THE BLOG

A Lesson of 9/11

09/13/2011 06:15 pm ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

Living Fulfilled Is Letting Go of Fear

As the ominous day of the 10th anniversary of 9-11 passes, many in the world are sensing a great weight lifted from the shoulders and spirit. Having spent it outside of the US, it was amazing for me to speak to foreigners about their sentiments and answer nagging questions of how Americans feel about it these days.

The people I spoke with had haunting memories of that day which included knowing exactly where they were and how they felt. A common reaction was "apocalypse", a feeling that the world as we know it was coming to an end, tremendous sorrow and paralyzing fear.

The powerful impact of fear is what played out in their descriptions of how their lives have changed living thousands of miles from the US shores. I was reminded of fear's powerful potential and often realized crippling effect on how we live our lives.

For many it's the fear of traveling far from home; the fear of loss which prevents gain; the fear of being powerless and destitute. As a psychologist who has focused on the impact of fear on financial lives, it plays out as a self-fulfilling prophesy too often inhibiting initiative, taking risks and being pro-active with the money we earn and save.

We have to admire those that push through their fears and act in spite of feeling traumatized and immobilized by fear. It never ceases to amaze me in seeing how "taking action" despite a lack of confidence, sense of dread or worry can be the magic antidote for an otherwise crippling condition.

For me, the memory of 9-11 will be a symbol of that courage to act with a sense of conviction and courage to face fear that often translates into a sense of confidence, empowerment, and sense of fulfillment. If we don't face it and act in spite of it, we become powerless in so many areas of our lives and feel a sense of void and pessimism instead of fulfillment and hope.

So, living our most fulfilled life may be letting go of fear.