Fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant
Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes
How can we look at fear as Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant and why do we want to do that?
We have spent some time focusing on developing authentic empathy for ourselves and both for and from others. Today, let us shift our focus to fear, what it is and how to start overcoming our fears. Fear can be a debilitating emotion. There is one acronym for fear that says it is False Evidence Appearing Real. I invite you to look at it a bit differently. I invite you to consider another acronym that, since I discovered it, has served me well.
What if fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant? How would that change how you handle fear? How would that change how you viewed fear? How would that change how you reacted to fear? How would that change how you felt about fear?
One battle with fear I had was over creating videos. Years ago, when I first got into the personal growth industry, I knew videos would be a key part of my business. At the beginning, it was a struggle to get started. In fact, I waited almost a year before creating my first video. Until last year, whenever I would think about how I struggled to record videos, I always attributed my struggles to fears of past experiences. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could not pinpoint the exact experiences causing my fears. I was even more confused because I love to be in front of an audience and on stage. I kept digging deeper and deeper looking for any false evidence I could find. When I could not find any evidence from my past experiences that I would consider false, I started to wonder if I was looking for the wrong thing.
Since my previous experiences happened, what if my current fear was based on something factual rather than something false? If that were true, and my fear was based on something factual then it was already real. I then asked myself the key question. Is this previous experience relevant? That was the lightbulb moment. In that moment I realized two things. First, that my fears were Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant. Second, since they only appeared relevant, I was now empowered to figure out and decide if they were, in fact, relevant or not. Deciding if something is relevant is a much safer decision to make than deciding if something is real. Why? Because admitting something is not real hits closer to the core of us as human beings. Think about it for yourself. How do you feel when you question if something is real or fake?
Using this definition of fear, I identified the experiences from my past that were stopping me from creating videos at the beginning. Growing up, I was bullied. Sometimes I was made fun of for how I looked. Sometimes I was made fun of for what I wore. Sometimes I was made fun of for what I did. This last one is the one that struck a chord with me. When I was made fun of for what I did, it would go away in a few days because people would forget what I did. Fast forward to when I started creating videos. If I did something on video and someone made fun of me for it, the video would be on the internet forever (even if I deleted it).
In that moment, I realized that the factual evidence of me being bullied for things I did appeared relevant to me creating videos today. This was because the videos would be around forever. This realization empowered me to make a choice; find a way to create videos that I was proud of, not care what people thought, or not create videos. The decision I made was to find a way to make videos I was proud of. Are all the videos perfect – nope. Do I get criticism on some of them – yep. Does it bother me – depends on what the criticism is and sometimes who it comes from. Have the imperfections, criticisms, and trolls stopped me from creating videos – nope.
As we work through our fears, things from our past play a big role. Everyone has something that has happened in their past that has negatively affected them. Sometimes, it is something you go through. Sometimes, it is someone you have had to deal with. Sometimes, it is a dream you have had. Whatever it is, your brain is linking it to what you see today and making you believe it is the same exact situation.
The next time fear crops up in your life, I invite you to pause and look back on your past experiences. See if you can determine when you were in a similar situation. Once you make that determination, ask yourself if the previous situation is relevant to what you are experiencing right now. If it does, then let fear guide you to protect you from getting in trouble, from getting hurt, from getting burnt again, like the old hand on the stove analogy.
If you look back and determine that there are differences between your past experiences and what you are going through today, I invite you to push fear aside, step into your greatness, step into your power and step forward and take a chance again.
Fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant
How this applies to authentic empathy…
When it comes to authentic empathy and fear, many times, when somebody understands you but cannot experience authentic empathy for you, it is their fear reaction kicking in. It is either their fear of condoning what you are doing and pushing you to do it more, or their fear of mirroring what you are doing and doing it themselves. This happens even in people we see as being strong. In fact, if someone is a strong person now, and they overcame the same fear you are experiencing, they are more prone to struggle when trying to experience authentic empathy. Why? Because they are subconsciously afraid of going back to who they were. (I agree with you. This one is a tough one. Usually, when someone experiences something, they have a higher level of authentic empathy towards someone experiencing the same thing. Welcome to the world of fear.) This is a great chance for you to practice authentic empathy. Showing authentic empathy for someone when they struggle with fear will help them be experience more authentic empathy for you.
How this applies to WACASHWI…
When it comes to WACASHWI and fear, as you move item on to and through your list, you will experience fear. Fear of letting people down by not including something they want you to on the list. Fear of saying you cannot do something. Being afraid that you must do something because someone says you should. Fear of failing after you said you will do something. These fears can all be tied to things that happened in our past. Once we understand the facts of what happened and determine if they are relevant to our journey today, then we can decide how we are going to overcome them.
Your daily invitations…
- I invite you to think about how you handle fear today.
- I invite you to consider the last time you had to handle fear and what you could change about it.
- I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
- I invite you to talk about your experiences with a coach, mentor or therapist depending on what emotions this process brings up.
Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?