The Way To Relating, Part 5: Fear Vs Panic


Fear that is repressed turns to panic, learn how to overcome and control your mind

My recent articles have been discussing the natural emotions (sadness, love, anger, envy, fear) and their unnatural counterparts (chronic depression, possession, rage, jealousy, panic). This is the last article in my series of 5 and will focus on the emotion of fear. Then intent in writing on each of the natural emotions is to help you to stay in touch with what is the most real about you. If we can learn to communicate from the natural emotion, so much of the conflict in our lives would dissipate. Emotions are feelings/energies in movement. The emotions by their natural design are meant to be ‘passing-through energies. They come up because they are meant to come out and be released. They are not designed to stick and cause states of chronic suffering.

The natural emotions are simple in design and purpose, and each of them is meant to help us to grow. Sadness is the way we release and heal, love is designed to help us to be more and more of who we are to the Self and others, anger is our right to say ‘no thank you,’ envy is the inspiration to be a better person, and fear is the energy which makes us move and grow. Fear is our most evolutionary response. Its simple design is to make us so uncomfortable that we are forced to make the necessary changes we need to make to grow as people. If we avoid our fears, we stagnate and become panic-ridden. Fear is a pressure. It is a pressure to change. When we repress our fears we stagnate and work against our most basic evolutionary goals.

Sadly, fear that is repressed turns to panic. Panic often becomes a chronic state of being. This is unnatural. We are an anxiety and panic-ridden culture. We are also prescribed psychotropic medications more than any other culture. Prescription medications are now causing many deaths amongst us each year, more than ever before. Fear is the emotion that most holds us back. It holds us back from achieving, from changing, from living, from loving, from learning, from maturing, from becoming whole. Or, fear can be used as the inspiration and driving fuel to promote us forward in all those areas.

Two facts: fear equals change and change is uncomfortable. The more afraid of change we become the more chronic our state of panic will become. Panic creates a state of emergency and this is what we avoid. In an effort to avoid our fears we become ‘controlling’ people and we fight to keep everything the same because we are comfortable in what we know. Yet, controlling people are full of panic because life and people by design are unpredictable. Fear’s requirement is an open mind, surrender and flexibility. Its intended purpose is movement, personal growth and expansion. Those who are chronically rigid are considered mentally ill; those who are flexible are considered mentally healthy. The rigid are considered mentally ill because they cannot move with the flow of life, the emotions, their relationships, their jobs etc. They used many techniques to stay stagnate from blaming others, making excuses, forgetting, and wanting everyone around them to change. Panic-ridden people do not think they need to change they think the world needs to change.

Healthy people aren’t much different than those who have panic disorders. The difference is that healthy people feel the fear and do it anyway. Facing fears requires a fair amount of flexibility and creativity. Since friction or unease is inevitable in life, our minds have to be capable of keeping up with change and adapting to the unexpected. Friction is created by the difference between holding on to what we know and to the inevitable changing circumstances that create our reality to be new and different. We all struggle to stay with what we know, even if it is not good for us. Familiarity is a huge pull to avoid fears. When we resist and avoid we are attempting to stop the natural movement of life. All of life is pulling us to change, grow, and be flexible so we can become more and more of who we are in the way of expansion. We cannot stop the movement of life, but we can resist it. This makes us controlling people and crazy-making to those who are in relationship to us. We try and control life, our partners, our friends, our co-workers etc. Let me suggest this: We cannot waste time on things we are unable to influence and change, fear would tell us to just keep moving.

In life, there is danger everywhere. There are always going to be hostile people, destructive relationships, job problems and other unpredictable life circumstances. The only way to break free from this dynamic is to confront it. Eleanor Roosevelt said “face one fear each day.” It is best to confront your fears and allow them to come to the surface than to ignore them and keep them repressed. If it is repressed panic will set in, and panic is the most destructive emotional state when it comes to possessing presence of mind, or the ability to think rationally. Fear thrives on what is unknowable because it is when things are grey that our imaginations take over. Once the imagination starts running and spinning false stories of doom panic sets in and we start the process of avoidance. At this point we have become totally divorced from the thinking part of the brain and there is not a worse abandonment than being abandoned by your own mind. When circumstances scare us it is natural for the mind to take over.

Solution: Think of your mind and all the imaginative stories it spins as an army. Force your mind past the negative thinking and keep moving. Even if movement simply means one step at a time, just keep moving. The minute you stop your movement panic will set in and become a chronic state. Panic stops movement. The more you place yourself in conflict and facing your fears the better you will become at it. It is a skill to be developed just like anything else. Focus on what, in any situation, you can control (even if that means vacuuming) and give it your full attention and your mind will develop a composure that you will need to keep moving forward. A mind that is focused has no room for panic. The mind is at the root of all panic disorders. Life is life for all people. It is anxiety provoking, scary, and unpredictable at times. The quickest way to move through fear is to face what you fear. We only become paralyzed when we halt in the process. Fear is the energy that warns us change is coming, but it is the only emotion that teaches us discernment and wisdom.

Little Life Message: When we can open our minds and feed ourselves full of possibilities we gain courage. Courage dismantles fear. Keep an open mind, a flexible approach, do your best and just hang in there.