Using Our Emotions to Our Advantage – Fear
Once we have become aware of our emotions and we have brought them in to the light of our consciousness, we have created the possibility for us to accept our responsibility to manage them effectively.
Accepting our responsibility empowers us with the control of our destiny though choice.
Emotions are the fuel of our vitality and are what drive us to take action in our lives. With this knowledge, and the power of choice, we are able to guide ourselves though our feelings and shape our emotions to channel our energy; focusing to achieving what we want.
What I am describing is the ability to consciously shift our perspective on a situation so that we can trigger an emotional response from ourselves that will benefit both us and everyone around us, in parallel. This could be by either climbing the ladder of an emotion that is naturally arising or shifting perspective to trigger a new more productive emotion.
All of our emotions have value in the right context; the more that we practice becoming aware and selectively shifting our perspective to take control, the more we will be able to channel our energies purposefully.
There are two particular emotions that can be used to great effect in this way. We will explore the first one n this post…
Fear is an extremely potent and powerful emotion that sits at the root behind the majority of psychological challenges that humans face.
Fear is a killer for triggering secondary emotions and masquerading itself as something else. Often when we dig in to any self-destructive emotion, we will find that it is, in some way, rooted in fear.
Searching out our deep seeded fears and challenging them is a sure-fire way to effect significant positive change in our lives. Overcoming our fears will increase our self-belief and confidence, which will then in turn lead us to apply ourselves more wholeheartedly to future endeavours. Sounds great. As with all things, a balance is required though.
A little bit of apprehension (the smaller sibling of fear) can serve us well. When we are apprehensive, we approach a situation with caution, respect and focus.
I’ll give you an example: let’s say we are preparing for a job interview. We applied for the role because it is with a similar company, in a similar sector to our current employment.
Reading the job description, we think that we are a perfect fit and that it is pretty much guaranteed that we will get the role. We have invested a lot of time doing our research in to the prospective company, and planning our responses to the questions that might come up in the interview. We feel extremely confident that we can go in there and seal the deal.
In this scenario, we have filled ourselves with positive energy that we intend to use to project ourselves across strongly to our prospective employer. As with everything though, a balance is required.
When we build ourselves up in this way, we are actually updating our definition of me. We are giving ‘knowledge’ to our foreman and they will reciprocate by whispering it back to us. That is why it is important to make sure that we temper our definition of me to ensure a balance. Too much unmeasured confidence and we can project an image of being cocky and arrogant.
If we climb aboard our own hype train (by listening to our foreman), we will find that we are no longer in control of the destination.
While it is essential to build our confidence; by tempering this with a healthy sense of apprehension we will make sure our approach to the social engagement is sincere and respectful, and that we have attention to detail and focus.
The happy path is always somewhere in the middle.
Apprehension, Not Fear
To develop a sense of apprehension, we can think about how much we actually want the new role and the potential negative consequences of not securing it. To be clear though, this is a balancing act where we are playing with fire.
On the one hand we have confidence and self-belief (something that we need to build and grow over time) and on the other hand we have fear (a tyrannical emotion that can unconsciously consume us); sprinkle a bit too much fear in to the cake and all of your hard work building self-belief will be undone!
With great power comes great responsibility.
Fear can be used to ground us and help us to focus when we are getting swept away in our own thoughts and delusions of grandeur. It reminds us that we not invincible.
If you are someone that struggles with fear then playing around with it in this way might not be the best initial foray in to shifting perspectives for you. Have a read of the post in this series looking at anger, then see what you think you best start point could be.
One thing for sure though:
When you accept your fears and can look them right in their face;
while you consciously grab hold to use a pinch of their special sauce where you know that you need it most;
you will know that you truly have become a master in the domain of your own emotional intelligence.
Enjoy, for now