How I Made Fear My Best Friend
written by Trauma Recovery Specialist Coach Kendra McLaughlin
Making fear your best friend…
When you see that you might think, “Yeah right! How can fear be my best friend? Fear is my biggest enemy!”
Let me tell you a quick story of how I was able to make fear work for me – not against me.
It may be helpful to you when you find yourself facing fear in your own life.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend David, had a great suggestion of going on a “hike” on that upcoming Sunday.
I had really been craving the outdoors and we are both very physically active, so It sounded like a perfect plan.
David had hiked this trail about 20 years prior and was confident that we could traverse it easily and the views at the top of the mountain were said the be spectacular.
As we started our hike, the trail was easy for me.
Just being in the wilderness was so calming and centering.
The trees were so magical and there were very few other hikers on the trail, leaving us mostly by ourselves to enjoy.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with very warm temperatures and I was blissful.
It was not long before we reached actual rocks on the trail …big rocks …big huge rocks (that we had to climb).
It was clear to me at that time that people define “hike” in very, very different ways.
I was a little uneasy, but I managed to make my way up over the rocks with little struggle.
The trail was getting steeper, we were climbing higher and the rocks were getting bigger with less room for hand and foot placement.
To my surprise, the height of our climb was starting to scare me.
I recently went skydiving, so heights shouldn’t be a problem, right?
My first glimpse of fear arrived.
It was like an assailant waiting around the corner of the rocks to attack me at each turn.
Before I knew it, we had to literally climb straight up, and the “trail” had turned to just the actual mountain… all rock.
(p.s. – David… hiking is with feet. Climbing is with hands… I’m just saying.)
My fear was continuing to escalate when I realized we could not go back down the way we’d come up.
The truth was we had no other choice but to continue.
That’s when I went into full panic mode.
My whole body was shaking.
I started crying.
My mind was spinning.
I literally could not move my body.
I was frozen.
Stuck on the side of a freaking mountain and my fear had its claws dug right into me with full force.
It was painful.
The fun had disappeared into misery and terror.
There was no choice for me.
Going down from that point was not an option, and though I suggested it, living out the rest of my life in that spot was not an option.
I had to somehow move my body in the most fearful and terrifying moment of my life and continue to climb even higher.
The tears came.
A flood of emotions poured over me.
I was angry.
I was embarrassed.
I was terrified.
I pounded the rocks & said a lot of artfully combined curse words.
I pleaded with God almighty… I tried everything I could think of to get out of the situation I was in.
There I was, stuck on the side of a mountain.
Then I remembered something very life-changing.
I remembered what Dr. Jane always says about making friends with your fear.
I figured at that point I would try anything.
So, I began to look at my fear as a thing… a physical thing.
…something or someone I could talk to.
I started talking to my fear out loud like it was my dear friend.
My boyfriend probably thought I was a little crazy at this point. Ha Ha!
I said to my fear in a loving, friendly way, “Fear, I know you are here to protect me. I know you care about me and you are just trying to let me know that there may be danger. I appreciate you and the fact that you are keeping me safe. But I need to tell you that I am safe, and I am ok. I am glad you are here, and I want you to walk beside me as I continue forward.”
It’s exactly what my friend and partner with GILD Coaching – Dr. Jane – is always telling us, and you know what?
I started to feel calmer.
I was able to not get rid of my fear – but instead – to make my fear my friend.
I was then able to continue to climb that mountain and I made it to the top!
It was a lifesaver.
When you find yourself stuck in fear, remember that you will never get rid of it… and you really shouldn’t want to.
Fear is a natural, normal human response and fear will show its face when you least expect it.
Make fear your friend.
Talk to your fear and ask it to walk beside you and that you understand that its job is to protect you and that you are going to move forward in your life with your fear.
Take your journey a step farther with our GILDed Life group online so you can start to make fear your friend and say hi to me when you’re in there!