The sad truth is that the entire world’s population lives in fear in some or all aspects of their lives.
Some of us acknowledge some of our fears some of the time. But seeing our fear doesn’t mean that we deal with it healthily. In fact, most of us feel justified in our fears and demand, be it covertly or overtly, that our environment and the people in our lives make allowances for our fear driven limitations.
Then there are those of us who live in complete denial of large amounts of fear about any number of things at any given time. Denial is a perceived sanctuary and many people reinforce the barricades of the castle and pull up the drawbridge over which truth may have passed. Routines and addictions mask any sensation of fear, numbness becomes the norm, and even though the supposed ‘sanctuary’ can feel cold and damp at times, the real issue of fear is never mentioned and life is branded as normal.
We deny or diminish what scares us because in our souls we are actively resisting and suppressing the sensation of fear. This is how we choose to use our will.
And to aid us in the quest for avoidance we choose and create addictions, and attract relationships to help us navigate our days and unless we are sensitive or aware we rarely notice that the way we are, the way we do, the way we be is less about our real self and more about the escape from fear.
This willingness to live in fear is an affliction that inhibits growth on a global scale. It removes us from our true selves, it creates illness and suffering, it limits joy and discovery. And yet, I notice that most of us, when faced with this simple truth, wish to deny responsibility for our choice in this matter. We might acknowledge the affliction but want no part of the cure.
We resist the truth that living in fear and its multitude of negative consequences has come about through the exercise of our own free will.
What Does It Mean “Living in Fear”?
Living in fear or living by fear is very different to feeling our fears.
Living in fear means that we allow the fear within us to guide and dictate our actions, our interests, our relationships, our work, our pleasure, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the programme we watch on TV.
Every action, inaction, decision and indecision is made with the direct purpose of preventing the experience of fear. In other words, we are constantly responding to fear rather than simply allowing ourselves to experience it as a feeling. Fear becomes our evil task master – literally.
It is very difficult to know and discover our true selves when we live in fear since in this state our desires are limited to things that do not trigger fear. What we commonly associate with the sensation of ‘happiness’ is actually a lot more to do with a sense of relief at avoiding fear and having addictions met than any pure experience.
The truth is that as we suppress fear we simultaneously strangle desire and most of us, most of the time, prize the avoidance of fear above the exploration of our wildest dreams and deepest passions. We rarely pause to consider what we would be interested in or inspired by if fear was not a daily part of life.
And while living in fear can come to feel routine and normal it actually requires a great deal of vigilance, effort and control. Whether we realise it or not, when we live in fear all our systems are alert and geared towards its prevention. We walk through life sapped of our vitality and never experience our full potentials for energy and creativity.
Living in fear ages us and limits us. But even more than that, because we honour its prevention above anything else, fear becomes our God, our ruler, the dictator who drives our decisions and assessments. In this state, we are apt to abandon morality and ethics and even rational thought if it means that we can allay fear. In other words, unless we are willing to be humble to the feeling of fear we will become horrible, unloving people when fear is triggered.
Living in fear damages not only ourselves but the world and the people around us. It is the reason we stand idly by when bad things happen. It means we bow to the threats of people who are clearly unloving, thus lowering our own condition and the potentials for love in the immediate environment.
The nursing and retaining of fear is one of the major causes of all evil and unloving behaviour in the world.
Living in fear keeps us silent and inactive when love would compel us to speak and to act.
Living in fear means we begin to prefer error to truth.
While we justify not feeling fear we are automatically going to be unloving and contribute to the evil in the world in our daily activities and through our interactions with others.
There is always a choice between humility to fear and the resistance to and suppression of it. And each time we choose suppression and resistance we employ means, methods and emotions that are out of harmony with love to do it. We purposefully choose to use our will to NOT love, to NOT be ethical, to NOT be truthful, to NOT be moral, and each time we do this we are seeding evil on this planet.
Unfortunately we do this everyday.
