No fear, How do we say goodbye to Fear and live with courage?
What is fear? The first thing we must realize is that FEAR is False evidence appearing real.
A few years back, I had a guest in my home. When it was time for her to leave, it was dark and she refused to walk out the front door because she was afraid of Frogs jumping on her foot. Now, I have never seen a Frog in my front yard and neither had she; but she must have had an experience of a Frog jumping on her foot and it had traumatized her. So now every time she walks in a yard at dark, she was afraid of Frogs. How can we live with, no fear?
Now this is an example of a trivial fear but ask yourself. Is fear affecting the quality of your life? What would life be like if you had, no fear?
The problem with fear is that it is the bottom feeder of all emotions, that means that if you have fear in your heart you can’t have:
- Feelings of belonging,
- or Certainty.
- The most common appearances of fear in the, African American Community, are:
- Fear of poverty
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of ill health
- Fear of loss of love
- Fear of old age
- Fear of death
Today Arifah and I are going to look at how Fear shows up in African American families and how it prevents us from living a life of purpose and abundance.
Here are the symptoms of the, Fear of poverty:
- Willingness to tolerate poverty
- Acceptance of whatever compensation that life offers without protest.
- Mental and physical laziness
- Lack of initiative
- Lack of imagination
- The habit of permitting others to think for you
- Sitting on the fence of indecision
- Excuses for not taking initiative
- Excuses for failures
- Envy of those who are successful
- Finding fault with others who are successful
My co-host is Arifah Yusuf, registered social worker, specializing in, mental health. She is the founder and program director of Lifted by Purpose.
Lifted by Purpose Provides a diverse range of services including training, workshops with the intent to engage youth in conversations about mental health and learn practical strategies to cope with life stressors.
Here are Arifah’s experience in working with youth and dealing with, No Fear, Living with Courage
In my experience working with young people, majority of children and youth live with anxiety. The anxiety impacts their relationships to function in socially and or academically. As well, how they view themselves and their ability to complete tasks or take risks. Common signs of an anxiety disorder in youth I noticed are:
- Constantly worrying about grades
- Always trying to be perfect / Being afraid to make mistakes
- Not sleeping well
- Difficulty managing daily tasks and/or distress related to these tasks.
- Anxious predictions – Worrying about something horrible happening (ie. Being embarrassed or humiliated)
- Anxious thoughts “ I’m out of control, I can’t do this”
- Avoiding friends or social situations and activities
- Being afraid of speaking up and asking questions in class
- Blanking out or freezing up in stressful situation
- Safety behaviors (habits to minimize anxiety and feel “safer,” e.g., always travelling with a friend or have cell phone in their hand)
- Excessive physical reactions relative to the context (e.g., heart racing and feeling short of breath in response to certain spaces or when they see certain individuals)
Anxiety is the most common disorder in Canada. 2.6% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported symptoms consistent with generalized anxiety disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by a pattern of frequent, persistent worry and excessive anxiety about several events or activities.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, “the 12 month prevalence for any anxiety disorder is over 12% and one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime”.
Seven Major types of Anxiety Disorders:
- generalized anxiety,
- specific phobia,
- panic disorder,
- social anxiety
- separation anxiety
- selective Mutism.
(ie. Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school. These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed)
Other Anxiety Disorders:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation disorder).
Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders(reactive attachment disorder, dis-inhibited social engagement disorder, PTSD, acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorder).
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No Fear, means Living with Courage: How do we define courage?
Aristotle believed courage to be the most important quality in a man or woman. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible,”
How do you build your courage character?
- Practice courageous acts.
To build a courageous character, with, no fear, the muscle of courage must be continually strengthened. Aristotle, the ancient philosopher who focused most on courage, said that we develop courage by performing courageous acts. Recent psychological research also suggests that courage is an ethical habit that we develop by repeatedly practicing acts of bravery.
Let me share a personal story with you, that helped me develop courage and have, no fear.
Years ago I was living in the United States as a temporary resident as a Canadian Citizen. I was married and my husband sponsored me and applied for me to become a permanent resident. Before my application was finalized, My brother was getting married in Toronto, Canada and I just upped and left the country for the weekend to attend my brothers wedding.
When I tried to return to the USA, a few days later, border patrol asked me for my Advance Parole documents. I told them I never applied for Advanced Parole. This is a document that gives you permission to leave the country while you have a pending application. The border patrol told me that I had voluntarily abandoned my application by leaving the country and that my husband had to apply again. He also told me I would have to stay in Canada for approximately 2 years while my new application was processed. To date that was one of my darkest days!
Then because he knew that as a Canadian Citizen, I could come back into the country at any time as a visitor, he added that if I tried to sneak back into the country as a visitor and I got caught, I would get a 10 year ban from entering the United states.
I returned back to Canada, and for a week I weighed all my options. I had a husband in the USA, my daughter was in school in the USA, I had a good job in the USA. I decided I had to take the risk of returning to the USA as a Canadian visitor.
So I strapped on some courage, and made myself have, no fear, rented a car and drove myself over the border alone because I did not want to implicate any of my family members.
I drove up to the border patrol with, no fear, and as calmly and as courageous as a dove, I told him that I was going to Buffalo to pick up my husband from the airport. He asked me if I had anything to declare, I said no and he and waved me through!
I would tell you that after that incident, I look fear in the face every time and do it anyway. That is how I started to build my courage muscle having, no fear.
Arifah, do you have a story to share of a time you had to look fear in the eye but do it anyway?
This is a good time to introduce a question I received on my Life coach group on Facebook. I would like for my listeners to join that group. It is a forum to ask questions regarding your current struggles and get answers from me and the group.
This is a question from Mari: How do I have, no fear, to stop bullying
I really need some advice, I have a lot on my plate right now. I lost the love of my life. In December and since I moved in with my dad and brother I have been picking up after them. Folding their clothes. And they make me out to be their maid. I have paid money to have the house clean and it gets messy by the second day. Now since I’ve moved here my brother has been bullying me. He calls me little girl. Saying I’ll never make it on my own. Saying he feels sorry for me. Calls me a retard. Saying I act like a 12 year old. Says I don’t clean up after myself when I have been picking up after them both. Saying I’m a bitch. Calls me dumb ass. The list goes on but I’m trying to get an apartment and I don’t wish nothing bad on him but If he will ever be homeless I’m not going to put up with this. I thought of suicide but hell no!!! I’m just tired of him bullying me.
Arifah, what advice would you give Mari?
As a Life Coach, here are my steps for having, no fear, and building courage.
This is a meditation practice I use every day to build my courage character. It is from the Tibethan Monk Dandipanni
- Sit quietly and start witnessing your breathe
- Be aware of the air as it enters your nostrils and follow it all the way down to your belly.
- Hold your breathe for a few seconds and then breathe out, once again follow your breathe as it exits your nostrils.
- Do this for 3 breaths
- Now become aware of your feet on the ground. Focus your attention on your big toe on your left foot. Feel the energy in your left toe as it becomes warm. Now keep your attention on your left foot and feel the energy as it climbs through your feet, ankles, calf, knees, quads, hips. Move this energy into your spine and hold it there.
- Repeat this with your right foot, left arm and then right arm.
- Hold the energy that you directed from all your limbs into your spine and now think about a courageous act. I think of the courageous act I just shared with you. Your energy body is now infused with courage.
- Now send this energy back to your right arm, left arm, right foot and left foot.
This is how you build your courageous body and have, no fear!