Here is The One Thing That Overcomes Fear
When fear creeps into the moment, what is one thing that overcomes it?
As I was listening to the radio this morning, I half-heard something that caught my ear, meaning the part I did hear made me want to catch the part I knew I had missed.
I listened on more intently, hoping the host would reference the thought again.
A few minutes later, there it was:
“When you are unable to access your hopes, you live in your fears.”
(Shankar Vedantam, “Hidden Brain” podcast, NPR, Oct.15, 2018)
Now that I had heard the complete message, it engulfed me while at the same time forcing myself to consider what the heck it means.
My first reaction was, “Yes! Exactly!”.
But then I thought, “Exactly what? Why are these words captivating my mind and time?”
I began to break it down.
To my mind, it is saying that when you are able to access your hopes, you live from the perspective and space of possibility, expectation and confidence.
Your actions, thoughts and words are rooted in embracing the potential for a desired outcome.
Your outlook is one of anticipation. There may be a few bumps in the road, but ultimately you just KNOW it is going to work out.
An atmosphere of courage and confidence is created. There is a promise in the air that you can feel and imagine coming to fruition.
In this hope-fueled space, there is little room or need for fear to be the driving force.
Conversely, when you are not able to access your hopes; when they always seem just out of reach or impossibly shattered; you live from the perspective and space of despair, trepidation and uncertainty.
Your actions, thoughts and words are rooted in bracing for the foreboding, undesired outcome.
Your outlook is one of dread. There may be a few high points along the way, but ultimately you just KNOW this too will be a letdown.
An atmosphere of anxiety and doubt is created. There is apprehension, distress and worry in the air, and you cannot imagine any desires coming to fruition.
In this hope-deprived space, fear takes over and becomes the driving force.
Do not get me wrong, both perspectives have the potential to lead to desired outcomes, but the driving force influences your thoughts, words and actions along the way. It is prudent to be aware of where you are coming from.
So how does this play out in real life?
On a small scale, this dance of accessing hope and/or living in your fears is played out many times a day.
Where you land on this spectrum is often determined by the specific situation, how profound of an impact it will have on you, and your general body/mind health.
Hoping to hear the radio show statement again was a means of convenience for me.
I knew I could look it up online and re-listen to the whole podcast if the statement had not come up again. I knew I could access my hopes, so there was no reason to live in my fears for this particular situation.
Putting together a new website one year ago was a dance of living in my own fears.
Left to my own knowledge and motivation, I mired myself down with fears of not knowing where to begin, what content would be best on each page, how to make it all flow, how best to represent my focus through color, images and words, and what to even call my newly-focused site.
All I felt I knew is that I could not do it. I had lost hope in myself and my fears took over.
My site sat idle for many months.
It would have remained so, had two rays of hope not shone through: they are named Sheila and Zac.
They broke down this seemingly overwhelming task into bite-sized chunks for me, nurturing and encouraging me to access my hope with each step we took together, and before I knew it, I (or should I say, “we”) had a new website.
Careers, daily life and relationships with family, friends and partners are all impacted by your ability to access your hopes or your need to live in your fears.
I bet you have stories of your own situations in which you were able to access your hopes and which you were driven by your fears; or where you were the source of hope for someone else, or they you.
On a grander scale, take a look at our world: look around at those you interact with throughout the day - what are they doing, saying, and thinking?
Do their actions, words and thoughts indicate feelings that they have access to their hopes, or that they are living from their fears?
Turn on any news show and you will hear of attacks (verbal and physical), racial, ethnic and religious conflicts, political tensions, economic controversies, environmental disputes, and the list goes on.
In the black-or-white world of today, where there is so little middle ground, the challenge is real to remain centered around your hopes and not fall into the disillusionment of your fears.
When you feel desperate to be heard and acknowledged it is easy for fear to take over.
When you feel your way of life or your loved ones to be threatened it is easy for fear to take over.
When you feel you have lost control of your own path it is easy for fear to take over.
A soul living in fear may not be who you are deep down, but it may be who you feel you need to be to survive the moment.
Yes, the challenge is real.
If you see someone living in their fears, consider offering them a ray of hope.
It may be as easy as a smile or a word of encouragement, and it may just be enough to help them believe in the accessibility of their hopes again.
The dance between accessing hope and living in your fears is not always a graceful one.
However through this dance connections are made, support and guidance are shared, and just the act of participating is a sign of the power of hope.
“I hope there are days when your coffee tastes like magic, your playlist makes you dance, strangers make you smile, and the night sky touches your soul. I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive.”
~ Brooke Hampton
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If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).