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can talk about fear quite easily because it's been such a dominant
part of my life
-- actually a driving force behind many of my actions (and
inaction) for all of the years the I've been on this planet.
Fear has been with me since early childhood and the fear of
getting in trouble or the fear of a spanking, through my
adolescent years with the fear of doing something wrong and the
fear of rejection, and through my adult years, and the fear of
being alone and the fear of things falling apart out of my
control, though I'm happy to say that the fear has diminished a
great deal over the last few years.
I've come to
learn that fear's kind of silly in most situations. It does
little except make me nervous and aggravated, but it doesn't
change the situation at all. Now, if fear actually helped
I'd be all for it, but it usually doesn't do much good at
all. It's the result of unrealistic expectations, and there
are those who believe that we aren't actually afraid of situations
or people themselves, but of what we consider those situations or
people to be. In other words, we create our own fears
through the way that we look at the world and the way that we see
things. If we see something as a threat, we feel fear; if we
see that same thing as a challenge, the fear becomes thoughts of
how to overcome that challenge.
We see this
principle in action in athletics all the time. How often
have we seen someone conquer his or her fear and perform
wonderfully in sports?
We give our children pep talks and
tell them that even though they may be afraid to get out there and
play, they'll never know how well they could do if they don't at
least try. And if they trust us, they'll take us at our word
and go and try, usually finding out that it isn't nearly as bad as
they thought it was.
We have an awesome power as parents and
adult role models to help kids get over their fears if we want to
help them in that way, and in that power is a great
We adults also
have plenty of people in our lives who try to help us by
encouraging us to face our fears, but since we're their peers, we
usually don't allow them to have the same power of authority over
us. My co-worker or wife can encourage me all they want, but
I'm an adult now, and they don't know any better than I what's
good for me. So except in certain situations, I'll listen to
their input, but I'll act on what I know to be true.
In this way, fear keeps its hold on us.
Fear also can
be self-sustaining. If I'm afraid to make friends, my fear
will cause me to do very poorly when I finally do try to do
so. Because I do poorly, the situation is extremely awkward
and difficult, and chances are very good that I'll fail in my
attempt. Because of the failure, my fear grows, and my
chances of success the next time are even slimmer.
In many ways,
fear is a form of a lack of faith, and those who feel a great deal
of fear aren't trusting life or their God to be with them.
Of course, I'm not talking about the kind of fear that we feel
when a car comes careening around a corner right at us at sixty
miles an hour--that's an instinctive, reflexive fear over which we
have no control at all. But the fear that keeps us from
helping other people, from improving ourselves and starting school
again, from giving of ourselves for fear of rejection, from
sharing our feelings for fear of ridicule--these fears show that
we're not willing to trust that even if there is rejection or
ridicule or failure, God will be there with us and for us, giving
us the support that we need to deal with those fears.
our fears--the fear that a relationship will end, the fear that
we'll lose our jobs, the fear that the world will end
tomorrow--are fears that have been with us since our very
young years, caused by some sort of lacking in our
childhood. It could have been the lack of a trustworthy
adult role model, or the lack of intimacy, or the lack of a stable
place to live, but whatever the cause, it has stayed with us and
makes our lives difficult today. Adult children of
alcoholics or of gamblers, for example, have very strong issues
with fear, and it's a lot of work--spiritually, emotionally, and
mentally--to overcome the fears that have been built over years.
important thing that we can do about our fears is to acknowledge
them, and then take steps to understand them and their
sources. Once we take this step, we can work to overcome
them. Fears are our way of keeping ourselves
"safe," but the safety brought about by fears is the
false safety that we could get by locking ourselves alone in a
small room for the rest of our lives. We wouldn't ever catch
the flu again or get hit by a car or face rejection, but we also
never would grow into the people we were meant to be.
All of us must
face rejection, failure, pain, humiliation, the anger of others,
and many other unpleasant aspects of life. Dealing with
these adversities, though, is what helps us to develop our
characters and define who we are. If we listen to and obey
our fears, we'll never find out just how strong and admirable our
character may grow to be.
When you are frightened, you
typically pull energy in to your center,
seeing less, hearing less--shrinking consciousness precisely
when you need to expand it.
is not that you must be free from
fear. The moment you try
yourself from fear, you create a resistance
Resistance, in any form,
does not end fear. What
than running away or controlling or
other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch
learn about it, come directly into contact
with it. We
learn about fear,
not how to escape from it, not how to
resist it through courage and so on.
earth gives cause for fear,
and the only freedom from fear is to be found
in the renunciation of all desire.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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infect us early in life until eventually it cuts a deep groove
apprehension in all our thinking. To counteract it, let faith,
and courage enter your thinking.
