Don’t Run Away
One the one hand, it’s useful for survival purposes, as it keeps us safe.
Way back in the old caveman days, either fighting or flighting was both part of the same strategy, to not get killed or eaten.
One compels to avoid, one compels us to engage. If we are going to avoid, we have a sudden burst of energy to run away. If we choose to engage, we have a burst of energy to overcome whatever obstacle is in front of us.
A great modern day metaphor is public speaking. Or more generally speaking while being at the center of public attention.
If you’re out with your buddies or something, and suddenly everybody’s staring at you for some reason, you may choose the “flight” option. You wouldn’t actually run away, but you’d remove yourself from the center of attention any way you could. Make a quick joke, find somebody else to shift the attention to, etc.
On the other hand, you could choose to engage. Not start throwing punches, but accept the situation, and use your sudden burst of energy to make the best of it. Make your voice louder and more confident. Feel the energy rush through you and consciously channel it to something powerful and magnetic.
Now, this is NOT the way most people think about “fear.” They think it’s to be avoided at ALL COSTS. They spend their whole lives purposely getting into situations just so they can AVOID anything fearful or anxiety causing.
But like all of our other instincts that helped us survive in the past, this is something we need to deal with today.
Take hunger, for example. In the past, we ate as much as we could whenever we could. But if we tried that now, we wouldn’t be able to fit out of our front doors. So most of us have to “manage” our hunger. We are careful when we shop. We avoid certain foods, knowing they are bad for us.
But we also know that certain foods are good for us. And that eating is one of life’s great pleasures. Sharing a special meal with a special someone is a wonderful experience that many of us repeat as often as we can.
Fear, or that sudden pulse of energy can be the same way. Managed the same way. Used the same way. Enjoyed the same way.
Accept it. Embrace it. Use it as the tool it was meant to be.
Just don’t avoid it.