A few years ago I interviewed a Vietnamese student living and working in Finland, when he shared his experience how he deals with “Good Fear” and “Bad Fear” (article on his “Fear” interview). I was inspired by his clear and practical approach into recognising what are good fear and bad fear, and how he managed them effectively based on that.
Subsequently I came across quite several coachees who were challenged by fear, fear from different avenues – from childhood experiences, from the mind, from a sudden lost in mental support, etc. Through the process of guidance, I have come to this thought – all fears are good!
I am not being sarcastic saying this, I face fear too! Fear from a new challenge, a new idea at work that challenge me to play a bigger role, fear from past relationship failure that might surface in new relationship… I now face up to them through a calm awareness, so I can look into them clearly and manage them – either they are just “passerby” in the mind so “poof” you go, or what other message they are telling me so I can find a new possibility/way of being.
So to feel fear, to be able to stop and feel it, is a courage, and is the first step towards change. There are people who cannot feel fear, who are lost in the midst of activities until one day they collapse with physical strain. I read one of such story in the Straits Times in one of the Sunday papers in February, that a teenager was in fact not living her choice of studies and merely going through motion, facing the strain in studies and exams until her body collapse, her sense of fear and expressing them were not “activated”, until her body expresses them through falling of hair and insomnia.
The trick is to train your brain and behaviour such that you manage fear with ease, and hence we are not bothered by “passerby fear” and will spend more time with managing “bigger fears” – with a sense of calmness and creativity. Recognize the fear in your life that are passerby – nagging little noises and “poof” them away, and give more awareness to those that you can look at them with an eagle eye, what could be more useful for you out of managing these fears. A vision, an eagle view into a new future, a new possibility. A change that wouldn’t be possible if you hadn’t even have the pause, the awareness to feel it, and face up to it.
So whenever you are poked by fear, panic attack, take a deep breathe, and verbalise this, “Good that I can feel it. So come here all you fears, welcome to sit down here” while you get ready one arm with a broom (visualise them), so you can “poof” off you go, and if it keeps coming back, sit with the feeling for a minute of awareness and ask “what is it you want to tell me more”.