And when we commiserate with fear and make allowances for the fear in others we only continue to foster conditions that lead to more evil and suffering.
Signs We Are Living In Fear
- We structure our lives to avoid situations that challenge us physically, emotionally or spiritually
- We avoid situations and people that challenge our belief systems
- We feel disconnected from our personality
- We feel tired often
- We get angry when challenged or things change unexpectedly
- We are controlling of people or our environment
- We lament our ‘inability’ to do things, to create, or to feel our feelings
- We sense fear and get angry or we sense fear and go rigid or freeze
- We suppress our desires. We might say things like “I don’t know what my passions are”, “I’m not sure what I truly desire or want from life”.
- We discuss our fears frequently
- We expect others to make allowances for our fears
- We justify unloving behaviour due to our ‘special circumstances’ when we become afraid
- We have difficulty making decisions. We procrastinate. We deny the need for action in our lives, we resist change.
- We make jokes about our fears or the fears of others. We make fun of people who display fear.
- We obsess about how others view us or how people feel about us.
- We judge people or situations often
- We stay busy – we resist spending time with ourselves doing nothing
- We can’t be ourselves in front of groups of people – instead we resort to façade or we freeze up
- We use as many addictive behaviours as possible
- We live in denial and resort to wishful thinking about our progress and personal development.
- We seen reassurance often
- We distract ourselves from our true fears by inventing ‘fears’ we feel we can manage (emotions of self-deception)
Note: There are many more signs that could be added to this list. These are just some examples.
Most of us are in denial of just how many things frighten and terrify us.
I used to exist largely oblivious of what frightened me. I just didn’t think about it, instead I acted to avoid it and I had addictions that helped me do that.
Coming out of denial can happen as we attract events that make it impossible to deny fear any longer, like say meeting your soulmate who is Jesus (smile).
Or we can take a more pro-active approach by examining our lives truthfully.
We can for example look for three key flags that point to our living in fear:
This includes physical avoidance of situations, people and events. It also refers to (perhaps) less obvious avoidances which include every attempt we make to minimise, justify and shift the blame in relation to our fear.
2. Attempts to control & manipulate
This includes control and manipulation of our environment, other people, our children, animals, and spirits. Any time at all that you have the desire to control or influence the will of another away from what they truly desire you are acting in fear rather than feeling it.
This includes any sense of frustration, annoyance or irritability all the way up to outright rage, verbal and physical violence.
Examine the situations, habits, events and relationships which you either avoid, attempt to control or that trigger your anger. In every case you will find that you are living in a fear.
Awareness – It’s Not Enough
We can live in fear and avoid all awareness of our feelings by meeting addictions and controlling our experience and environment. But even after gaining an awareness of our fears, we can continue to live in them if we carry on doing as they command.
We can be aware that we are afraid of certain things but if our physical and emotional choices are still motivated by the desire to prevent the actual confrontation of fear no soul change has occurred. We will continue to live in fear unless we begin to make choices to challenge the messages fear gives us.
I notice many people who say that they have decided to ‘feel their emotions’ are still basing their life choices on fear – which demonstrates that they are not yet challenging their fears. The scope of their lives, limited by fear’s dictate, does not expand and this is proof of living in fear.
Another way I notice many of us not shifting into releasing fear is that we begin to have a sensation of fear or anxiety, but then not let it overwhelm us completely.
Many people live in a constant state they call feeling afraid but are actually just living in fear.
In reality they have slight sense of the feeling, allow it for a little while, feel it’s ‘all too much’ or ‘that’s enough now’ and then do one of two things:
1. Act to suppress it by controlling external circumstances or people
e.g. changing the subject, distracting oneself with a chore or the internet, leaving a situation
2. Shut Down the emotional sensations of fear internally in an attempt to manage or control its expression and prevent overwhelm
e.g. becoming harsh and judgemental of the experience of fear, panicking, intellectually attempting to analyse what the fear is about
While we try to keep the feeling at bay like this we aren’t truly experiencing it and therefore fear won’t dissipate.
