Updated: Mar 7
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 of the dark alley at night, taking the wrong turn, and being in the bad part of town. Instead, I am referring to the subtle undertones of fear beneath the surface that we will all have.
Why are those fears significant?
Subtle fear is the silent controller of our behaviour, especially when it goes unacknowledged. Many papers and studies have published that 95% of our thoughts and actions come from the subconscious mind.
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 them. 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 my behaviours in many of my relationships. I created a story that "People are bad and will cause you pain if you get too close to them," I found it difficult to trust.
To add, I would constantly look for reasons not to trust. This searching made me feel safe, like I was on guard and protecting my heart. For example, a 9 pm text from a friend activated suspicion and insecurity. Ashamed of that, I would withdraw and get silent rather than talk about it.
It was not a trivial dilemma because all I really wanted was to connect and be vulnerable.
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, who wanted nothing more to connect.
This connection 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 concern will be as individual as the person who has them. Exploring fear takes time and a willingness to see the fears as information rather than as good or bad. There is nothing wrong with you.
Fear is healthy and can keep you safe. As Karla McLaren, Ph.D., puts it in her book 'the Language of Emotions,' "When your fear flows freely, you'll feel focused, centred, capable and agile.
Exploring the fears that get hidden away can be liberating and a step towards healthy emotional regulation.
Fear is the 'Sentry of the Soul' and is there to protect the human you from further pain. You may need help exploring fear and naming it in these cases. 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.
Dave Lundberg is an accredited coach with the International Coaches Federation, a Certified Equine Guided Learning Coach, a Trauma-Sensitive Certified HeartMath® Practitioner and Owner of Small Pause Coaching.
Dave wrestled with his own anxiety as a teenager and fell into a pattern of self-medicating to get relief and ultimately landed in an addiction recovery facility in 1995.
Armed with a new understanding of himself, Dave set off into the world to carve his own path, learn the power of self-regulation and share his message of hope with others.