Fear is strong, but faith is
Norman Vincent Peale
our very fear of the future that distorts the now that could
to a different future if we dared to be whole in the present.
strength, experience, and confidence by every experience
where you really
stop to look fear in the face. . . .
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
in life is to be feared.
It is only to be understood.
are educated into us and can,
if we wish, be educated out.
is a time to take counsel of your fears,
and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
If you let
your fear of consequence prevent you from following
instinct, your life will be safe, expedient, and thin.
Fear is like
fire. If controlled it will help you; if uncontrolled, it will
rise up and destroy you. People's actions depend to a great
upon fear. We do things either because we enjoy doing
because we are afraid not to do them.
John F. Milburn
Fear is like a little
garden spider that makes
us jump back or the poor lost bee on the
steering wheel that we blame for our
problem in fear
is our response -- the way we treat animals
or insects that frighten us. . . . Fear is also
universal scapegoat we blame when we
take flight from
intimacy or shrink up
inside ourselves in a thousand little
passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers
of acting and reasoning as fear.
be ambitious for wealth, and yet always expecting to be poor, to be
always doubting your ability to get what you long for, is like trying to
reach east by traveling west. . . . No matter how hard you work for
if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your
neutralize your endeavors, and make success impossible.
The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
fears stand between you and what you want.
They're worth facing!
Stephen C. Paul
becomes heaven when you release your fear.
main thing in life is not to be afraid of being human.
It is very
often asserted that fear is destructive. Yet this is not
entirely true; when fear is felt about things that truly threaten
security, it is protective. It is very fortunate that humans have
an almost unlimited capacity for learning fears; otherwise
we would have been eliminated long ago.
Fear of trouble, present and future,
often blinds us to the numerous
small blessings we enjoy, silencing our prayers of praise and
single most empowering thing we can do for ourselves is to transform fear.
While fear contains tremendous power, it doesn't propel us forward and
but, rather, drags us down and chains us to the past. Freeing
ourselves from fear is
a loving intention because, as fear subsides, we are better able to access
sweet power of our hearts, which naturally leads to loving
ourselves and others more freely and completely.
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all afraid of something. But that shouldn't stop us from going on
every day. We should not always walk in fear of the shadow while we
in the light. It is certain we will not know when or how the
difficult and bad
times will come, but if we accept that they will come, then they are
to face when they do.
And always remember that anything that causes the shadow
is smaller than the source of light.
keeps us rooted in the past. Fear of the unknown, fear of
abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of not having enough, fear
of not being enough, fear of the future--all these fears and more
keep us trapped, repeating the same old patterns and making the
same choices over and over again. Fear prevents us from moving
outside the comfort--or even the familiar discomfort--of what we
know. It's nearly impossible to achieve our highest vision for
our lives as long as we are being guided by our fears.
of the recurring statements of most philosophers and religions is that
life is not scary. You'll find yourself wanting to stop because of
You may want to ask for a date, or a raise, or for a loan, but fear will
stop you. The big secret is that there is nothing to fear.
This will be hard
to accept because of your mind, which will terrify you with scenarios to
make you afraid. Be not afraid. Do the thing you wish,
and walk through the fire. On the other side is freedom.
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|Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with
is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears
are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them.
Anger is a response
that can lead to harm if we don't evaluate
what we are upset about. Ask yourself what you are afraid of,
as anger is almost always fear in disguise. If we think something
or someone threatens us, we feel fear--fear that we are inadequate,
that our lives are out of control, that things won't go our way.
Then we fight. Find out what you're upset about. We rarely are
upset for the reason we think.
|Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your
Who is more
foolish, the child afraid of the dark
or the man afraid of the Light?
know a lot of people who are healthier at age fifty than they've
ever been before, because a lot of their fear is gone.
|All manifestation of fear is a reflection of the fact that
forgotten its spiritual identity. In beginning to remember it, we
fear on notice that its days are numbered.
How is your life
limited by your fear? What are you not doing that you'd
really like to do? When we use fear to our advantage by tackling
things that evoke a sense of excitement and trepidation, fear becomes and
ally. Each experience provides a challenge and an opportunity to
your comfort zone. The way to create an extraordinary life is to
the challenge of fear work for you by building your courage muscles.
