In every moment of our lives, we have a choice – to be constrained by fear or to live freely. It’s the difference between being ruled by the head or the heart, adhering to limits or opening ourselves to infinite possibility.
Fear is the #1 deterrent to actualizing a fulfilling, creative, and generally awesome life. Not that there is anything wrong with fear. It’s a natural human emotion that looks out for us by protecting, guiding, and keeping things safe. And sometimes that’s just what we need.
But when fear is in control and our thinking is limited, we are playing it small. Whether we are aware of it or not, we inhabit a self-defined box labeled “same,” while ignoring the possibility of what is new, different, and potentially hugely satisfying.
Our inner wisdom is always nudging us in the direction of bigger, freer, and more expansive. It shows up in unconventional ways – the random thought about what you would love to be doing, the sense of excitement that appears from nowhere, the “Yes!” you feel when you engage with an idea, person, activity, or situation. It may also whisper the truth about what is not working in your life.
Inner Wisdom Triggers Fear
Inner wisdom pushing toward the surface is a signal for fear to go on alert. When we are guided to change, to move out of our comfort zone, to test the waters of the unknown, the part of us that is wired to survive feels threatened. It’s like the inner sentry has just cocked their rifles, ready to defend against the enemy.
Bringing our fear out into the light of day is essential if we want to create the space for our gifts and passions to be expressed. And understanding our inner wisdom helps to liberate it. Learn to navigate these seemingly discordant paths and fear will lose its power over you.
Get to Know Fear
Although fear can diminish with time, it is unlikely to disappear altogether. Think of coping with fear as a lifestyle. The goal of getting to know fear is not to eliminate it, but to become aware of it so it can be recognized and understood. It may arise a million more times, but when you are open to working with it rather than hiding from it, you can begin to find your way through with a modicum of ease.
When fear is triggered, here is what happens:
- Our minds formulate every possible (and not so possible) negative outcome so that we don’t move forward.
- We have thoughts filled with self-doubt – I can’t, I couldn’t, I shouldn’t.
- We feel tense and nervous.
- We worry.
- We might feel sick.
- We don’t want to take a risk.
- We feel paralyzed, afraid to make a move.
- We want to linger in familiar territory.
- We want to remain in control.
The experience of fear is all about protecting us from the unknown. It is ironic that fear wants us to stay on familiar ground, even if the life situation or thought pattern we play out isn’t serving us. But something in us knows when the time is ripe to let go of the old.
Get to Know Inner Wisdom
When we listen to the inner voice inside us that speaks the truth, we are invited – or compelled – to step out into the unknown, to take a risk, to try something new. The wisdom that comes through us is about growth and possibility, rather than survival. It isn’t concerned with safety or protection. It doesn’t understand the language of limits. It is endlessly creative because it has no interest in the mind structures that clamp down our thinking.
Fear of risk? Self-doubt? The need to feel in control? These have no meaning to the boundless nature of our inner wisdom.
If you dip your toe into the waters of your true voice, be prepared to meet the experience of not knowing. Recognize that you simply don’t know. Then wait, surrender, trust. When the truth of not knowing becomes real to you, you realize that anything is possible. Ideas you never would have considered pop into your mind. Chance encounters open doors to amazing opportunities. Help and support come from everywhere.
Fear is a valid experience that is common to life as a human. If we let our inner wisdom speak, fear is bound to arise. When it does, don’t freak out. Take a breath. Be curious about what it’s like and how it affects you. Receive it in an ocean of kindness. Let all the stories from your past that keep it in place unravel.
Turn toward your experience of fear and honor it. Then turn away from the ways it holds you back. Your inner wisdom is tapping you on the shoulder right in this moment. Are you willing to listen?
Fear…inner wisdom. What is your experience with navigating these paths? I’d love to hear…