Fear is in charge of our risk assessments, of our security, of all our life saving emergency resources, and has our best interests in view.

Yet, if we don’t welcome it with as much goodwill as it it seeks to show us, it can disrupt and derail our plans and lives and it can require a lot of attention to ensure its message is life-affirming.

Our nervous system has an emergency control system which puts fear in charge – when fear is in charge we are in shock – but we can act automatically and be numbed from pain to ensure emergency measures can be taken swiftly and without interference.

Fear works unconsciously and freezes off all unnecessary functions to allow swift automation.

Once the danger is over, the first challenge is to come out of shock.

When we realise we have been in shock and that we are safe now, we can begin to recover and emerge.

The challenge is that fear – now safe to feel – from the original situation – now begins to emerge.

The truth is – if we are feeling fear – we are not in extreme danger – and we now have the opportunity to fully feel the fear it was not safe to feel at the time.

In the last few days of February 2021 I suddenly began sweating and was awash with fear, and it began to dawn on me that – far from feeling safe and fear-free during the UK’s national lockdown, as I had thought – I had been frightened into an emergency lockdown of my own, from which it was now safe to emerge, provided I took seriously what my fear reminded me had been, and could continue to be, a threatening situation.

When we take fear seriously we can realise how safe we have been kept and also understand with greater nuance the dangers we have lived through.

Not feeling and respecting fear can elongate its hold through shock and lockdown and unconscious trauma mechanisms.

Fear is allayed, and can rest and step down from any override management, through respect, consciousness and dawning realisation.

Fear when felt becomes a paradox – if not the safest feeling – certainly a strong clue that we are, in fact, safe, where we can feel it.

Image: Eberhard Grossgasteiger, Pexels