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Handling the fear

Posted Jun 29 2009 12:35pm

The present state of affairs around the world is causing fear amongst people - fear about the economy, war, terrorism and the future. For many people, there is great uncertainty and for others the challenge is about getting-by; basic survival.  

I would like to begin by helping you to understand what fear really is with an excerpt from my book: “Get What You Want”:
“Fear is the greatest killer of all human potential. Fear is what stops us from even trying to get what we want. Fear stands between us and everything we want out of life.

Fear, though does not exist.

Read that sentence again.

You might be shocked even annoyed by that statement because fear does feel real. Its physical crippling effect on our body, mind and emotions is real. But fear is not something tangible. We cannot hold it, see it or touch it. Fear is simply a thought, a very powerful thought. Fear is the anticipation of pain, and our mind responds quickly to the alarm bell that pain is imminent or possible. Again, fear is always set in the future. We cannot experience fear in the present moment.
 Fear comes from The Great TricksterIf we were to listen to fear, we would never attempt anything in life. Think of how many things you were afraid of before you tried them for the first time: swimming, diving off a tower, driving a car, applying or interviewing for a new job, traveling on a plane, living on your own, getting your first apartment, approaching or talking to a stranger or someone you truly like, learning something new, and so forth. And yet, after the initial event, we were OK and with a little practice we felt completely comfortable doing these things and they became second nature.  

…Nonetheless, there is still a chance that fear will come up when you are hit with a new and uncomfortable situation or challenge. Understand that everyone experiences fear. It matters not who the person is or how successful or powerful he or she might be, fear is always looming since The Great Trickster’s job is to protect you from the possibility of danger or pain. [The Great Trickster is that part of our mind that always throws at us the fear that something really bad is going to happen with the words, “What if…”]

For people who are worried about how they are going to cover the bills, fear feels very real, and yes, there is real room for concern. But the difference in how you approach the problems and challenges you presently face will make all the difference to your final results. If you allow fear to overpower you, then you cannot come up with a solution, you will feel paralyzed and unable to weave your way out of the mire.  

Step number one to conquering fear is to face it head on. What is your greatest present fear? Most of our fears are about things we cannot control such as national security, the stock market, the fluctuating value of homes, gas, etc. So, the next step is to get clear about what you can and cannot control. Write out the list of your fears and then write out a list of what you can and cannot control. Step four: take action over the things that you can control. Step five, what in your life can you simplify? Most of us refuse to face our fear because we refuse to face the fact that we may have to let go of some things in our life; we may have to temporarily cut back or go without.  

Another way to approach the same challenge is to write out “What is the worst that can happen?” Then, be prepared to accept the worst if it does happen. Now, take action as best as you can to prevent the worst from happening. For example, maybe for you “the worst” is that you will have to move out of your home, ask a friend for help, live with your parents, sell your favorite car, and so forth. Now accept that you will be ok even if you experience the worst scenario, and finally, begin to strategize ways to prevent the worst.
I said that “fear is the anticipation of pain” and so, if you choose to accept that you will be ok even if you have to do the “unthinkable”, the fear will dissipate. Fear is also a form of resistance: we anticipate pain and we are battling to resist that pain or even think about the pain. However, you will be set free when you stop trying to fight it, when you choose to change your perception of the pain, and instead say, “Whatever comes my way, I will handle and I will be ok; we will be okay.”  

For most of us, the fear cripples us because we simply think we won’t be able to handle or survive the “unthinkable”; be it humbling ourselves to ask for help, admitting that we have lost almost everything, that we failed, that we were wrong, that we are human & fallible and so forth. However, once we face and conquer our fears and  challenges we learn about our real inner strength, what matters in life and what defines us as individuals beyond our material possessions.  

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