We are conditioned to think in terms of “I am afraid.” I am afraid is followed by a whole range of content.
I am afraid to speak in public.
I am afraid I will lose my job.
I am afraid to get a new job.
I am afraid I’ll get sick.
I am afraid that my partner will leave me.
I am afraid I won’t have money.
Whatever it is.
Over time, we form the belief that the two go together: “I am afraid,” as a process, plus the content. But they don’t go together; they’re put together by habit. If we separate “I am afraid” from the content, and set the fear aside, we can proceed with what we choose to do.
For instance, I find a recipe that sounds really good. And the voices begin: “That looks hard and complex. I am afraid it won’t turn out well.” If I put the fear aside, I can follow the recipe until the dish is created. If the dish turns out to be less perfect than I wished, I can repeat the steps until I get the result the recipe is going for. If the recipe repeatedly does not come out the way I want, it is likely the voices that usually stop me through fear are now sabotaging me through inattention and unconsciousness.
Fear is a separate process from following the recipe. But if they are inextricably entwined, we will never actually experiment with the recipe. This keeps conditioning squarely in charge of our “life experience” and robs us of all that we can be and do.
So the next time the conversation starts up about being afraid, practice losing interest in the fear. Bypass “I am afraid” and follow the steps of whatever recipe Life is offering in the moment.