Overcoming Fear

DSC_0110 copyTo be unafraid we need to examine where our fears come from. Nearly all of our fears can be divided into two categories

  • Fear of not having enough
    • Fear of not being enough

These fears are often socially constructed by those who want us to behave in certain ways.  For example, the fear of being not good enough at our job may make us work harder and the fear of aging may make us buy expensive cosmetics. The fear that others might make negative judgements about us can persuade us to do many things from feeling guilty about taking a day off, obsessing about the way we look or never speaking out about how we really feel.

To the media, advertising and big business, our fear equals money in their pockets.  They use our fears about the way we look  to sell us products that will ‘cure’ our fears. In the same way, we are sold houses, cars and all the other material possessions we strive for, by advertisers and big businesses creating a fear in us that only their products can cure. Except that of course their products only remove the fear briefly, if at all. The big businesses don’t want their products to actually cure the fear, because if they did, we wouldn’t need to buy the next product, the next wonder cure for wrinkles or the next phone that would change our lives, make us more creative and improve all our relationships.

I’m not saying all material possessions are pointless, many are rewarding to own or experience and bring pleasure and joy into our lives. But we should buy things because we love them, not because we fear what we would be without them or fear what others would think of us if we didn’t acquire them.

Our fear equals power to governments, too. If a government persuades us to fear the poor, immigrants, single mums or hooded teenagers, they are successfully distracting us from deeper issues such as inequality, corruption and injustice.

When you think about it, very little of what we fear is worth worrying about. If someone judges me for what I look like, I believe it is because they are still stuck in the mode of making fear based judgements. It doesn’t harm me in any way. I must learn not to care what others think of the clothes I wear, the car I drive, or the way I talk- because then I will be free of fear.

Of course, some things in life are truly frightening. We sometimes don’t have enough money to pay the rent, and occasionally our loved ones get sick or are hurt. But worrying about these things in advance does nothing to help us. We need to trust that we will deal with these things when they arise, just as we have dealt with other difficult and painful experiences in our lives. And  in the meantime, we should forget the petty fears and live life joyfully, lovingly and passionately.

Right now you are definitely good enough and you probably have enough, be grateful for that and let yourself be happy with yourself and your life just the way they are.

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