Monday, October 28, 2013

Downgrade Fear By Upgrading Your Thinking

I knew an agoraphobic who lived her life as a recluse. Everything worried her. She lived in a continual state of fear. She kept her shades drawn, never letting in any light. Her home was very dark, the air stale, the energy heavy.

Cancer finally cured her.

She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her because it forced her out of her comfort zone to get the help and treatment she needed, and as a result, she began living her life again once she was cancer-free.

We don't need something drastic like cancer to happen to us to move us past our fear.

We can move past fear by taking responsibility for it.

Much of our fear comes from downgraded thinking. Rather than focus on our possibilities, we play out the worst-case scenarios in our minds, and as we play them over and over, we get addicted to this kind of thinking. Sooner or later, we end up tumbling down the staircase into a dark pit of despair.

We hit bottom.

Ouch. And then we are faced with a serious choice.

Do we stay there? Or, do we find a way out?

Finding our way out requires us to upgrade our thinking.

Our brains are designed to seek solutions.

When I was a kid, we didn't have video games. We had to make up our own games. One fun (and scary) game was flashlight the graveyard.

Well, I was "it" and had to search for someone to tag. As I was creeping around, I didn't see a newly dug grave and in I went. I screamed for help, but no one came. They were too busy running away from me!

The grave was just deep enough where I couldn't climb out.  I. Was. Petrified.

It was dark. It was cold. My heart knocked at my ribs. I kept imagining zombies coming to kill me. My mind became a circus of fear. I screamed again, and then I got angry. So I started kicking the wall of dirt in front of me. Each time I kicked I left an indentation.

And then it hit me. If I made a few more indents in the wall, I could climb out! I went to work with my flashlight, using it to carve out spaces for my feet so I could step up and get the leverage I needed to lift myself out. My fear left me. I was out in no time. Bruised and battered, but out.

When the solution came to me, my thinking immediately shifted from one of panic to one of freedom. An opportunity presented itself, and I took action.

Otherwise, the zombies would have gotten me.

Moving past fear means moving through it. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where there seems to be no solution whatsoever. That's because we are focused on the fear of no solution. As soon as we upgrade our thinking from an outdated version, by telling ourselves that there is a solution, that fear downgrades and we find ourselves pushing through with a renewed vitality.

The first step is the biggest step, and that is the step we take within when we change our thinking from one of defeat to one of victory.

You take the first step. Source takes the second step. By the time you get to the third step, you realize that it was Source that took the first step. Source was with you the whole time.

And all those zombies that you invented can now rest in peace.


Masterminds Emerson and Twain both said, "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain." When you confront the T-Rex of fear, it turns into a tiny gekko. If you run from it, it will continue to chase you and consume you.

Think of something you've always feared doing. Maybe it's an activity like ballroom dancing or parasailing, or it's something that directly addresses a phobia.

Divide a piece of paper into two columns. On the left hand side, list that fear.  Carefully express and define exactly what it is you are afraid of. On the right hand side, write the steps that need to be taken in order to overcome this fear that you created. These steps may be personal or practical. As you write your solutions, your brain will store them, mull them over, and eventually generate some creative and useful responses.

Looking at your list of steps to take, choose one to work on and begin today. Start with the easiest one. When you accomplish it, celebrate yourself, and then move on to the next step.


Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.


  1. You have had a very adventurous childhood! Yikes! I would have seriously freaked out if I'd fallen into a grave. Fear is so paralysing when we succumb to it. I recently experienced a situation where I could literally see no way out. The fear was all consuming. It was all I could think about, that and there was no way out for me, I was well and truly trapped. Then I read something that saved me, it was something about the words that freed me. I had to accept that sometimes when you get so stuck you become part of the problem. You are incapable of seeing anything but the solution so there is no space for the answer to come. So I sat in meditation with this big problem in front of me. And I just accepted it. Yes it's there, I've looked at it from every angle and if there is a solution I can't see it. So I'm letting go of the need for an answer. And when I let go of the need for an answer I literally felt myself expand. It was such a relief to let go of the fear which was tied up in the need for an answer. I still don't have one, but now it feels as if there's room for something to come, some maneuverability that just wasn't there before. It's all OK! And I have to add, it's nothing near as bad as falling in a grave!! Thanks for a really interesting and inspiring post. Again! Awesome.

    1. Hi Andrea!

      Yes, childhood was an adventure for sure! We could turn anything or anyplace into a playground no matter what it was. Probably because we were able to use our imaginations. My mother always made sure we were out of the house, playing and exploring, which we absolutely loved to do! Some of it got us into trouble, but we always had fun! LOL.

      You bring up a very valid point...letting go of the NEED for an answer. Sometimes in our urgency for an answer, we come across as desperate and then the Universe picks up on that desperation and brings us more. So, letting go of the need is important. I'm so glad to hear that you are in a place of peace over this.

      As always,
      Blessings, Light and Love to you.

  2. Dear Penny,

    GREAT STORY! And great message. Fear does keep most people from doing what they want.

    This is a great example and exercise on how to move past it.




    1. Thank you, Kathy.

      I've always liked your acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. So true.

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for such a helpful post Penny. Fear certainly has been the theme of the day for me! I really appreciate your tips and I love your story about flashlight tag, I used to play flashlight tag too, and it really brought back so many fun (and scary) memories!

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful, Maryann. It's interesting to see how many people have blogged about fear today! Must be a message there for us!

      Long live flashlight tag!!!


  4. I remember watching the movie "JAWS" when I was eight years old and not being able to take a bath after that movie. I was convinced that a Giant shark would come up from the drain pipe and eat me. LOL!!

    Somehow, I convinced myself (I think my brother put it in my head) that if I put Roto-Rooter drain cleaner down the pipe, it would poison the giant shark.

    Well, I did!!! It just took a little Roto-Rooter drain cleaner (positive thought) to kill the giant shark!! (Negative thought).

    Healthy blessings!!
    Gena :)

    1. OMG, Gena, your story had me laughing! I can certainly relate!

      I read JAWS when it first came out, while at the beach of all places. I did not want to go swimming in the ocean after that!

      Yay for Roto-Rooter! Great story! Thank you for sharing and for making me laugh!

      Blessings, love and light.

  5. Fear does take a hold you. When I encounter fear...I find that some kind of inner strength comes over me n I know I can do it...
    I try to work through it and I always rise above what fear tells me I can't. Its a beautiful thing and I'm very blessed to have that in me...blessings to you my friend..

    1. True, when we face fear, we find that if just fades away, and it's shadow simply dissolves into the light.

      Blessings to you, too, my friend.