Fear is an emotion that can hold you hostage and keep us from experiencing what we want and need. It can keep us feeling small and isolated. Fear is often the greatest enemy of a life lived to the fullest extent. Let's just be real here, fear can be a bitch.
For decades, my life was lived through a thick lens of fear. I promise you, it wasn't fun. Life was navigated through a carefully curated set of rules to help ensure safety, avoid conflict, and negate to the best of my ability the risk of physical or emotional pain. While I have learned and use several techniques to overcome what used to feel like a never ending cascade of fears, there is one that I turn to often - and it's a simple 6 word question.
When working through difficult situations or trying to come to big decisions, I can often hear the voice of my mentor and teacher, Micah McLaughlin, in my head, "What's the worst that can happen?"
The first time he asked this of me, I'm pretty sure my jaw hung open slackly and my eyes stared back at him with a blank expression. Here I was, in tears, fretful and worried to the point of sick, and his simple question stopped me in my tracks and helped me really see what was right in front of me.
After a pregnant pause, I was finally able to spit out what I felt may have been the worst case scenario of the issue at hand. While not ideal, it wasn't really a game changer, and certainly not critically impactful or life ending.
When I apply the question and there are more implicit negative impacts possible, it allows me time and space to parse out and explore the options. It helps separate rational thought (discernment) from emotional thought (fear) and enables the evaluation of any risks so that I can ultimately come to a conclusion that feels in alignment.
More than anything, this question enables bravery. To be brave is not necessarily to be fearless, but to be able to move beyond fear, or in spite of it.
How do you deal with fear? I'd love to hear your thoughts.