's belongings in the first few months after his passing. Now it makes my heart happy when people want to see or hold his possessions. That fear resolved itself with time and healing.
Refuse to compare or stop comparing yourself to others and their healing journey. Only you can know what you need to do to release fear. Only you can know what expectations you need to release. Allow yourself quiet time to contemplate these things.
Ask God/ Spirit/your loved ones in heaven to help you!
Here's the thing - you may not feel the presence of Spirit during times of high anxiety because that emotion is so very powerful. Fear is so much heavier than the light, subtle presence of Spirit. This perceived separation can cause these times to feel even more difficult and lonely. But if you set your intention to overcome and ask Spirit to help see you through.... TRUST it will be so!
Stay open to hope and possibility!
Watch your language. Use past tense to describe your difficult experiences. Just because your experience was painful doesn't mean a future similar experience will be.
Your words have power, don't attract more pain on top of pain.
How often are you likely to experience something you fear? Spirit suggests that your thoughts of painful situations may be more consuming than the actual time you spend in painful situations.
Painful situations and circumstances only last for a limited amount of time unless we :
1) choose to replay these events in our minds, or
2) choose to worry about future painful events that may happen.
Don't let fear take more of your energy and bring you more pain.
One last thing:
Love is always greater than fear.
Trust that Spirit is working on your behalf. Always.
On a personal note -
During my more difficult moments, I reminded myself that I’d already been through the worst and I was still breathing. I’d already faced my worst fear. I knew I could handle anything else. You can too.