Letting go of fear is a recurring challenge, an evolving lesson that human beings are continually faced with. It seems that when we face our fears without more fear, though, that we’re able to free ourselves from what once tried to keep us down.
“In many ways life is a series of tests of my creative problem solving, my inner strength, and my ability to stay focused on where love and happiness are found. All of life’s many tests are here to help me to dig down deeper so I can find out who I truly am—as well as rise up higher—so I can find out who I’m capable of becoming. Especially life’s surprise tests. Actually… most of my tests have been pop quizzes.” – Karen Salmansohn
Fear Is My Assignment
I accept my assignment: I’m learning to let go of the fear that keeps me from being who I might be.
If we look to life as our greatest teacher–we may not always be an A+ student or enjoy the particular lesson, but we have great respect for what we’re learning–we’ll begin to see a pattern. We see patterns of fear and patterns of love, and letting go of fear becomes one of the surest ways to loving our lives again, or for the very first time.
In fact, A Course in Miracles says that “No one who lives in fear is really alive.” The Course also says that “fear is a call for love, an unconscious recognition of what has been denied.” If we’re experiencing fear in any form, we can recognize it as a call for love where it has been denied.
Letting go of fear begins with the acceptance of our assignment.
Let go of all fear and doubt, and life becomes simple and easy. Let go of all fear and anxiety, and peace comes quickly. We let go first by accepting that there’s something for us to let go so that we might remember the love that’s beyond the fear.
Identifying the fear brings forth the assignment. Assignments can be:
- To stop attracting abusive partners because I don’t think I’m lovable enough.
- To stop looking for evidence that I’m inferior.
- To stop feeling like I need to always do and achieve something to prove my worth, because I’m not good enough.
- To start accepting and honoring my shortcomings instead of feeling defeated by limitation.
- To start being more open with my forgiveness instead of being afraid that I’ll be hurt again.
A fearful story can be perpetuated by feelings of:
Our assignments might help us shift our allegiance from fear to curiosity, or from attachment and control to trusting the path. Each lesson in life is ultimately a lesson in dropping fear so we can pick up love. The fear might feel like anxiety, act like depression, sound like rage, or look like laziness, but underneath the form lives the content.
Fear is just an insane idea that you’ve chosen to believe in. Your assignment is to choose again. Accepting our assignment–letting go of fear–means to look beyond the form to the content fueling the fearful expression.
Sometimes, we simply can’t go around things; we need to go through them. We can’t run away from our problems forever, but we can appreciate the possibility that this moment brings, and our own capacity to face what we need to face in order to dissolve it. Honesty about where you’re at will win you the love that’s been missing.
Once you’ve accepted the assignment, you can accept that you cannot avoid the assignment. If you don’t show up for it, it will keep showing up for you. Your willingness to face your fear resembles your readiness to experience positive change; what you’re doing is showing up for yourself.
Bringing the Shadows into the Light
I’m willing to face my fears, to bring my shadow into the light, so that I can rise above what’s bringing me down.
A Course in Miracles says, “Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defense is of your making.”
This means that the light won’t fight the darkness, because love does not conquer all; the darkness must be brought to the light, because love corrects all. The fear I experience is the bubbling up of a disowned part of my own shadow. I need to face my fear, seeing it for what it really is, and be willing to bring it to the light if it’s going to be dissolved.
Pema Chödrön, a beloved American Buddhist, offers us this insight: “Each time you stay present with fear and uncertainty, you’re letting go of a habitual way of finding security and comfort.”
Our presence is our power to let go of what needs letting go, of casting out fear with love, of remembering that love is the only way to find security in an insecure world.
Feel the feeling that lives underneath the assignment, but do it in a safe space so you don’t get stuck in the feeling. For instance, don’t face the fear that’s showing up for you if you have a meeting or a date in twenty minutes. Give yourself the safe space to unearth your fear. Give yourself some time to do some digging.
Your freedom lies in your capacity to change the story (the form fear is taking, such as anxiety) by feeling the feeling that dwells underneath the story (the content of the fear, such as the belief that “I’m not going to be okay” or “I’m too small to make a difference”).
Letting Go of Fear Is Possible through Love
I have the freedom to make mistakes and the capacity to get back up.
Because you’re human, you have the freedom to make mistakes. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” Anytime we strive to grow, we’re going to be confronted with mistakes. What matters most isn’t the fact you stumbled, but what you do next.
Getting knocked down doesn’t mean you’re weak or stupid or incapable–it means you’re human. You might wipe out physically, in your business, or in relationships, but, as Marie Forleo says in this video about overcoming fear, “the fall isn’t final unless you stay on the ground.”
Just because we mess up doesn’t mean we have to give up on living the kind of life we hoped for. Learn how to do what you don’t know how to do, and that fear will either dissolve or at least lose its power over you.
When we work with love, and let the energy of love work through us, we automatically begin letting go of fear. Good things happen. Love is an instantaneous transition from fear to love, literally a sign that a miracle is in process.
It’s not the form that love takes that truly matters (maybe we share our triggers with a friend so they can understand us better, or we repeat a positive affirmation, or we do the thing we’re scared of) but it’s the essential content of love that corrects all things. We can choose love in a whole host of ways.
It’s the feeling, the energy, underneath that counts.
Anything that helps us release our blocks to enjoying life in a healthy way is a decision to bring love to life, and darkness to the light.
Anything that helps you pulse in gratitude is a shift into love.
You can honor your path and your past, knowing you did the best you could, and see clearly now that it was exactly as it had to be so that you could learn this spiritual lesson today, so that you could show up for your assignment today and let go of the fearful pattern that has been keeping you stuck.
Call on compassion to clear your path from fear to love. You want to go into the fear without staying there, so call on the universe, a higher power you believe in, with prayer or meditation, self-forgiveness and self-compassion, and faith that you’ll experience a comeback.
If you haven’t been showing up for your assignment, it’s okay. It will show up again, and you’ll show up when you’re ready.
Be easy with yourself.
The love we withhold is held in trust for us, and it will come back in another form, as the assignment that best suits our highest good.
- What fears are you in the process of letting go? What name does your fear go by?
- How does your fear show up, and what’s the feeling underneath the story?
- Think of a time when you wiped out or fell down (emotionally or physically); how did you get back up? How did you grow?
- What’s your assignment today?
Please share your thoughts, healing insights, precious lessons, and any stories with me in the comments.
Share this affirmation with someone who could use some inspiration today.
When you accept that you detoured into fear, you’ll see that you had to go there to understand the magnificence of what could be.
Free watercolor texture by Gold and Berry; lettering by Aim Happy.