Do this when fear takes over

May 9, 2021

Imagine your life is a bus ride.

There are all these passengers on board.

Among them are

  • Love
  • Anger
  • Overwhelm
  • Desire
  • Joy
  • Trepidation
  • Courage
  • Shame
  • Fear
  • The whole gang… hundreds of passengers!

Your Heart is the driver.

Imagine you’re cruising along smooth and steady with Heart expertly at the wheel, when suddenly…

…Fear looks out the window and doesn’t like what she sees.

She loses her shit and jumps up, shoving Heart out of the driver’s seat and taking over!!

The bus swerves dramatically!

Tires squeal! Rocks fly!

The passengers scream!

You fall out of your seat and scramble to the front of the bus!

You bring along Furious and Shame and you’re ready to yank Fear out of the seat and let her have it!

But WAIT!!!!

Fear isn’t doing anything wrong!

She’s programmed to take over in an emergency and SAVE EVERYONE!

Now… sometimes Fear is overexuberant and afraid of her own shadow.

Because of that, you’ll need to be kind and treat her like a small child who’s afraid of monsters under the bed.

Take a deep breath… slow down… assess the situation… and calmly start talking to her.

“Hey, I see you’re driving the bus now. Ummm…. Can you tell me why you decided to take over?”

With white knuckles, Fear screams, “COWS!! I SAW COWS!! They could jump out into the road! We’ll crash! Carnage!! Death!! We have to take EVASIVE ACTION!! COWS! COWS! THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!!!”

Consequently, even though you know it’s “ridiculous” to be afraid of cows when you’re on a bus, give Fear a little grace.

You say, “Ok, I gotcha. There’s cows. Alright, well, how about we slow the bus down and stop so we don’t hit any cows? How’s that sound?”

“I don’t know… COWS ARE TRICKY! They could commandeer the bus and then we’re SCREWED! We’re all gonna die!”

“Yeah… I understand. Cows are pretty scary at times, I mean, they’re big and beefy and all that, but I tell you what… let’s pull over here and have someone else drive, while you take a little break.”

“Really?? Are you sure? There’s a lot of COWS out there!!”

“I see them. They don’t seem to be paying attention to us. Did you know we have snacks in the back of the bus? You could go back there and relax and have some snacks… I’m pretty sure I saw a blueberry muffin.”

“Oh, snacks?? I love blueberry muffins! Is there chocolate milk?”

“Yes, chocolate milk! Let’s go get some. Here… have a seat next to Love and Dreams. We’ll have Determination drive the bus for a bit and Courage can watch out for dangerous cows. Just relax. You did a great job saving us from those cows.”

And, that’s how it works… Fear reacts and we get to practice being patient and loving. 

There’s nothing wrong. You’re not broken just because you’re afraid. It actually means your brain is working properly!

Fear’s SUPPOSED to leap up to save the day! That’s her job!

Sadly, for Fear, there are very few real dangers these days so she’s kinda bored and hypervigilant.

If we remember that, we can forgive her.

Anytime we feel upset or angry or defensive, you can bet that Fear has her hands on the controls!

If you make her or yourself wrong… that’s OKAY! It happens, just practice forgiveness for BOTH of you.

Learning to calm Fear takes time, so don’t feel bad if you can’t do it right away.

Practice feeling it. Where does it exist in your body? What color is it? Does it hurt? I feel pain in my chest and throat and want to cry.

I named my Fear “Wilma” and I have conversations with her regularly. I love her and I’ve made peace with her reactions… mostly! Lol! I’m still human and learning!

Whenever I strong-arm her, Panic and Anxiety jump up to defend her, making everything worse, so I really practice love.

Remember… next time you think Fear is out of control, give her some love, send her for snacks, and forgive her. Keep doing it and it will get easier. 💚



P.S. A dear friend shared this bus analogy with me and I dramatized, cuz that’s how I roll… get it? Bus? Roll? Anyway, my friend said I could share this with you and I’m super grateful to her!

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