(Published in Daijiworld TV & media network in 2017).
We are virtually afraid of everything; from the fear of God above to fear of goons around, fear of parents to fear of influential people. It is fear everywhere. We all encounter concerns, apprehensions, and various fears at every step in our daily lives that may originate from the environment we live, fearful life experiences, faulty thoughts, family history, and most notably due to lack of knowledge about the fear itself. I had a terrifying past going through all types of fears possible. Moreover, I know personally how destructive and limiting that emotion is. Before learning the art of controlling it, I paid a heavy price. I hope that the points discussed here may help people who fear coming out of the unseen, unrealistic net of fear.
I am addressing only a few daily life fears those limits our growth since the subject is too vast to contain in 3 to 4 pages. There are many types of fears. They exist in different names like fear, phobia, anxiety, depression, nervousness, tension, stress, and so on; they are all names of siblings originating from a single parent –The Fear. Specific fears may be destructive, mainly fear of rejection, fear of performance, fear of life-threatening diseases, etc. can be fatal if we do not address and contain them in time. Some other fears limit our progress, like fear of changing jobs, fear of examination, fear of making (right) decisions, etc. Furthermore, there are those fears beyond our control, like fear of aging, retirement and impending death, etc.
I suffered from severe sleep deprivation for a very long time by an incident that jolted me at a very young age. That is the reason why ended up studying Psychology and Neuro Linguistic Programming-NLP. When I first seek help, I was just 17 years old, and the tremors continued to disturb me for years. So my psychiatrist referred me to advanced counseling. My exercise was to write down what I go through during the sleeplessness period. Furthermore, every day during sessions with Doctors, all those fears/concerns were futile because not even a single day my fear came out true (even though I had a rational base to concern), it was my ignorance (mistake) that I continue to embrace the fear despite that. After that incident also I have undergone many more frightening incidents, but the emotional scars of that never left me.
I learned from my experience / doctors that fear/concerns do not go away as long as we exist. They are a part of our daily life. Only the way we approach it and contain it makes the result; fearful or fearless.
It is true that 90% of our fears do not have any rational base at all (we perceive only) and do not happen (Those having a rationale base also need not come out true). This is the common truth with every person. The biggest lesson I learned is that we can handle all the fears without controlling the outside world, just by acting on our thinking process. All we have to do to diminish the fear is to develop more trust in our ability to handle whatever comes in our way. Most of those who experience fear indeed have less trust in their ability to handle it. It is on this foundation fear has built its palace. For some reason, we do not feel good ourselves. It is because we do not know what we are! And not interested in knowing also. If only 10% of our worries can ever come out true (if at all), we have every reason to have a positive mindset, but we do the opposite.
The question is why we mistrust our abilities so profoundly? What makes negative thinking looks more realistic and optimistic so unrealistic? I asked this question during my NLP studies to my professor. The answer was; it is a purely individual mistake when a choice is available between positive and negative, and if we select negative, we cannot blame it on situation or circumstances, but we need to blame ourselves. Almost every situation throws us choices. If we select the wrong one, it is our mistake.
Most of the time, this wrong selection has something to do with our conditioning; the “Be Careful’ phrase every step! Careful about what? No one has the answer. This phrase starts at home at a very young age. It is more realistic to teach our kids how to cross the road than saying “Be Careful” while crossing the road. The selection of words makes the whole world around us look and feel differently. “Exam Fear”;-Is it there? It is the fear of peers, friends, parents, siblings, and society at large. You discount these factors from exam fear and see who is afraid of writing the exams and the result. There will not be any suicides related to performance.
Delaying to take action due to fear can be fatal. This fear is related to life-threatening diseases like cancer. I witness/hear many saying that they are afraid of screening even when the body sends down the signal. Most of them are well-qualified people! What are we doing by delaying screening and not seeing the doctor? We are going to shake hands with the death even faster. We are taking away our chances of survival that goes against the very basic idea of not screening. Delaying due to fear in the case of illness is like committing suicide. By postponing treatment, we cannot cure any disease and ruin ourselves. Kindly do not sign your death sentence. By overprotecting us, we achieve nothing but correct, and we can achieve the best outcome. Try to correct the system because your life is precious to your loved ones if not to you. The fact is that no one can escape the fear of death.
