My Flirtationship with Fear

by P. Braithwaite

I am afraid. Yep, I am. It’s true. I am writing blogs, speaking for pay, launching a business, and changing my life, but let me assure you, I am scared.

This confession, perhaps, isn’t the smartest thing to admit. I’m this life coach, entrepreneur, and I’m co-facilitating a fear workshop in May. Admitting I’m afraid might not be the best for my brand, but I am not a f*cking brand. I am a person.

Last night, I had the privilege of dinner with a friend of mine. He is a (single and handsome, ladies) motivational speaker and author who is always good company. Over steamed vegetables and tofu, I updated him on my business. I explained how tired I am, how hard I am working, and how I feel like I cannot relax. I waved my hands like a crazy person, and let my shoulders creep up to my neck.

“This is the entrepreneurial life, ” I asked. “right?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he held my wrists and told me to breathe. When I obliged, he made me breathe again. He led me through a meditation about an eagle in flight.

“Imagine an eagle learning how to fly…”

I breathed in deeply one more time. And then I cried. I didn’t sob or anything (we were in a restaurant), but I shed some quiet man tears and felt the feeling under my fear.

“What are you feeling?” He asked.

“Afraid. Afraid that if I stop moving, I will fall.”

“You’ve gotta trust that you know how to soar…”

Here’s the truth: we all get scared. It’s universal and good sense. If we didn’t get scared sometimes, we’d probably run into oncoming traffic. I’ve done some work around my fears and I can generally move through them, but here is what I learned last night:

We have to stand in the fear to overcome it. We don’t have to live there, but we have to acknowledge it’s presence if we are to recenter ourselves. We spend our lives keeping these uncomfortable feelings at bay. We (I?) get frantic, as if that will keep the fear at arms length. See we believe that if we ignore the fear and act quickly, we’re winning. Perhaps we are, but there must also be a moment where we turn around and face the beast. If you’re like me, you take a breath and have a cry. No matter the ritual, when we look fear in the face, it dissipates a bit. In its place we see ourselves, huddled in a corner begging for some kisses and a hug.

Go ahead…hug yourself.

It is a blessing to have someone who is compassionate with your fears, but we must learn to be compassionate with ourselves. Fear lets you know you’re in the vicinity of your desires. Fear lets you know you’re awake, alive, and living fully. I’m all about action in the face of fear, but yesterday I was reminded to have compassion for your scared parts ….

Then, of course, do what scares you anyway.

How are you compassionate for what’s scaring you today?