Making Fear Welcome
Fear often gets a bad rap. Aside from those who enjoy roller coasters or scary movies, most people try to push fear away, shove it down, or act as if it’s not there. We certainly don’t like fear, so welcoming it seems out of the question, right?
But what if we could? It would be utterly life-changing.
How do we make such a shift possible for our children? We learn and grow, then share what we know.
Fear is a critically important alarm system that has been built into our bodies. It can send our senses into high alert, provide a shot of adrenaline, or even create a burst of superhuman strength. It really is a wonder! So how do we become friends with something that makes our palms sweat, our hearts race, and our stomachs sink with dread whenever it shows up?
First, heed the alarm. What is the fear alerting you to? Are you safe? Take a deep breath and notice. If you need to get to a safe place, do it, and remember to breathe while you move. Out of immediate danger? Then pause and assess. What is it that’s scaring you? Observe what you are feeling and where in your body those feelings are. Pay attention. More often than not, we’re worried about how something might play out or about something we don’t know or understand—future things that aren’t happening right now.
Sometimes we’re scared simply because our parents were. Fears are often inherited. We can take steps to stop that cycle when we are aware of the fear.
Knowledge is power. Take time to find out about what you’re fearing. Research, ask an expert, take a friend with you, learn and use breathing techniques, go see a doctor—do what it takes to give yourself the gifts of understanding and support and to stop imagining worst-case scenarios or tall tales.
Pro tip: Inner dialogue is crucial. Keep telling yourself you’re afraid and that’s exactly what you will be. Feel the fear, recognize it, assess it, then affirm: I am strong, I am brave, and I can do this. Say it over and over until you believe it, then act. Don’t forget to pay attention to your breathing; make sure it has a regular rhythm. Take a power pause to center yourself. Relax your muscles and unclench your jaw or hands. Move with the fear, and don’t lock it in.
As long as we are in bodies, we will always have fears—it’s part of the human condition. When you lean into fear, you’re well on your way to moving through it. So take a deep breath, shake it out, equip yourself with the information you need, then move on through. You can do this. You are strong, you are brave, and God is within you every step of the way!
A Prayer for Overcoming Fear in All Children
Taking a centering breath, releasing and relaxing into this moment, I move with purpose into my heart space. I allow the light of God within me to glow brighter, then I release it from my heart into the space around me. I affirm: Peace, be still. Breathing deeply and regularly, I envision light and peace moving from the center of my heart into the world around me. I spread the light, love, strength, and peace of God outward and forward until it encircles the globe. Resting in this vision for a moment, I picture a loving, comforting, warm, blanket of divine energy settling over every child, calming fears, soothing worries, sinking into every atom of being. As I see it, it is so, and I am grateful. Amen.
A Shared Family Prayer for Overcoming Fear
We link hands and hearts, breathing into the presence and power of God within and among us. We radiate feelings of love, strength, comfort, peace, faith, and understanding—envisioning them as they reach every child on the planet. We affirm together: Peace, be still. With love, light, and gratitude, we claim it to be, and it is so. Amen.