The Question –
Several weeks ago at our Wednesday service, I posed the question, “What causes us to please someone else at the expense of our own well-being?” There were a variety of answers, mostly centered around fear: fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, fear of upsetting someone. Which led another person to ask later, “Is fear always wrong?”
The Answer –
I believe fear is merely a human emotion, and we’ve learned to judge it as wrong and something to be avoided. Fear can serve us by seeing it as an indication something is trying to get our attention. The question is, what is trying to show us?
I wouldn’t walk down a dark alley in a dangerous part of town, let a perfect stranger in my home, pick up a hitchhiker I didn’t know, or walk in front of a bus coming down the street. Call that fear if you like; I’d call it “healthy” fear. I don’t think the majority of our fears – or experiences – fall into that category, though.
There is a difference between reacting to something in order to save/protect our life and limiting our experience of life out of fear we don’t deserve it, can’t have it, or all the other variety of fearful excuses we use to justify playing small and staying stuck in lives we don’t want.
If we pay attention to what the fear is trying to show us, we can use our fear instead of letting our fear use US. Is it going to save/protect your life (literally), or is it going to cause to you play small and limit your experience of the life you deserve?