Lean into Your Fear
It’s been 18 months since I’ve last flown. Before that, I got tanked to get on a plane. We’re talking lots of booze and pills to make it possible. Like, where-am-I-again drunk. Obviously, I don’t have that luxury anymore. And because I value my sobriety, I don’t have the luxury of taking a sweet little anti-anxiety pill any more either. That option went down with the ship.
So, I had to deal with my fear like a normal messed-up person. I went to therapy. My therapist told me something wonderful and amazing and completely rational.
Lean into your fear.
He told me when I was sitting on that flight and I got nervous to take a deep breath, take my left hand, put it on my right hand and pat it reassuringly. Then, he said, physically and mentally lean into your fear.
Well, along with a few EMDR sessions. I don’t want to discount that. It was a combination of techniques that got me through this. But it got me thinking about fear, a common thread I’ve come to find in my problems in sobriety. I drank to cover up my fear, and without the drink, the majority of discomfort in my life comes from trying to avoid fear and other negative emotions.
But this isn’t just a common trait among alcoholics, I’ve found. I was just talking to a friend earlier who is in a lot of fear over a big decision in her life. And my life coach just published a post on Brazen Careerist about overcoming your fear to literally rock your life.
As young people, in particular, we’re learning how to recognize our fears and overcome them. This is one such way to do just that. Instead of running away from the things that frighten you, instead of avoiding the uncomfortable situation, instead of not looking into the unknown, lean into your fear.
Get on the airplane and face the fear. You’ll overcome it.
Take the leap and move to a foreign country. You’ll never regret it.
Ask your boss for a raise. You’ll thank yourself.
Have the conversation you’ve been afraid of. You’ll be a better person for it.
Take a deep breath. Pat your own hand reassuringly.
Lean into the fear.
Once you’ve looked into it, it will vanish. And you’ll see it for all it is – fear.
As a friend of mine says, kiss that monster on the nose.