Are you afraid? No, seriously. This is not a joke or a light-hearted issue. Consider a while before answering to yourself. Still not? I don’t believe you. We all are.
Fear is something we rather not deal with. It is an unpleasant visitor and it always means trouble. At least we feel cumbersome and would like to switch to something more joyous. And actually this is exactly the problem. We do not handle and cope our fears. We bury them deep and would not want to see them anymore. Unfortunately out of sight does not mean out of our mind. Fears run deep in us. Are you getting scared? It is so easy to stop reading…
Fears are a very fundamental issue. They come with many disguises and appearances. Most of them we do not recognise even if they would say hello to us. Physical fears are the most obvious. We are afraid for our physical existence, no matter whether we are talking about our sovereign, health or appearance related issues. These can be experienced in many ways. We are uneasy with our own body and feel weak or insecure. We do not rely on it. We are afraid that it might fail or stop supporting us. In many cases this can be seen outright from us. Our posture and expressions indicate weakness or hesitation. More subtle forms limit our life by avoidance; we actively stay away from situations or circumstances that can expose our inherent limitations. Who likes to face ones shortcomings and weak points? Nobody. But are you aware that you might limit your life by fears even without acknowledging it?
Many of the fears that reside in us are learned. We have absorbed them from our childhood and the environment surrounding us. They are so autonomous and subconscious that we do not even realise that they exist — we solely act based on them. Those embarrassing moments in the childhood, when we were the laughing stock, are still having control over us. We might not even remember the incident, which can look more or less ridiculous now, but we are certainly still avoiding similar situations or possible consequences. Are you sure that you don’t possess any Pavlovian reactions (e.g. checking the keys after locking the door)?
Fears can also prevent us from acting. We are afraid of the results of some performance and thus do not perform at all or are not doing it 100 percent. All these are creating discomfort and unpleasantness since deep inside we know that we should be doing this totally and wholehearted. We are not exposing and giving everything we have. We are holding back — even just a little. And why? In many cases we are not afraid to perform but to fail. The idea of failing, and admitting it to oneself and letting others to see it, is the trigger. We are so afraid of failing that it prevents us even from succeeding. And we cannot succeed without being vulnerable to a possible failure. Top athletes face this often. They have to overcome their own mind before they can truly be successful. They have to forgive themselves beforehand in case they are not achieving the desired outcome. The difference is that they have dealt with the issue and don’t regard a poor performance as a personal failure. It was just an incident – nothing more. Or they just have to admit that they are not in the optimal condition but it is never an issue of a personal failure (i.e. judgement).
A fear of loosing something can be very tricky issue to deal with. We might be afraid of so greatly that we can go to great lengths to prevent the possibility of loosing something from materialising. If this goes on for a while we might not even remember what it was that we opposed or hold back for. Fighting and keeping the preferred status que have become more important than the original idea about the fear. It might even be that the fear bears no relevance whatsoever considered the current circumstances, if we just would stop for a while and re-evaluate the situation. We fixate to our fears.
How to get rid of these limitations? First you have to recognise and realise that you have them. Often this requires the most bravery since facing an old avoided friend is never pleasant. The rest is usually easier but not always. Admitting that I have this fear is a victory in itself but it does not make it to go away. One has to be able to observe, look, and evaluate the fear. Where does it come from? What is it exactly that I am afraid of? What are the consequences of the objects of the fear? What is the worst-case scenario and can I live with it? Often the fear disappears just by looking at it. Mentally opening up the fear into its basic components makes it to disappear. One realises that after all the fear was based on assumptions and wrong beliefs altogether! And I was just afraid of the fear itself — not its object. Is there anything else to fear than the fear itself?