Day 9 Change: Fear or Anxiety?
“The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life.” Baha’u’llah
In dealing with transformation issues it is often very helpful to understand the difference between fear and anxiety. Anxiety is the feeling that you get when you already have a certain amount of competence in a particular area, but you are unsure of yourself, worried what others might think if something goes wrong, or overwhelmed by what seems like an immense task. The solution to nerves is the ability to remember your competence and then hold the memory and keep going back to it as you act. Unlike fear, the key to anxiety is the ability to have a very strong memory of past success or past positives. When you step into your positive memories and feel them fully, then it is as if you relive the success and competence. Then you can keep acting forward in a positive direction.
Fear occurs when you are facing something new such as a new obstacle or new skill. Anxiety is based upon looking into the future and seeing something going wrong, but fear is based upon a memory that has already occurred. The key to breaking fear and going forward to gaining the new ability or having the new experience is the ability to let go of the memory of the fear. With fear you are not trying to remember the past, but to let go of it so that you can dive right into a new experience. The reason young people tend to be more fearless than the elderly is that they do not have so many many negative memories to let go of.
When you get really good at letting of past memories of negative things, then you strengthen your ability to keep learning and going after new and exciting things. You often see this with new technology learning. Young people often learn much more quickly because there is no negative memory holding them back.
You can see why it is important to differentiate. If you have nerves like in the middle of a match, the important thing is to access positive memories rather than thinking something is wrong with your strategy or that you don’t have all the shots. If you have fear like the fear of being beaten really badly, it is because you have experienced this already and you were not equipped to play your opponent. Fear tells you that you need to work on something new, but anxiety lets you know that you need to practice what you already know how to do.
The exercise today is ask yourself, in the thing you want to work on the most in your life, do you have more fear or more worry. If it is fear practice letting go of the bad memories of past experiences and instead seeing the future as bright and hopeful. If it is worry, practice the skill area repeatedly and remember times that you were successful. Let go of your bad imagination.