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The Proper Use of Fear

Fear is an important tool when used correctly. It is a primal signal to the brain to prevent harm to the body. The fear of fire is an instilled response that can be programmed one of two ways. Either someone has experienced being burned or someone they trust transfers their experience with fire onto them.

The process of reacting to fear is the brain acknowledging something that has previously harmed it. In a split moment the brain scans all past memory banks to recognize an incoming experience as dangerous. The sole purpose of fear is to prevent harm. It’s a great tool.

Fear is beneficial when dealing with the unknown. There’s danger in dealing with issues that there’s no outer experience with. The subtle perceptions of the self detect seemingly intangible warning signs for you to beware.

People should not delve into alternative practices without learning what is involved. They should learn all they can from an expert before moving forward. One should learn how not to “get burned” before proceeding. If something is intriguing, most likely, there is some kind of past experience with it in your memory banks. You may have mastered it in a past life. But if something is fearful, your own sense of self is telling you to stay away from it as a form of protection.

Practitioners of any kind should only be trusted when they pass the individual’s own subtle process of approval. When something is right or wrong for the individual, they should know it from the reaction in their “gut” or “heart”. These are two centers with subtle discerning mechanisms. Listening to your gut is a skill that may need to be relearned. Many individuals have muted this perception and have replaced outer data and opinions as a more accurate gauge.

Over-thinking muddles the use of the self-censor. It’s a form of using another person’s experiences to override the experiences from your own memory banks. We do this when we defer to professionals. This is fine to do as long as it doesn’t activate your gut feeling. That’s when we make choices for ourselves that “just don’t sit right”. We give over our power to the expert. The individual’s gut reaction is always the expert in their own affairs.

Children need to be taught to trust their own discerning mechanisms. When children are young, adults substitute their own experiences as a way of keeping them safe. But as they grow, they need to learn how to discern for themselves. Their experiences and life journey is different from the adults that guide them. They need to be respected as spiritual beings with their own spiritual mission.

Instilling fear in others is done constantly with religion, politics, culture, and families. The individual needs to recalibrate their gauge for knowing what is beneficial for themselves and what is not. The gauge for choosing everything in your life, down to the tiniest detail, should be how it resonates in your body. If it creates a tightness or a “knot” in the body then it’s probably not a good direction for you.

The goal is to have a lightness of being and a feeling of inner expansiveness with every decision of your life. Hone this body mechanism to take inventory of yourself and know where there are problems in your life where you have given over your power.

And if you get tightness in your body when you are around certain people, maybe it is the people themselves and not the experience you should avoid.

8 Comments on “The Proper Use of Fear

ToddWeissCFA
June 15, 2010 at 9:56 am

Interesting post. Most tend to view fear as a negative, however, when used properly it’s an effective tool to protect us from harm. I like how you talked about “gut” feel. This subconscious is your brain making a decision for you. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this concept in the book “Blink”. Although we don’t understand why our gut is telling us something is right or wrong, it’s best to listen to it. Chances are it’s the right decision.

Melody Lea Lamb
June 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm

What an interesting post! I love the idea that we should hon our “inner voice”. I think that’s true for not only emotions like fear but also in regard to our health. Perhaps if we learned to listen a little better to our bodies, we would be a much healthier society. I especially like the part of your post where you suggest we teach our children to listen to their “gut feelings”. As a mom of teenagers (in particular a teenage daughter) this rings especially true! Teens tend to be fearless and reckless, getting themselves into all kinds of tough spots. Learning to listen to their own inner voice and trusting it would go a long way in keeping them from harm.
Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom.
~Melody

@organicguru
June 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I think that if more people paid attention to the fear they feel, they would avoid all sorts of problems. It is a great reminder that we have built-in defense mechanisms to help us. We just need to learn to pay attention to them more often!

@zeadie
June 16, 2010 at 4:31 am

I don’t have kids yet, but I have a feeling that this will be exceedingly useful advice should I ever decide to. My gut feeling helps me avoid a lot of messes, and I don’t think I would be able to do my job properly without it. Then again, i’m pretty paranoid, so I always go in and double check my work. Great article Jen!

Ken Ring
June 16, 2010 at 8:07 am

Hey Jen,

Great post as usual. I have a question though. It seems that if we hold firm to this process of avoiding those things that give us fear or nervousness we would miss out on a lot of opportunities for growth. As an example, as I was growing up I was very shy and it was difficult to speak to people I didn’t know (especially the opposite sex!). Through various jobs and experiences, I was forced to learn to speak to people and even became somewhat good at dealing with angry customers. I never did get very good at talking to women. :0)

Thanks Jen! Take care.

auntjen
June 16, 2010 at 11:21 am

That is a very good point. What my sense is that even though it may have been great to be less shy, those componants of you formed you into who you are. Maybe the aspect of you that knows what is best for you, instilled the shy mechanism as a form of protection for you. It may have been the way for you to more readily live your purpose.

Also, there may be deep issues of why someone alienates themself. Maybe they are working through past life issues of being isolated. Maybe like in the case of a lepper or an untouchable. There are many componants of understanding ourself. That is why we shouldn’t be too hard on ourself or others. Because we can’t even fathom the journey that got them to the present point.

Thanks so much! I hope this helps.

Daniel C White
July 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Hey Jen, I talk about this topic frequently ever since I watched a specific Oprah episode regarding your instincts. You know how an animal will immediately run away or charge at the sign of fear? Well we have they same instinct, but we choose not to utilize it because of what we “feel” someone will think of us, even if it cost us our own lives. Needless to say, I’m listening to my instincts now days more than ever.

auntjen
July 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm

That is awesome. It is great to differentiate between instinct and gut feeling. Instinct may be a trigger of a primal memory where instinct may come from a higher awareness within ourselves. It’s very subtle but very affective in recognizing the difference. Thanks so much. It is wonderful to receive such thoughtful feedback.

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