Stand up for
it be like to open our hearts to our fear, to befriend it with
wonder, as one would a deer in the forest? What if you could bring
it right into the hearth of your awareness instead of ignoring it and thus
allowing it to become an undifferentiated mass of demons that gang up
on your in the murk? Stuffed behind walls, fear becomes a horde--the
Demons of Doubt who will trample you under stories of what others
think, of your endless failures, impending humiliation, and lost control.
Together and ignored, they will drive you out of your own life. But
you invite them into the layered light of your awareness, they can't
join together and rule you from the shadows.
fear only feeds it and encourages its greedy appetite. Sometimes
we're reluctant to face a fear and give it a name or shape. It's as
admission of being frightened will set the fear and all that comes with it
into motion. When we don't face our fears, we risk creating a big
telling ourselves we're not afraid. If you've ever done this, you
how much energy it takes to beat the fear into submission
and bury it without destroying it.
Ice Cream for Breakfast
All of us experience fear, but when we confront and
we are able to turn it into courage. Being courageous does not mean
never being scared; it means acting as you know you must
even though you are undeniably afraid.
Fear is so
fundamental to the human condition that all the great
spiritual traditions originate in an effort to overcome its effects on
our lives. With different words, they all proclaim the same core
message: "Be not afraid." Though the traditions vary
the ways they propose to take us beyond fear, all hold out the
same hope: we can escape fear's paralysis and enter a state of
grace where encounters with otherness will not threaten us
but will enrich our work and our lives.
Parker J. Palmer
The Courage to Teach
|Almost all fear is fear of the
unknown. Therefore, what's the remedy?
To become acquainted with the things you fear.
overcome your fear to ask someone for a date, a raise,
or help with a project, that is an act of self-assertiveness. You
are moving out into life rather than contracting and withdrawing.
Self-Esteem Every Day
Fear is also
F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)--a famous
acronym that sheds the light of understanding on those phantoms of
fear. There are at least two false premises regarding fear.
the belief that things are as they appear to be. Increasingly,
are discovering evidence to the contrary. For example, what seems
to be solid matter is, in fact, composed of patterns of subatomic units
of energy. Second, the fearful individual assumes that he or she
the resources to handle a tragic situation. The truth is, courage
not only to the heroes and heroines but can also be developed
within you as you meet life's challenges. . . . When you look fear in the
face, you may see right through it, for, after all, it is often only a
Worldwide Laws of Life
|Part of our mind is
bent on love, and part of it is bent on fear. That
is how consciousness operates. The loving mind is called the spirit
of God, the Holy Spirit, the Shechina, and many other names.
the holy Self that lies potential within all of us, the mystical drive
to return home. We always have the choice to align ourselves with
its presence and act accordingly in the world, or give in to fear and,
on some level, die.
The problem is that the voice of the spirit is not the
of the world. Fear is louder than love here. It takes
therefore, to go against the voices of the world and to actualize our
spiritual nature. The fearful mind, or the negative ego, is alive
well within us and around us, but darkness disappears in the
presence of light. Fear has no ultimate power in a
situation dedicated through prayer to God.
you begin to face your fears, something bittersweet is going to happen to
You'll grow up. You'll lose your dependency on the grown-ups of the
because you'll realize that there is no time, no age, at which fear
and you become one of these impervious beings. You'll begin to
when you see it, not only in the shivering of a frightened little kid but
apparent coldness of a shy person, the viciousness of a bully, the
of your narcissistic boss. You'll realize that the difference
and failure isn't the absence of fear but the determination to pursue your
desires no matter how scared you are. Finally you'll realize that
fear is the raw
material from which courage is manufactured. Without it,
we wouldn't even know what it means to be brave.
Your Own North Star
out of the things we think; it lives in our minds.
Compassion grows out of the things we are, and lives in our hearts.
original Eeyore had at least a certain grim sense of humor, a sort
of funnyness-with-its-lights-turned-out. Latter-day Eeyores seem to
be missing that. One thing they do have, however, is fear.
are afraid--afraid to risk positive emotional expression, positive action,
positive involvement in anything beyond Ego. Those things are
they say, and they don't want to look stupid. (They don't seem to
looking Paralyzed with Fear--they just don't want to look stupid.)
The Te of Piglet
I believe it is fear we should be
fighting, not the "other." We all belong to
the same human tribe; that kinship supersedes our differences.
"Finding the Strength to Fight Our Fears"