Fear crept up on me in the last couple of days. So out of curiosity, I took a closer look at it. “What are you afraid of?” I asked myself. “Well, I’m afraid that I may fail,” I answered. “How do you know whether you’ll fail or succeed?” “I don’t know. That’s what I am afraid of. What if…”
Aha, I am getting somewhere. Despite the countless reasons we may give to fear, when we keep asking Why? a bunch of times, it usually boils down to the fear of failure, loss or death. Except for life-threatening situations, fear almost always lies somewhere in the future – in the unknown. On the flip side, the future and the unknown can be inspiring, exciting, and exhilarating as well. So what makes us fearful sometimes and exhilarated others?
I realized that the causes of our fear might also be the antidotes to it. Below are the three I’ve discovered.
One main cause of fear is decreased self-confidence in our ability to respond effectively to future events that may occur. Fear breeds more fear. Fear of one negative outcome tends to rapidly multiple and spread like a virus, which tends to cloud our entire outlook of the future. The antidote is to cultivate inner strength and self-confidence. Recounting our past victories and triumphs may help us regain our inner resolve to face whatever comes our way in the future.
Very often what we fear exists only in our mind and is not necessarily grounded in reality. Analyzing the situation objectively can help us discern the unfounded fear from the warranted one. We can then devise a sensible plan to prepare for various possible scenarios. And often when we play out the worst-case scenarios – and have a plan for it – fear begins to dissipate in the process.
A deep source of fear is the perception that if we fail or lose the things we value, we are inadequate and unworthy of love. The antidote of that is love itself. Love is a powerful cure – pretty much for anything, including fear. Be with friends and family and let your fear evaporate in the warmth of their love. Or cultivate self-love by sending loving energy throughout your body.
“The only thing to fear is fear itself.” These words have power. May we look fear straight in the eye and march right through it…