I had a chance to meet and discuss with a person who had received the death penalty. Externally he looked pretty comfortable when I saw him. After a lengthy discussion, I asked him about his fears of facing death. He said he does afraid like any other person. However, more than it, he was more concerned about what he did. He was very upset about a few things (which I cannot explain over here), and he was very remorseful. What he told me further is more important. He said he accepted full responsibility for what he did and accepted whatever came on his way, including the verdict. This meeting will remain a more educative incident in my life. I witnessed medical counseling to a terminally ill young cancer patient Doctors were counseling him to accept what happened to him rather than questioning, “God, Why me?” When we pass through the extreme fears surrendering to Almighty is the best option.
Fear of losing the job and changing the job is directly linked to our inadequacies related to qualifications and laziness. Concern about good looks is related to our lack of knowledge and common sense. We fail to understand what makes an attractive personality and concentrate only on skin color. Most of the fears we face persist due to delay in addressing the issues, being known what we supposed to do to come out of the situation.
Making decisions is another important area we are often concerned about—fear of making the wrong decision. Confusion is common when we have to select one among the multiple choices. Being in confusion costs us more emotionally than not making a decision. We get enough chances in life to change/correct the decision if something goes wrong also. Need not be extra serious about any decision. It is not the decision, but the result of our action makes it so. There cannot be a perfect decision initially; perfection comes from many wrong steps we take. Understand that by not choosing, we are selecting confusion.” Do not make any wrong decision” sounds fearful when fear should have been for not making a decision. Ask them who says do not make the wrong decision for the right decision; I am sure they do not have the right decision. That is what they reflect in their advice and plant fear.
When I first came to Dubai, I was confused about selecting a job out of three offers. I selected the one who paid me a little less than the other two. My decision was purely taken based on the quality of the interview rather than the initial package offered, which proved to be a correct one later. If we know which parameter to be weighed on and take a little risk, decision-making may be made a little easier. We press too much on perfection initially itself, which may not be the proper practice.
Our approach to a situation, confident or apprehensive, changes the result accordingly. The game of cricket better explains this. It is always T20 match produces more average runs per over than one day or test match because of batsmen’s fearless approach to the format. If the sportsperson is down mentally, his body does not support performing in any sport. That is why the pressure in any crunch game in any sport is heavy during the initial 10 minutes or so because every team tries to dominate the underlying fear of performance of the opposition. Those10 minutes are vulnerable to commit the mistake out of fear and nothing to do with the talent.
Similarly, in daily life, too, there are many waiting to encash on our fears. When the mind is faulty, the body does not support it. That is why we say we have headaches, sweating, palpitations, no energy, no mood, etc., and go to a physician rather correcting the thoughts. After a few moments/days, symptoms reappear, and this routine continues because a layman does not know where the fault lies. If we are fearful and not assertive enough, we will land in trouble.
When the lift is more than the weight, airplanes fly. When that machine fails to obey the weight/lift ratio, it falls off. Fears are not significant, but how we deal with them is going to dictate our lives. If we can create our “bad luck,” we can create “good luck” also. I still go into depression at difficult moments, but I control and come out of it quickly the way I mastered it. We can make the fear a better companion of ours by dictating our terms to the fear, not vice versa.
To fly high in lifelike an airplane in the sky, the weight of the burdens should be less than the lift of the joy. Every one of us has the potential to perform and fly high. Because of these types of unknown and non-existing fears, concerns and apprehensions, we do not reach the right altitude where we should have been. Address those concerns in time and lead a joyful and fulfilled life.
There is no fear in life that we cannot handle. They exist because we can handle it. We cannot handle when we think and believe so. Just believe and say that “I can handle it,” and see the magic for yourself. The best and only way to defeat fear is to pass through the fear. There is no shortcut. Fear does not go first, and we do whatever we want to do later when the good time comes. This will never happen. A good time starts when we initiate an action. Any fear has to be defeated by stamping on it and climbing step by step. In life situations, do not read and understand “cannot” as it is in the English grammar, but read as canT; T junction provides you two escape routes, left and right, allowing you to proceed through the gate of fear.
