Fear and Confusion are amazing teachers. In the picture above, you can see that the eyes are opened wide, teeth are showing, and arms are extended to protect from a perceived threat. This is the classic “flinch response.”
We’ve been duped! We’ve been taught that fear and confusion are bad things to be avoided. I believe that all discomfort is just providing motivation to do something to return you back to a state of balance.
It is a survival instinct. It is designed to keep you safe, to make healthy decisions by ‘alerting’ you when you are in danger. You don’t drive on the wrong side of the road. Why? Because fear tells you that you could get hurt, hurt somebody else, or get a ticket. Fear is NOT meant to paralyze you; rather, it is there to give you guideposts in life–reminders that get more intense depending on the danger you are facing. Use your fear to guide you, not paralyze you. This is the difference between ‘Awakened’ fear, and ‘Asleep’ fear: when you are awake, fear guides you to safety and comfort–it is seen as something to be grateful for BECAUSE of its discomfort; when you are asleep, fear paralyzes you by putting you back into your thinking mind.
It is also a guide–but more from a tempo stance. When somebody is confused, it is usually because they are facing some sort of decision–usually an important one; and since it is not possible to make a well-informed decision while you are confused, confusion motivates you to slow down and take stock of your situation. Like fear, confusion is misunderstood. When you are awake, confusion helps you to understand that you care enough about yourself to slow down so that you can make a healthy decision; when you are asleep, confusion simply seems to create a fog that covers up the useful information all around you. So WAKE UP!
Find gratitude for your ability to experience fear and confusion–because they are just trying to help. Gratitude will help you avoid being lulled asleep by unconscious living.
Learn more about Mindfulness-based Counseling in Austin.
Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan is a Gottman-trained Couples Counselor, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.