Most mornings when I bring my son, Gil, to the bus stop, he’s excited to hop on, find his friends and settle in for the short ride to school. Rarely does he look back.
On this particular morning though, he was especially snuggly. He stuck close to me as we waited for the bus. When it arrived, he gave me extra kisses and hugs, got on the bus, and instead of rushing to his friends, he sat in the front row and looked out at me.
As the bus started to move, all I could see was his little face from the nose up and his little hand pressed against the window, watching me until I was out of sight.
Where you might expect me to walk away feeling full of warm and fuzzies, instead my brain was saying, “Please God, let this not be the last time I see that sweet face. Keep him safe today.”
Can you relate to this? It’s like an overwhelming feeling of love followed by the fear that something awful is about to happen…like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This feeling of fear creeps up more than I’d like to admit.
I believe fear is part of the package that comes with being human. The challenge is to learn how to let it go and allow ourselves to experience and deeply feel the love and joy without it.
In that moment of fear, watching Gil drive away, I reached for these 4 steps to reduce fear and increase calm:
Acknowledge the feeling. When we’re feeling uncomfortable, most of us will do whatever we can to avoid it. Acknowledging the feeling meets it head on and immediately reduces its power.
Honor it. Once you are square in front of it, chances are you’ll want to punch in the nose. The irony is, it’s not trying to hurt you, it’s there to protect you. Honoring its intention will further reduce its power.
Say thank you. Look fear straight in the eye and say, “Thank you for being here to protect me but I’m ok. I’ve got this.”
Give it permission to move on. Let fear know that it is ok to move on, and then watch it move past you. I like to visualize the wind slowly carrying a white fluffy cloud forward.
It takes a little courage to get in the face of fear, that’s for sure, but it becomes easier with practice. It gives you more confidence to deal with the hard stuff and creates space for more happiness and love.
What strategies do you use to reduce fear? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.