They say that our greatest lives lie, where our greatest fears are!
And yet, most of us, even subconsciously, end up letting our fears overpower us. This article is an attempt to learn more about our fears, so that we can be more aware of them and hence make lot more conscious choice on how we want to live our lives and work towards becoming the best we can!
Fear, at the very base of it, is nothing but a mental construct – that we somehow learn over our lifetime through the multiple of experiences that we go through. These are kind of self-induced hallucinations, that we start believing in as we grow – and then end up letting them govern our actions. One the best example to understand is to look at a kid – who despite falling multiple times and getting hurt, still learns to balance himself and walk – all because he has still not ‘learnt’ fear!
This now takes us to understand various kinds of fear that we usually may have:
- Fear of Failure: This is one of the most common fear that stops us from venturing out and trying newer things in life – and its essentially because in our own interpretation – we think ‘Failure’ is bad and socially unacceptable. The moment we can start to become more aware and realise that Failure actually is a stepping stone and learning curve, that we need to go through, if we really want to achieve higher levels of success. (Watch what some leading entrepreneurs and investors think about failure and its importance in their life in my series on Failure Acha Hai ). If we can learn to embrace failure, we can say goodbye to our fear of failure.
- Fear of Success: Contrary to popular perceptions, a lot of us have Fear of Success – we fear how success might change us! For some of these, trying to be successful becomes a kind of comfort zone and they start to feel uncomfortable with how would they do without the perceived struggle, that keeps them busy currently, if they finally succeed in achieving what they are struggling for! And this again, limits them from giving in the best that they can to a given situation and they just stop short of crossing the finish line. Let us learn that neither failure, nor success are permanent – these are just stepping stones for us to help us complete the larger purpose that we are here for – and we need to be balanced accepting both and keep trying our best.
- Fear of Rejection: Again, for most of us, rejection is self-perceived to be detrimental to our cause. Winners realise that rejection is perhaps nature’s way of giving us the nudge in the right direction and if considered positively, can put us on a right path. A rejection can help us to do better, think better and work better towards our goals. History is replete with how legends that we speak of, embraced multiple rejections and yet emerged victorious and better equipped to be successful. (Watch my video – Rejection ke Aage Jeet Hai (There’s success beyond Rejection) for more inspiration on this)
- Fear of Not Being Good Enough: Yet another common fear, which some of us continue to embrace even after succeeding in our initial goals – is doubting our own value and feeling whether we are really good enough to be worthy of the success that we have achieved so far. Also referred to as Impostor Syndrome, we keep believing that maybe its not our own efforts that is leading to our success, but some external factors which are just working in our favor. While the larger destiny will always play out its role, we shouldn’t forget that our results are always directly proportional to our actions and we have to be bold enough to accept both good and bad outcomes.
5. Fear of Not Having Enough: This is the fear that leads to a notion that we still need more and get into practice of hoarding things up – be it money, love, relationships, material goods etc. Our own internal gaps/needs, maybe a lack which we may be carrying inside of us since our childhood or some bad experience memory, would be getting reflected on our outside world and that is why – we keep seeking more & more – without trying to learn to be content with what we have already. However, once we can accept that as long as we will work with best of intentions and capabilities, there will be abundant resources for us – we can gradually kick this kind of insecurities out!
6. Fear of Looking Different: This is a commonality if we feel that our physical appearances are not in sync with otherwise socially acceptable norms. We just need to learn to accept ourselves and keep believing in our inner capabilities.
7. Fear of Loosing Control: Once again, most of us, over a period of time, learn to become control freaks – lead by an underlying assumption that if we do not control the things – the outcome may not be favourable or may not be what we thought or judge that it should be. And this is the reason why we like to keep a hold over things – be it processes in office, be it our relationships, be it the way we live our daily lives. Once again, we need to alter our mental perception and learn to let go – and believe that if we have done something with best of our capability and intention – the result is not for us to worry about. As the religious scripture of The Bhaghvad Gita always says – Karm Kar, Phal ki Chinta Mat kar (Focus on doing the task with best intentions, leave the results to larger destiny)
8. Fear of Being Alone: This is again one fear which cripples lot of us and keep us discontented, even if we have all other success to boast of. Though we humans are social animals – it has now being proven that if we can learn and embrace self-love – we will eventually stop feeling dependent on others to make us feel complete.
9. Fear of Illness: This fear again may base in ourselves, if someone related closely, or maybe we ourselves, may have gone through a critical health phase. Or, like in the present Covid 19 context, if some health challenge may be blown out of proportion by excessive media exposure. While this fear is the perceived disease, the cure is to live a conscious healthy life. Be aware of what you eat and including some active physical activities in your daily routines are enough to keep the doctor, and this fear, away!
