Untangling the Skeleton: A Brief Manifesto for Unpacking Fear

Photograph by Juliet Altmann

Our happiness is determined by how gracefully we dance with fear.

Fear is the opposite of love. It is the cause of immobilization, inaction, apathy, violence, prejudice. Fear is blindsiding. It hinders, seduces, fools and sometimes, it even kills. Fear is sneaky like that.

It clings to our backs like a parasite, and it pulls our strings like a masterful puppeteer.

Fear, however, can be outsmarted. We can think our way out of fear.

First, we must determine what we are afraid of. Even facing this can be painful, for very often we project our fears onto other parts of our lives in an attempt to disconnect with the reality that they exist within the confines of our psyches. That is, fear is an internal condition which, once transformed, can result in a drastically different, positive perception of our external world.

We look in the mirror and can see the fear in our eyes, however we turn away with shame. We cannot handle the fear so we decide to avoid it, however this is where we fail.

Fear can be extinguished when we examine it and explore what we think will happen if it actualizes. Then, we explore our evidence for this conclusion. What makes us think that our fears will actualize? What keeps us from believing that they are purely in our heads? Logically, does this belief make sense?

Looking at our fear this way helps us identify what is truly causing it, beyond the surface manifestation. It helps us translate what it is telling us. Often our fears represent the beliefs we need to let go of. They reflect the things that are holding us back. They are assignments to become more savvy at the game of life.

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking we can escape fear. We can’t. Fear is the skeleton in the closet. The only way to get rid of her is to untangle her from the hangers slowly and carefully, and to decide strategically what to do with her.

Thank you for reading! If you like my work and want to support me, go to: https://ko-fi.com/U7U38R9Y and donate a dollar or two to my coffee fund. Much love, Juliet x
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