Fear: The Final Boss?
Updated: Sep 13, 2023
By Ayoka Boahene
Presented by Omni-U Virtual University
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
Ancestor Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech
I'm a mom. This means my children, all of whom are now young adults, one of whom is still in college, will call me from time to time needing to be talked down from varying states of panic. Many times these states are induced by being in close proximity to crossing the threshold of a goal they've been pursuing.
They forget that they've been deep in the process of preparing for these moments. Building competence and expertise, building stamina and endurance. They forget that they've felt insecurity and doubt before and still crossed the threshold and claimed their prize. They forget how the heavens even conspired on their behalf to make the many steps along the way towards the goal they set for themselves possible to complete.
So I Pray for them and I pray to God for the guidance with which to provide them. I pray to God to jog my memory so I can remind them where they have been before. And when I'm satisfied with the answers God has provided me, I get off my knees and get on my soapbox and write life into them, speak life over them until I hear and feel some confidence return in their responses to me.
The following is the latest guidance I received and shared with them after one of them called me full of uncertainty, anxiety and doubt; AKA fear:
What is fear?
Fear is the final boss; the last and most formidable foe that you must face off against before you conquer any goal or aspiration.
Fear is the uncomfortable state of being we inhabit when something is unknown. It is a composite of the questions about ourselves to which we don't yet have the answers. It is an uncomfortable questioning state, the limbo in which we exist before we learn what is possible.
Fear comprises the mysteries of our own selves that we must solve through challenges, whether self- or life- imposed. When we face and overcome these challenges, we gain more knowledge of Self which brings us closer to God and further away from fear. This quiets the mind and gives us peace.
It is important that we don't run away from fear but face it so that we can receive the answers to the questions that plague us:
Am I strong enough?
Am I smart enough?
Am I good enough?
Can I hold my own?
Can I stand in this room as an equal?
Can I do this ( or that)?
Can I contribute something of value?
Do I have the discipline?
Do I have the work ethic?
Is there a place for me here?
Can I conquer this? And on and on, ad nauseum.
If you don't like the first answer you receive after you have tried, keep trying. Try until you break through. Keep trying until you find a way. Keep on trying until you get the answer you can live with. Redouble your efforts, if necessary, because if you give up, you will not have rest but regret along with a lasting fear and a lack of growth. Challenge yourself and experience the limitless capacity of God.
What are the weapons that we can wield against Fear, the Final Boss?
Guidance from our Support systems.i.e., Mentors, Loved Ones, and
Memory (you have faced "him" down before)
You can't out run fear. You must confront fear and face it down to find out what you're made of. Only then will you have peace. Fear is God telling you to search for answers: "To seek and ye shall find." If you don't move, you will become more and more uncomfortable in the place where you are now. If you try to run and hide you will become consumed by fear. Face it down. Find out Who you are. Acknowledge Whose you are.
You will always find yourself facing-off with fear before you achieve the objective(s) you've been working toward. You have to get past fear to complete your mission. Fear is scary and uncomfortable and because of the discomfort it creates, we are motivated to act in ways that can move us beyond it. Yet, fear is an essential component in driving us to do everything we can to get past it to something that we want to experience.
Embrace fear. Don't fear fear. Fear is a useful tool. It motivates us to evolve to higher levels, to solve the problems in the way of us achieving our dreams, to push past our perceived limitations.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) strands us with "analysis paralysis" which keeps us in an intimidating limbo. We see our choices as imperfect and other choices as potentially better so, we constantly exit and re-route, never arriving at any destination in which we can live the full experience of one choice.
There are no perfect paths but, in choosing one path, you can work on becoming the best you can be for that path. This allows you to experience the full universe of that chosen path.
Commitment, which opens up a world of experiences, is the true goal. Not choosing- not commiting- leads to endless exits and entrances, accompanied by the feeling of being lost, unsettled,
dissatisfied, and unfulfilled. Commit so you can arrive and begin to fully live.
Face fear, the final boss, by making a singular choice, commiting your efforts to that choice, and mustering all your courage in pursuit of it. The more committed you and I are, the more single- minded we become, the stronger we can be in what we attempt to achieve. The more scattered our focus, the less certain we are. The less certain we are, the more stagnant we become.
Instead, let fear show you where you need to apply your energies, where your efforts need to be focused and, how intensely you need to focus them. Prepare yourself to get to your goal by defeating whatever it is that you fear for there is no running away from it. Fear will either be your constant companion, as the regrets pile up around you, or you will face it and defeat it. Otherwise, you are bound to meet fear -again- at the top of another aspiration, desire, or goal. Those are your options. I suggest you choose the one option that comes with achieving your aspirations.
(Quotes from Pema Chödrön courtesy of Danella Roberson)
Buddhist Nun and author, Pema Chödrön is renowned for her teachings on what she calls "the wisdom of no escape," which emphasizes the importance of facing our fears instead of avoiding them, and embracing life for what it is, ups and downs alike.
Throughout her life, Chödrön has been a dedicated practitioner and teacher of Buddhism whose words have inspired and guided people around the world… Her message of fearlessness, compassion, and wisdom is a beacon of hope and a reminder of the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and find peace and happiness in the midst of life's challenges…
"One can appreciate and celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!
The happiness we seek is already here and it will be found through relaxation and letting go rather than through struggle.
Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
The truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
Whether we experience what happens to us as obstacle and enemy or as teacher and friend depends entirely on our perception of reality. It depends on our relationship with ourselves. We think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear.
"Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen and look at what’s happening. When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.
No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, to just be there … The advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.
In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal — quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is.
When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll become more awake in our lives.
When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.
Sometimes when things fall apart, well, that’s the big opportunity to change." Pema Chödrön