10. Fear of Love: Surprising as it may sound, some of us fear being loved, cared for and valued. Again – this could get formed in our subconscious of maybe having faced some rejection or heart break in the past – and we start associating someone loving us as someone who would misuse our emotions for their ulterior motives. Just as every day is a new day – we must realise that every relationship is a new relationship and we should open ourselves to the possibilities of love and abundance.
11. Fear of Being Insignificant: Close to the fear of are we good enough – is this related fear of being insignificant – and always under-estimating the value that we bring on the table. We again need to keep strongly believing in ourselves and never under appreciate our own skill sets, intentions, hard work and values.
12. Fear of Being Authentic Selves: Again, because we may not be confident of ourselves or believe in our capabilities, we may be afraid of being ourselves and try to emulate others – thinking that doing so will take us faster to our success. We need to accept that all of us are born different – what each one of us have as blend of physical and intellectual assets – is something which no one else can have and that is how, we can live our purpose fully by being our authentic selves.
Understanding the Biology of Fears, ‘Fear’ is a natural brain tendency – embedded deep into cortex in order to protect us from harmful external stimulus. Fear, in itself, isn’t bad and is necessary to prevent us from several situations – like jumping off a cliff or burning ourselves. However, it are the above mentioned emotional fears, which we need to be more aware about. As humans evolved, our brain also evolved to give us a possible control within us, with which we do get a certain time period of 0.25 seconds to study our response and control whether we should or shouldn’t trigger our fears. Hence, all we need is to be little bit more mindful, start learning to understand why are we responding in a certain way and making sure that our reactions are not being borne out of our fears. Kindly refer to attached video to understand this more deeply.
Again, as emphasised in previous sections, fear is born out of what we know as ‘Enculturation’ – or a process where societal conditioning and experiences form and embed our fears within us. More often than not, these become our ‘Negative Codes’ – inner beliefs which keep becoming stronger with every new experience and start guiding our judgements and responses. If only we start becoming mindful, self aware and reflect internally – will we be able to know these fears and gradually, with practice – convert our ‘Negative Codes’ to ‘Empowering/Affirmative Codes’ – which then can start pushing us towards success, rather than stopping and limiting us from doing our best. (Everyone can change their inner coding and pivot their fears to become their strengths. To know more, download the brochure of Claim your Path program now)
And with this, let us understand some ways where we can beat fears:
- Heightened Awareness: As we have been emphasising on this – the base cure of any fear is its awareness. While immediate emotional response to fear may take some time to build, a way towards that could be start journaling your fears. Maintain a Fear Diary – write about what fear you think made to respond in a certain way – and you will realise that fears may actually be lot more smaller than what you think.
- Validate your Fears: Again, try to hear your fears. Most of the fears normally come associated with related physical symptoms – such as sweating, body warming up, heart beat going up or others. Be aware if you are feeling any of these symptoms while responding to a stimulus, and you will know that it is your fears, and maybe not your rationale, which is making you behave in a particular manner.
- Give a Voice to your Fear: Sharing helps – even when it comes to beating fears. Share, express and discuss about your fears with your mentors or trusted close acquaintances – and they may help you to keep it in check and even make you realise that your fears do not have any strong grounding at all and are just blown up in your own perceptions.
4. Write to your Fears: Write a letter to your fears, befriending them, what actually caused them and all that was just past and that they can’t hold you back anymore!
5. Do What You Fear: Sometimes, it helps to run TOWARDS your Fears rather than against them. Prepare yourself and jump right into the pool of your fears and you may actually turn up surprising yourself!
6. Happy Board: Pick up your best memories, your most pleasant moments and try sticking them up to a large chart – call it your Happiness Chart. And next time, whenever any fear hits you or turn you down, just go and have a dekko at this happiness chart and make yourself realise that what you are fearing now, is just one moment.
7. Reframe your Thoughts: Lot of times, again because of our ‘Negative Inner Codes’, we keep repeating self defeating reinforcements. Once we start becoming more aware, we need to reframe our thoughts and what all we say to reinforce our beliefs. We need to start looking at positive facets even if the situation could be unfavorable. We need to start celebrating the rich reality and whatever we have succeeded in achieving till now.
8. Love – the antidote of fears: Be open to love yourself, to celebrate your individuality, to be proud of your journey till date and even the challenges that you have faced and what have they made you till date. Be open to fail, to experiment, to learn, to fall and rise again, to accept the abundance that your life has given you so far – and which surely lies in front of you!
The above video is the recording of live webinar which we conducted on this subject.
We hope that you would benefit from these thoughts and would be able to beat your fears!
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