“In those times when I am surrounded by fear, my mind is backwards, inside out and upside down. I look outside myself for light because the clouds inside me block my view. All I see is darkness and fret and vulnerability in there. I feel scared down to the core of my being- a dread that is so materialized that I can feel it coursing through my blood. Panic right into the core of my being.”
Have you ever been scared? I have, and it feels just like the quote above. Luckily, I don’t trust this vision or this feeling, as somehow I know that it is not the truth. Fear, anxiety, worries are never true, but just an experience (albeit an intense and difficult experience). It is only because I understand the falseness of fear, that I can look for another’s perception and guidance to help me through. Reaching out for support is an act of self determination, not an act of weakness.
When I am scared, there is nothing like reassurance to keep me tethered to a sense of calm. I look for it in the faces of my loved ones, in their voices, and gestures. I hear it in the words of poets and inspirational writers. I reach for the light in their response, and that light reminds me who I am and that all of it will be OK. I thank God for their wisdom, unending support, and steady confidence in me.
When we are scared, we are looking for the sacred. I find it interesting that they two have the same letters: sacred and scared. Sacred comes from the Latin word “sacrum” meaning “of the gods” or “in the gods’ power.” Sacred is often used to describe something that is precious to us, that which we give great value to. I have come to know it as not only that which we love, but as love itself.
When we are afraid, we fear losing something sacred to us, basically fearing loss of love. Some people say that there is only two emotions love and fear: fear is the absence of love and love is the absence of fear. Scared and sacred are two sides of a coin. One can be understood through the other. The good news is that we are given these two options and when that coin is tossed in the air, we can interact with it and help it land with the sacred on top.
One way is to seek help from your community. Many people look outside themselves when they are scared –to someone who can help them: a parent, a spouse, a friend, sibling or Spirit. This can be wonderfully dismissing of the fear, and uplifting of the person. It is through this outside person or Spirit that we can reconnect with ourselves. Our loved ones help show us the sacred within us–the love and goodness that we are. They see our light and reflect it back to us. They are a witness to our holiness and through them we can bare witness to our Selves. It can heal us on many levels and help us sustain this healing.
Unfortunately, there are times when this is misinterpreted. That loved one might see this “needing reassurance” as a symptom of the fear rather than a protest to it. They might see it as a result of “giving into the fear,” but this is far from it.
For example, I am working with a woman who is recovering from an eating disorder. She is doing well, but sometimes is triggered by something she ate and becomes afraid. She turns to her husband to ask if it was OK that she ate it. He gets frustrated because he sees this as regression back into the illness. (Understandably so.) This, when shared with her, increases her shame and decreases her confidence in herself since this means, she is “not doing well.”
But, what if we saw her questioning in a different light? What if he knew that in those moments of worry, she knew she couldn’t trust the fear, that the view in her head was cloudy. Yet, she knew she could ground herself by getting assistance to find her light (her Self- the goodness in her outside the eating disorder) from someone she trusted.
There has to be both a desire to stand up to the eating disorder, and a knowledge that what the eating disorder says is not true, for her to ask for reassurance. When she was heavy into her problem, the fear would have such a Truth Status that she wouldn’t question it, and getting help would have been against the rules.
So her asking for reassurance, is a positive step. It is an act of recovery–progress! It is not weak to seek assistance, it is a search for the sacred, a request to confirm that love exists. It means that she is taking action against the eating disorder not succumbing to it. So what if her husband knew this. Reassured her, but also gave her kudos for this protest? This would make a big difference to her recovery. And it would help him, too.
The people who love us feel so helpless when we are afraid. They see our suffering and lament that they cannot take it away. Knowing that his reassurance and kudos help her can heals his worry, too. He feels helpful, and acknowledged for his contribution, rather than helpless. It is a win-win situation.
When I am scared, and the fearful energy is coursing through my veins, I close my eyes and juxtapose the letters, interact with the coin, connect with someone to help it land on the sacred and peacefulness fills my body again.
Jodi Lobozzo Aman is a counselor from Rochester, NY who blogs at www.healnowandforever.net. By subscribing to her blog you are sent a free audio guided meditation.
If you liked this maybe you’d like other articles by Jodi:
Irrational Fear or Skills in Safety
Light Is the Only Absolute
Don’t Should On Yourself
How Do We Know We Are Done Healing?
You Are Either Right or You Are Happy
Pushing Through Fear to the Adventure Beyond
You Can’t Change Your Past? Oh Yes You Can!