Our past experiences shape us in every way, including the way we think and feel about life. When we have been through trauma, or any impactful experience, the experience itself shapes the way we respond to the world.
During a traumatic experience, we create responses based on survival of that experience. Often this means subconsciously creating protective mechanisms to cope with the trauma. Once we have moved through the situation, these mechanisms remain as new, learned reactions. Our bodies and minds created these behaviors to protect ourselves – most of them we are not even aware of. Often this protection exists in the form of fear. We learned to fear on those occasions that our minds and bodies were acting to protect us.
Fear can be a prison or a voice of reason.
Fear can guide us to pause and check in before we act, but it can also cause us to freeze.
We have learned to fear the unknown and, at the same time, learned that fear is the enemy that must be beaten.
Let’s flip the meaning of fear. What if fear is in fact your friend? Fear can show you ways in which you can grow. It can reveal parts of you yearning for more. It can be your teacher and guide. Instead of seeing fear as something to be beaten, what if fear is your teacher showing you what is possible?
Having been through trauma, many of us have created strong fear responses. While these serve us powerfully in surviving the experience, on our healing journey, they may limit us. When you no longer need those extreme protections you developed, they can become walls that keep you in the past.
Difficult experiences change who we are, and we need to get to know the new version of us that survived. You do not need to be strong or prove to anyone that you are not afraid. Fear is a human emotion. No one is immune to experiencing fear. Once cannot measure fear and we should not judge ourselves for the fear either.
Give yourself permission to acknowledge your fears. Write them down if it feels right to you. There is no such thing as a silly or small fear. If an experience triggers a fear response in you, that is perfectly normal – your experiences create this reaction and you need not apologize for that fear. You can also take the first step in not allowing the fear to rule your life by not down-playing the fear, but recognizing that is it okay. What one person might consider a small fear may be a major fear to another.
We are all survivors and we need to acknowledge and honor our bodies and minds for bringing us through the other side of traumatic experiences.
Ask yourself what your fear is trying to teach you or what it is protecting your from.
You can transition your fear to power. In this series we will explore the ways fear can be our friend, teacher and a powerful force of creation.
Join me in exploring the power of fear and how we can use our fears to create the future we desire.