Choices Free Us from Fear
Traditional spiritual teachings tell us that the only true power a person has is the power of choice. Nowhere in the teachings does it say that one has to choose the right or correct thing. That concept doesn’t exist in the writings.
Choices bring a sense of empowerment that comes from deciding where to put one’s energy or focus, along with understanding why we are doing it. The more choices we make the more confidence we build because we always learn something new or get better at something.
Fear is the biggest hurdle to one’s own sense of empowerment because it can stop us from making choices and moving forward.
Of course, a certain amount of fear in the body is necessary. Fear of falling over a cliff when one gets too close to the edge is a good fear to have.
It’s the psychological fears of our past that keep us from taking action or moving forward that need to be confronted. Without this, fear controls our actions and our lives, and leaves one feeling powerless and uncertain.
All humans are riddled with fear. We fear failure, success, living, dying, being alone, and we even our own emotions. We fear change and the unknown, so we hold onto what we have, unwilling to let go and take a risk.
We become a prisoner of our fear in the same way that a bird who has lived its whole life in a cage may not fly out when the door is left open. It’s safe inside the cage.
We grow accustomed to letting fear dictate what we think life is because we believe it keeps us safe.
We never challenge the fear.
When a person becomes paralyzed in their decision-making process because they fear potential problems or unknown outcomes, they often enter into a state of denial and choose not to choose.
I recently tangled with a commonly held belief in my family that ‘Life is a challenge and by God, you better keep up or it will chew you up and spit you out.’
My associated fear with this belief is that Life is just too big, too complicated and I don’t have what it takes to make it. I’m not smart enough and I can’t keep up. I feel lost and defeated.
This fear flared up one day when I made a mistake while driving and almost caused an accident. The fear gripped me so strongly that I had to pull over. I was convinced that I no longer had the capacity to drive safely, I was a danger to society and I should just go back home where I couldn’t hurt anyone.
My reaction was over the top for the actual mishap, but that’s what fear can do. It can present itself as a very convincing non-truth. Though there was no crash or injury, the fear made me feel like I had just killed someone.
I clawed my way back to sanity by reminding myself that I had been driving safely for over forty years. Yes, I made a mistake, but no one was hurt and I too have avoided many potential accidents caused by another driver’s inattention.
Within minutes, I was able to regain my confidence and I made the choice to continue on with my errands. The fear soon dissipated.
Fear is based on protection and survival instincts that are all too often outdated and no longer relevant.
My fear attempted to push me into safety by the old ‘duck and cover’ technique which told me to run home, hide and never come out again. A sure-fire way to keep me and others safe, but not very practical for the long-term.
Trying to stay safe by staying still is considered a choice, but it’s also seen as a dangerous place because Life is not stagnant and it will not let one remain still for long.
Eventually Life will bring an event that forces a choice for those who choose not to choose.
One can feel victimized in these situations because it seems that Life is out to get them and they are left feeling powerless against these mighty forces.
Another reason people hesitate to move forward is because they don’t like the choices in front of them. This is understandable.
Unfortunately, crap or poop are sometimes our only options, but making a choice, any choice, is still better than not because when we choose, we don’t feel victimized.
Another common fear is the fear of making the wrong choice and having to live with that mistake for the rest of your natural life. This is another outdated fear that’s trying to keep us safe.
Even when we have to choose something crappy, it doesn’t mean forever because something different is going to come along soon and we can make another choice or go in another direction.
While our fears don’t ever go away, they don’t have to dictate our actions.
We always have the power to change our minds and the freedom to choose again, and again.