All of us have dreams we desire to pursue. But the catch with lurring visions is the fear attached to them. That’s simply how the dream package is designed, it’s excitement wrapped in fear. This means: if you want the gift you need to touch and get through the cover first.
Fear connected to potential accomplishments arises from ego. The ego’s main purpose is to keep us safe (physically and emotionally). For survival purposes this is great news but in other aspects it can become a major hindrance (as you’ll see). From the egos perspective any sort of change or unpredictability is a threat. The perceived threat will cause an automatic fear response to flare up to keep us away from “fire”. Fear doesn’t need to show itself as intense distress or terror. In this sort of context it is more likely to operate in a subtle fashion such as disencourment by pointing out that the dream isn’t possible or “too much of a hassle”. Another common approach used by fear is overshadowing excitement. This is done by highlighting and blowing up doubts, risks, sacrifices and odds of failing while glamorizing comfort and maintaining the status quo.
This would explain why a great deal of people prefer surrender rather than chasing their dreams. Although a person might feel excitement about a particular scenario, the fear swoops in and keeps the individual hostage. There are exceptions to the rule though. The ego approves movements forward that are in line with what’s typically supported and valued by society but not an inch further. This is because following the herd offers a sense of predictability, in other words safety which is music to the ego’s ears.
When speaking to people about their dreams, I can’t help but notice the habitual and unconscious assumption of fear being the result of accurate, thorough and impartial evaluations. As if fear provides an objective truth. However, this is not the case. The ego is very biased, setting off false alarms at the tiniest suspicion of the individual leaving the comfort zone.
Although fear is a bit of a party pooper, it’s well intended and great for spotting potential dangers. But there is significantly more to the story. The essential feature of fear is that it’s the ultimate double-edged sword. On one hand it’s distressing, signaling threats and urging us to retreat (accurately or not). Simultaneously, if faced, gone through and overcome, has the power to catapult us forward in life.
Personally, I believe the main point of exhilarating dreams is to function as shiny road signs catching our attention and sending us off in a particular direction. The hidden purpose of our dreams are the skills developed and lessons learned while navigating through the twists and turns which we expect to appear along the road together with the roadblocks we don’t anticipate. It’s during this journey we step up to the plate, realize what we’re capable of and are molded into who we’re meant to be. From a growth perspective, that’s the true intention of a dream while the actualization of it is a bonus.
So if you ever find yourself feeling “Yes I want that! ” followed by “No, I can’t because..” don’t back off, recognize that this is a prediction of personal expansion and instead choose to negotiate with your fear!
Just as with any mediation the goal is to assist the parties (you and fear) to negotiate a settlement. For this to be possible it’s crucial to have an open dialogue between the polar aspects of self. I don’t mean internally but verbally and in written form. This is a simple way to have a look at, clarify and keep track of the inner debate.
I usually begin by letting fear have the word and express all concerns, potential terror scenarios and discouraging statements out loud (no, it’s not only “crazy” people who speak to themselves). Once vented, it’s time to list all restraints prohibiting the vision. Once written down, the real work begins! Every fear based statement should be countered with solutions, alternatives, inspiring examples or encouraging words to soothe or neutralize the fearful affirmations and sensations. This part can require time and some thinking outside the box. You’ll need to be firm and persistent, the fear will find any way to weasel out. You’ll sense when you’ve found the key to calming each fearful claim. A powerful trick to discreetly get fear onboard is to avoid big leaps. Instead, break down things into baby steps with attached time schedules and offer plan b’s.
When all fears and counter arguments are out on the table, view the document as a contract. Sign the paper with the date and hang it up somewhere visible as a constant reminder of your own deal. This is officially your personal game plan and commitment, to reach for the stars! So what are you waiting for?
(Ps. the sensation of fear might still linger around, just go back and have a look at the contract or add to it if needed).