When we’re ruled by our fear, everyday life can feel a bit like walking a tightrope over a bottomless pit. It’s a hell of a balancing act. And it’s absolutely exhausting; it takes up so much energy, so much mental focus.
But often the advice we get given is to push through our fear. We’re told that the more we do that, the easier it will become – basically because we will have anaesthetised ourselves to, or dissociated from, those painful feelings.
This may work to a certain extent. We may achieve whatever it is that we were fearful of doing. But we haven’t actually dealt with the emotion of fear, meaning that when another scary situation arises, we are no better able to handle our feelings.
A more sophisticated and mindful approach, is to get to know and understand your fear, and to develop a compassionate and non-judgemental relationship with it. When you do this, through meditation or contemplation, you may find that the fear has something valuable to teach you – about yourself or the situation within which you find yourself, making your judgement more refined and your subsequent actions better adapted to your goals. You may also find the fear transforming into a more comfortable emotion, once it’s been heard and attended to.
Pushing through your fear cuts you off from yourself and from your own inner wisdom. Attending to your fear with loving kindness and an open mind, gives you access to your deep knowing.