Fear threatens everyone, not only week people. From influential presidents to priests, army general to the public in general, everyone lives under cover of protection. The more the power, the more will be the fears.
If we want to know what we have, what we are made of from inside, we need to confront the worst possible fears. This is what happened 12 years back (year 2009) in America. As soon as an airplane took off, both the engines were hit by birds, just above 3000 feet above the ground. With full fuel load and people on board, there was no iota of a chance of survival. Nevertheless, the captain made the impossible possible; by lading the airplane on the river. It was a big miracle in aviation history, and the pilot received the highest civilian award in the USA. He received the best because he braced the worst.
We think they are daredevils, but it is not the case. They were also ordinary like us till that moment, but their bravery at the trying moments made them extraordinary.
Look at those stunt performers. Are they born daredevils? No. They practiced hard and conquered their fears. If everyone who felt fear has withdrawn from performing, we would not have achieved so much. Look at the Right brothers, and they invented the airplane. Don’t they felt afraid when they took off for the first time? They would have. Despite that, they did it, which made our life easier and joyful. Just imagine the type of machine they have flown more than a century back! So it is not the fear but what we do about it that makes the difference in life. We need to stop believing and practicing negative things as truth. That is why our surroundings are so chaotic because we fail to address issues out of fear and concern about our safety.
All of us might have done for ourselves many acts which we feared initially, but still completed the act and felt the joy and satisfaction of the result. This emotion we have to anchor tightly inside us and get inspiration when we are challenged/threatened. Better to stay away from those who want to see you as a weak person. Wonderful and supporting friends bless me. My recovery and climb are a direct result of the good friends and innovative companions I have.
Anger (individuals), blame game (relations), office politics (professionals), withholding information and knowledge (among students; as well as in-office), non-cooperation (families, neighbors), etc. all because of the underlying fear that someone may perform better and go ahead than us. All these are different names of the actions associated with fear—a direct result of our inadequacy and mistrust of ourselves. However, we do not understand that when we create barriers for others, every person can create opportunities if one can beat the fears and concerns. When Pokhran 2 atomic explosion was done, the USA avoided giving rocket technology to India, fearing India’s progress. In a short period, India came out strongly and now reached Mars ahead of other countries. Full credit to our ex-President, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam. As a country today, we are fearless of outside aggressors.
Before concluding, I would like to say that seek professional help to solve problems or whatever limits your growth may be even to have awareness and knowledge. Being concerned all the time without resolution can lead to severe depression and fear. We are ready to suffer and prepared not to excel in life instead of addressing it. That is why I openly wrote at the beginning that I have taken clinical psychologist’s help to address my problem, eventually ending up studying psychology for four years, and that changed my life forever. My circumstances and surroundings are the same even now. What changed is how I address it, which changed my life. We go to a physician when the body signals something wrong in the system, like when we have a fever. Similarly, we must get proper advice and care when we run into depression, fears, and strikes. It signals that something faulty exists in our environment, putting a strain on our cognition (thinking process).
The best way to come out of fears/depression/anxiety, the best way is not to sit idle. Generally, such people show withdrawal symptoms sitting alone and aloof, shutting the door of expression. As I always write and end my articles, it is the knowledge about the problem that wins the battle for us. With fear/concerns, also we need to do the same thing, arm with knowledge about the fear, its (non-existing!)Origin, and live a peaceful life. We may be either having fears or courageous, but when we live in society, every step we have to deal with wrong people; through their attitude, they make others feel afraid. For them, my only message is that everyone gets the opportunity. Look at the history, and at present, those powerful and threatens people perish through violent fears.
When God created us and all those living organisms around us, he planted the qualities to fight against the odds. They are innate. Only when we encounter a storm, they come out to rescue us. Habitually we perceive too much before things occur, and most of the time, that occurs is much different than what we perceive.
Fear does not exist. It is like a shadow of an object. Once we switch on the light of knowledge, it disappears.