It’s an introspective journey, learning how to recognize and accept fear while accessing courage and safety through qualities such as tenderness, kindness, acceptance, and tolerance. Pay close attention to your tone of voice as you acknowledge fear and connect it with your yearning for courage in your mind and heart. Guide yourself toward a compassionate tone that acknowledges fear as perfectly natural, ensuring that fear does not control your mind and heart. Accept fear as it is while remaining focused on the words, tone, and actions required to steer yourself in a courageous direction. True courage encompasses elements of fear and coexists with brave thoughts, guidance, and qualities.
It is crucial to identify the fears that have had the most significant impact on you and evaluate your responses to them. You can begin to cultivate tolerance and acceptance of these fears, understanding that they will not overpower you. Recognize that we all experience fear when something important triggers this kind of reaction, and you possess the tools to guide yourself toward courage and safety. Embrace fear by tolerating, accepting, and appreciating it, and lead yourself with a prayer-like quality towards courage.
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Awareness That Heals, Episode 109.
The Awareness That Heals Podcast helps its listeners learn to develop the capacity to have a more healing response to emotions and situations rather than becoming stuck. Your host, Robert Strock, has practiced psychotherapy for more than 45 years. He wrote the book “Awareness: That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges” to help develop self-caring and the capacity to respond in an effective way to life’s challenges, especially at times when we are most prone to be critical or to withdraw. Together, we will explore how to become aware of our challenging feelings and at the same time find alternative ways to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life.
Robert Strock (00:47):
Thanks again for joining us at Awareness That Heals where we’re focusing, as best we can, and bringing heart and wisdom to life’s challenges and obviously, you are the key. We’re focusing on you bringing your own challenging feelings and how to bring your heart and wisdom to greet them and to support your life. We start again and again by being aware of what’s most difficult for us and recognizing these difficulties are universal. It’s not like we have personal problems and that we’re really screwed up. This is the human condition where we start, whether we recognize that or not, and how can we care for ourselves at these critical times because most of us haven’t been taught this at any stage of our lives. Today, we’re going to focus on a specific set of emotions to help guide you toward how you can be aware and accepting of fear and learn how to move toward courage at the same time.
Then we’ll do a guided meditation that will help you experience how you can express yourself without being disempowered by the fear and steer yourself toward the many ways to develop courage. It’s what so much of humanity has not been able to do, and developing this capacity has great implications not only for your quality of life, and those you love, but also is a massive contribution by modeling what is needed to our world as well. Awareness of your feelings and needs is the starting point of neutralizing potentially devastating consequences when we are just left being absorbed in feelings that sabotage our life like fear. This is designed to give you a chance to do a guided meditation with you in the center to give you practice how to honor your fear and let it guide you toward one of the essential qualities in life. Real courage. As we begin this, just notice your rhythm of breathing and let it just be as relaxed as possible and that will allow you to let in the information not only in your head, but maybe penetrate a bit more deeply, and as you do this, let yourself imagine a time or times when you most have felt fear.
Now again, this is a universal feeling, and fear is a great teacher, if we respect it and it doesn’t have the end word or it’s not a monopoly or we don’t stay stewed in it and look for times where the fear has a tendency to reoccur in your life because that’s what’s going to be most helpful to have another step when this goes on multiple times. This may be stimulated by challenges that you’re facing, perhaps your health, your quality of life for a variety of reasons, personal communication with your partner that’s gone south or perhaps something connected to your career. So many ways that we can be afraid, but see if it intuitively makes sense to you that every time you really face a new hurdle, you’re stretching, you’re going to a new level of something that’s out of your control, that this is the most likely time where fear will reside.
Now if you really look at this, it means that people who are challenging themselves the most are going to experience more fear, and that’s like a gold star on your refrigerator for you to see that, ah, I’m afraid again and now I have a chance to bring courage or at times safety, which are the needs, I can find ways to soothe myself while the fear is there. Just start off and see does this make sense to you that it’s not about getting over the fear, and it’s certainly not about suppressing the fear, it’s about adding the question of how can I access courage? Starting with your mind or your intelligence or your wisdom and allowing the fear and allowing them to co-mingle, take as much time as you need to find and sense your fear because we’re not looking for you just to intellectually identify the fear better that you have somewhat of a sense in your body of what it’s like to be shaky in some way because then it’s more real, you’re taking it in more deeply.