While it’s important to recognise the problem of fear and even write a fear list, don’t kid yourself that self-awareness means soul changes. Becoming more aware of our fears and deciding to ‘feel our emotions’ doesn’t mean that we have stopped living in fear.
Really Releasing Fear
First things first, these things are essential:
1. Stop kidding yourself that you are dealing with fears if your life and relationships remain the same
2. Notice how often and in what ways your actions, decisions and opinions are guided by fear
Then in order to change, start to do the opposite of what fear commands, seek ways to challenge fear and, surrender to the experience of the fear that comes as a result.
In order for fear to dissipate it must be experienced emotionally. There are no shortcuts.
Here are some words from my soul mate on this matter:
“I have had to process through a lot of fear myself. My fears were intense, and many times I thought that the effect of it would kill me. But I always felt relief after my experiences. I learnt that we need to do a number of things if we want to get through fear:
1. Always allow the experience of it.
2. Do not go ‘out of body’, do not go away from the experience, do not try to run away. Going ‘out of body’ only allows spirits to take over the body, and running away only increases the fear.
3. Deep breathe all of the time during the experience. Never stop breathing diaphragmatically. This assists you to stay in your body.
4. Have faith in God, and pray for God’s assistance to not only stay in your body, but also to help you go through the experience. Always pray from your heart.
I found that when I did these things, I always got through the fear, even though the pain was very intense, and lasted up to 4 hours at a time, and sometimes longer. Also, once I was through the experience, I allowed myself to sleep, and I looked after myself. Because I allowed the experience, the next experience was always shorter. If your next experience is not shorter, then you are doing one of the above things incorrectly.”
Understanding the Power of Choice
Fear when left unchallenged pervades our life.
By living in fear we are agreeing to the lie that we really do have things to be afraid of and that love is not the most powerful force in the Universe.
Sadly, the more we tell ourselves these falsehoods and live our lives according to them, the more fear grows.
By avoiding dealing with fear we are avoiding the potentials that love and truth can bring to our lives and to our planet.
Conversely, as soon as we stop living in fear, it will begin to loosen its hold on our lives. We begin to feel more freedom and joy. We make room for Truth.
As we begin to experience fear this liberates our true self and opens up our heart to desire and possibilities previously subdued.
To overcome fear I believe it is necessary for each of us to recognise the individual power for change that God has granted us through the gift of free will. We can harness that gift, and use our will to love.
In fact, it is only through the engagement of our will in opposition to the fear that we currently allow to govern our planet and our lives, that deep, true and lasting fulfilment becomes possible. And through this same use of will we cease supporting the fear in others, which actually assists them towards the possibility of personal fulfilment as well.
Fear fights for itself, it justifies inaction, and it makes us experts at excusing our lack of love. Unless we challenge fear and the hold we’ve given it over our lives, we have no hope of change.
Even the smallest choices made in fear send ripple effects that impact not only ourselves but our environment, our children and those people around us and carry on for longer and in more ways than we can currently conceive of. And each time we make these fear-based choices we reinforce fears commands, we live in the lie and we create more inertia to challenge and confront when we do finally decide to choose love.
We are exercising our will to make choices in relation to fear minute by minute, day by day. The cessation of life lived in fear does not depend on any external circumstance, event or person. It is in our hands alone and depends upon only one thing – the personal choice to cease listening to fear and instead to use our will in the direction of love, truth and ethics. Without making courageous choices that grow integrity to principles such as these, feeling emotions is not only useless but the emotions felt are not those which will heal us.
Yet when we are willing to be steadfast and humble as we challenge fear, emotions will begin to flow from us. Change will happen.
I encourage you to examine your choices- these precious expressions of will. They can be your catalyst for change and growth or simply a manifestation of excuses made to live in fear.