Learning To Conquer Your Fear
I love this quote about fear from Pema Chodron:
“The on-the-spot practice of being fully present, feeling your heart, and greeting the next moment with an open mind can be done at any time: when you wake up in the morning, before a difficult conversation, whenever fear or discomfort arises.
This practice is a beautiful way to claim your warriorship, your spiritual warriorship.
In other words, it is a way to claim your courage, your kindness, your strength. Whenever it occurs to you, you can pause briefly, touch in with how you’re feeling both physically and mentally, and then connect with your heart—even putting your hand on your heart, if you want to.
This is a way of extending warmth and acceptance to whatever is going on for you right now.
You might have an aching back, an upset stomach, panic, rage, impatience, calmness, joy – whatever it is, you can let it be there just as it is, without labeling it good or bad, without telling yourself you should or shouldn’t be feeling that way.
Having connected with what is, with love and acceptance, you can go forward with curiosity and courage.”
~ Pema Chodron
I use this image on my daily agenda at school – partly to remind my students to brave, but also to remind myself.
Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I don’t have to think about conquering fear – it just sometimes looks a little different for me than it does for 8th graders. I love Pema’s idea of conquering fear as a way to claim both courage and kindness.
For years I’ve been wearing a silver cuff reminding me to have courage – to look at each day and break it down, to find small ways to chunk out tasks and experiences and problems into manageable pieces.
Some days it works better than others.
I try to teach my students about time management, about self-advocacy, about believing that they deserve to be successful.
Some days my words are stronger than others. Some days they, believe me, some days they don’t.
“You’re still learning,” I tell them. “Excuses are useless,” I remind them.
I remind myself, too.
As teachers, we’re learning how to help kids experiencing trauma. We are begging for professional development to help kids with anxiety, to build relationships, to remember to put KIDS first, CURRICULUM second.
We’ve seen what happens when kids/young adults fall through the cracks.I’m sure that I spend more time with some of my students than they actually spend with their parents. I’ve got kids stopping by to say hello between classes, sometimes asking for a hug or sharing something they’re proud of. I’ve got kids who eat lunch on my beanbags or tables every single day, I think because they know it’s a safe, calm place.
I guess that’s one way they’re learning to conquer their fear – to find a community in a place where they know they’re not being judged or having to monitor their ‘likes’. They can just connect, just be there as is.
I love those lunch hours, knowing that I really just need to let them know they are loved and accepted and that they are connected to someone who cares.
I think that’s a pretty decent place to start learning to conquer fear, right?
Do you have any advice about conquering fear? I’d love to hear it – leave a comment below, or tweet me @mamawolfeto2!