Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Are you aware of how fear influences your life?
The truth is that many don't. For context, I am not writing about the fear associated with the dark alley at night or taking the wrong turn and being in the wrong part of town. I am referring to the subtle undertones of fear that exist beneath the surface.
Why are those fears significant?
Subtle fear is a silent controller of behaviour when it goes unacknowledged. Many papers and studies have published that 95% of our thoughts and actions come from the subconscious mind. This finding means that we have no awareness about how they are influencing the results we are getting.
When we focus intently on discovering the subtle fears we have locked away inside the subconscious, we have the opportunity to build a relationship with them. It may be helpful to share an example from my experience about subconscious fear.
It is no secret that our closest and most intimate relationships can be our most prominent teachers if we let it. When I was 16-years-old a girl, I was seeing cheated on me. I convinced myself that it was no big deal at the time and that I didn't really 'like' her anyway. This idea I convinced myself of was not the truth. The truth was that the incident deeply hurt me, and locked a fear that this would happen again deep in my subconscious.
This fear of a partner being unfaithful unknowingly influenced many relationships in my romantic life. I found it difficult to trust women in general and was looking for signs to prove this idea, rather than staying open and free in the relationship. A 9 pm text from a friend activated suspicion and insecurity. Ashamed of that, I would withdraw and get silent.
As I noticed the suspicion and insecurity, I was able to ask myself the question, "What is really going on here?" The answer came as, "You are afraid to get hurt."
This realization gave way to a new conversation with my current partner. It allowed me to work through that fear, rather than having the insidious behaviours activated by the fear take over and define who I was as a partner.
Subtle fear can show up and influence many different parts of life, and the fears will be as individual as the person who has them. The exploration of fear takes time and a willingness to see the fears as information rather than as good or bad. Fear is healthy and can keep you safe. As Karla McLaren, PhD, puts it in her book 'the Language of Emotions,' "When you fear flows freely, you'll feel focused, centred, capable and agile.
Unlocking the fears that get hidden away can be liberating and a step towards healthy emotional regulation.
At times the fear is locked away to protect the human psyche from further pain. In these cases, one may need help exploring the fear and naming it. Exceptionally traumatic events can be the initiator of this shutdown version of fear. If you feel that this is the subconscious fear you are dealing with, reach out for help processing it. It can be an essential and life-altering experience.