And see if you can see a pattern where when this occurs or doesn’t occur, that’s when the fear comes. Now, most of us have a tendency to believe, oh no, I don’t want to feel fear because it’s like a cesspool or bottomless pit, but what we’re talking about is it being a stimulus for courage, and so you want to train yourself to have much more of an, oh, good, I can see my fear rather than, oh shit, I have fear, and now I’m screwed. Now this sincere inner voice that cares for you, which is required, which is a voice that says, how can I care for you? That’s your sincere inner voice that’s asking that warm-hearted question, so take some time and do this and recognize that for most of us, it’s going to take a while before this starts to feel natural or organic, and don’t be discouraged if this is just a beginning for you.
In fact, appreciate the fact that you’re on a new journey, so no matter where it is for you, it’s always good news to link fear and courage. And not to believe you have to get rid of the fear, but also not to let it be a monopoly. It can be like a prayer that whenever I’m in fear, you’re wishing like you would in an informal prayer that I can find ways to access my courage. And sometimes it’s qualities like tenderness or kindness or acceptance or tolerance, all of those are going to help you move toward the courage and notice your tone as you’re seeing the fear and you’re linking it with courage. Notice whether your tone is friendly, whether it’s removed, whether it’s critical, and steer yourself toward a tone that cares for you. Recognize the fear as perfectly natural and that you’re aspiring to not give the fear a way to run your mind and your heart.
You’re going to accept it, and that means there’s a part of you that is watching it, that is capable of branching away from the fear and being the one that can accept it, that can tolerate it. I see you, I tolerate you, I accept you. You accept the fear as it is, and at the same time or as close as possible, you stay focused on the courage and the words and the tone and the actions that are needed to move you in a courageous direction. And even if you can’t move the fear at all at first, at least you’re setting up the framework where your awareness, your thoughts, your wisdom are recognizing I want to move this fear toward courage and I’m not getting grandiose thinking, I can just wipe out the fear. The biggest danger of making this move is believing that you shouldn’t have fear. You should be able to get over it. Real courage has elements of fear still there and has courageous thoughts and guidance and qualities that coexist with it.
Now, let yourself get ready for the guided meditation. Guided meditation is for so many people the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest and bring your own experience to the guided meditations, you’ll give yourself the best chance to change longstanding patterns from suffering toward a state of well-being, peace, and healing. It’s important to put yourself in a comfortable body position, in a private space where you’re not disturbed. Turn off your phone and be ready to really be alert. So take a few moments, maybe even minutes, and put your hand on your heart if you feel comfortable. If you feel more comfortable, just imagine your heart and put your attention there, knowing you wish to bring tenderness to your heart. And anchor this by finding a breathing pattern that feels soothing to you.
Ask yourself, where has fear most existed in your life? Because it’s critical that you really identify the fears that have most affected you. Being able to sense it, maybe even have a little bit of the tremble means you’re going deeply enough into it that it helps make a deeper imprint inside, not only your conscious mind, but your unconscious mind. And you’re looking to see if you can have a response when you identify the fear that you appreciate it, maybe you’d have to start off with tolerating it or accepting it, but after a while, you realize, if I can see my fear clearly, I’m so glad that it’s not going to unconsciously rule me, and I have a chance to be able to ask those critical questions of how can I care for myself? How can I soothe myself? What qualities do I need to help move me toward the courage and the strength that will allow my fear to guide me?
Do you recognize that all of us and you feel the fear because there’s something important that’s there that stimulates that reaction? If there’s a snake out there and you’re afraid of it, your safety is very important. If you’re afraid you can’t communicate with your lover, then that’s very important. Fear comes because it’s a symbol of importance. The more you get that, the more respect you’ll have for any fear that you have, and when you start to realize you have a tool that’s going to guide you in the direction toward courage or safety, you’ll be more bold and more qualitatively accepting the fear itself.
You may even say something like, may I have the courage to feel the fear and humbly accept it and inquire what would I think? What can I do to support myself to move toward courage, and how do I access as much of the quality of courage as possible? Now, that’s a mouthful, but hopefully, you’re getting the meaning. I want to embrace my fear, tolerate it, accept it, appreciate it as much as possible, and then guide myself with this prayer-like quality of I want to move toward courage. Now, I think if you look honestly in your life, you’ll see that fear usually has more of a monopoly. It’s not on automatic pilot that you have this caring impulse that knows it wants to guide you toward courage or safety, or at least toward being kind toward the fear at first, so you can then make that extra move toward the courage and safety.
This is not a John Wayne movie where you just throw away the fear and you just go straight to courage. This is a very real-to-life recognition that fear is hardwired in all of us. We are all mortal beings. We’re all going to face illness, we’re all going to face deep losses, so we’re all going to have fear, and we’re not going to just click, make it go away. What we can do is embrace it and then recognize the second step of this questioning and guiding ourselves to the immediate thoughts like it’s natural to have fear. It’s really okay that I have fear. I want to do something with this fear. I want to move in a direction towards courage with this fear and that you start to have a tandem reaction, an inclusive reaction that’s going to guide you toward the qualities that are going to most help you really take care of yourself when you’re afraid.
So take a look again. Does this make sense to you? If it makes sense to you, you’re going to want to bring these together, going to want to really embrace your fear. You’re going to want to find that question of how can I take care of myself? In the beginning, those thoughts are critical, that it’s okay that I have the fear and I want to move in this direction. That’s the starting point. It’s not the endpoint, but it’s the critical starting point. If there’s no fear in your life, that means the stakes in your life are very low, and it’s pretty likely you’re living a life that’s really clinging to safety, so it’s a badge of honor if you have fears, especially the ones that are new, because it means you’re stretching in life.
I want to repeat what’s really like an informal prayer. May I embrace my fear with as much reverence and trust, maybe even appreciation as possible, and at the same time, ask the question, how can I move toward courage or at times toward safety? Can you feel a rhythm, a sense of an informal prayer to your conscious mind and really you’re also speaking to your unconscious mind because your unconscious mind, the part of you that you’re not aware of can be reached when you say something to yourself over and over and over again. It imprints you, which will make it much more likely that when you’re afraid there’ll be an automatic reflex that’s being developed, a groove that’s being developed, that’s asking that question, how can I move toward courage?
May you do this to your capacity and plant seeds to continue to remember each time fear enters your life. See if you can see how this allows you not to be afraid of the fear. It’s natural to be afraid of the fear and then to withdraw if you think that’s a dead end, but when you know that your fear can be a catalyst toward you developing courage, you’re going to be so much more inclined to welcome the fear and then to welcome the question. This is my wish for you, for all of us, so that we can live a life where we accept our human side and this case fear, and we guide ourselves toward a dignified courage that allows both feeling and this quality to coexist together. May this be so more and more for your life.
So notice where does this leave you? Are you in touch, and do you have a sense of the high stakes of being aware of your capacity to accept fear or your capacity to reject fear and channel the energy toward courage in whatever situation you’re facing? It’s opening up the possibility. Maybe we could even say the probability. Maybe we could even say the high probability of changing your capacity to find real strength and courage. Again, take a couple seconds, oh, if I accept the fear and I ask the question, it’s increasing the chances for me to move in terms of my courage, and that means you might initiate a communication. That means you might go to the doctor. That means you might communicate with your lover about what you’re most afraid of to do with your sex life. Fear can paralyze you or can inspire you depending on whether you ask the question, and then when you get the answer of how to access courage, you then will be led to what are the steps. What are the actions, what are the attitudes? What are the thoughts that you need to develop so that courage can be more the central part of your experience while you’re still accepting your fear? And this is my dearest greatest wish for all of you and for all of us in this troubled world we find ourselves. And it’s one of the key things that will unite the best part of our inner world that will help the outer world as well. Thank you.
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