To be able to talk about fear and its effects on our lives... it's not enough to just scratch the surface but we need to dig deeper. This is really important, as the presence of fear can be a life-changing experience. You nurture it, it's your constant companion so you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who has full control over what fear is 'allowed' to do with your life. So why do we hang onto it? Why can't we just make up our minds that we don't need it anymore? Why do we find a guilty pleasure in tirelessly putting obstacles in front of ourselves?
We all know how to make our lives harder with focusing on malicious things only to damage our already embattled self-appreciation. We cling onto them, repeating them like mantras in our everyday struggle with the all time favorite: 'I'm not enough'. In many instances these toxic thoughts stem from an absolutely surreal situation and still they have the power to turn our lives upside down. It's quite common with siblings that the youngest one wants to compete with the elders. Seemingly the first-born is better at everything, more talented, smarter and more successful. And there's the little one who experiences the whole thing as a failure as she can never be someone like her big sister even if she was much more talented in other things. This early encounter with low self-appreciation can stigmatize their relationship forever. Someone should have told her that she is not less or less talented, it's only that she needs to find her own way and place where she can thrive. However, as long as she doesn't understand that she was born with different skills and talents to fulfill a different destiny she will always refer to the 'I'm not doing this because I'm a failure' mantra.
That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt, this is its sole purpose. Or wait a second, I can think of something else too: it's here to destroy us, how uplifting. You need to confront yourself how much you need this experience in your life, if you need it at all? Good question.
Paul Bloom -- in his TED talk -- talks about pain and how we experience pain. According to his research if you need to undergo a painful procedure, like the extraction of a tooth, it hurts for the first time but it hurts less for the second as you are already familiar with the feeling and you can control your reaction to the pain. But in a situation when we know that someone causes pain on purpose, regardless of how many times it is repeated it will hurt the same way as if it happened for the first time. We are so fallible. We are humans: if you think someone hurts you on purpose it hurts so much more.
A little background. Do you remember a time when you were madly in love with someone who according to your closest friends was a rather bad match but still you were convinced that he was THE ONE? It's known as Capgras syndrome. You get a specific delusion when you can't see the flaws of a person who is close to you; you see what you want to see. Paul Bloom talks about this in length besides other perception-related matters. For instance he sheds light on a very plain psychological behavior. People tend to value things based on their history. For instance the bubble gum of Britney Spears went for several hundreds of dollars on the Internet. Nobody would normally pay this amount of money for a bubble gum; it's a matter of perception.
According to Wikipedia, Capgras syndrome is a disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. It is classified as a delusional misidentification syndrome.
Everyone knows the story of the famous violinist, Joshua Bell. The story in short: The Washington Post enlisted him for an audacious experiment when he had to take his million dollar violin down to a Washington D.C. subway station to play there. They wanted to see how much people would like Joshua Bell, the music of Joshua Bell if they didn't know they were listening to Joshua Bell. Surprising or not, only one lady recognized him and gave him $20 as a sign of pity.
The purpose of this experiment was to test people's senses, taste and priorities. Take a general, everyday environment; are we capable of perceiving beauty? Can we stop for a second to appreciate truly valuable things? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected situation?
The most important conclusion I think is this: If we can't pause for a second to listen to one of the world's most talented musician then how many precious moments have we missed throughout our lives?
In 2012 Oprah Winfrey restarted her Lifeclass series - the biggest classroom in the world. On the course of this series of events they visited the biggest stadiums of America where several high-profile life-coaches occupied the grand stand to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. One of them was Tony Robbins, the 'why guy', who I have already blogged about. His effect on people is simply incredible. I watched a dozen videos and examined how he changes entire lives by not leaving any other option. No force, no persuasion, but simply makes you spell out why things don't work. Most of the time you say it yourself in a moment of shock that you've always known the real reasons lying behind your problems.
He quickly reveals the cure for fear: If you have no choice left you will do things that you wouldn't normally do. He demonstrates his theory with the following example: What happens if somebody tries to hurt your child? You'll fight the villain like a lion in the blink of an eye. Most likely you are a modest and peaceful person, but if someone you love gets hurt you do whatever feels right even if it means you have to confront others. Feeling the fear and do it anyway - that's the essence of it. When there are no alternatives you don't hesitate, you just dive into it without worrying whether you fail or not. You just do what you have to do anyway.
Stop pursuing perfection. Nobody and nothing is perfect. What you can do, however, is to believe and practise, believe and practise, relentlessly. Believe in yourself immovably and don't be afraid to be who you really are. You are unique and irreplaceable; don't try to be someone else. You don't need to pretend you are someone who you are not; those who love you will love you anyway! The only way to success leads through self-acceptance, courage and wisdom. Be wise enough to be yourself!
Your fears are the reason for not achieving your dreams. Think about it for a second. You have to convince yourself of your incapabilities so that you can justify why you don't do things, don't make decisions just to avoid disappointment or to disappoint others; this is so convenient and safe. Familiar, isn't it? So what is it that scares us? It's failure, the fear that we are not enough... But this is the whole point of our journey in this life; to never give up and do it anyway. You have to understand that big things take time but it doesn't mean you should give up writing, dancing, singing, acting or whatever it might be. You have to practise every single day for 10 years if that's what it takes. I've already told you about the 10 000 hour-rule so... Carry on!
I know it's easier said than done while your family and friends are pestering you about the results. Where are they going to see something visible or tangible of all the efforts you've put into this? This unwanted frustration of course slowly ruins everything and bang, you are back to square one. And you might have only been one step away from breakthrough. Leighton Meester had gone to the same audition for 20 times before she eventually got Blair's role.
You have to be generous with yourself and leave more time for things to unfold in their natural rhythm. If you pull a sprout out of the ground too early to smell the blossom it will soon die. There's a reason why it's in the soil for so long; it needs to gain strength to be able to hold the bloom. Don't rush life, let it prepare you; show you how to be strong to be ready for what's waiting for you. The longer it takes the bigger the reward is.
Divorce the story - marry the truth. Cut out the fluff (nobody wants me, I'm not beautiful enough, I'm not skinny enough, Can't find my place etc.) and choose the truth. Be objective and realize that things aren't as bad as you think they are. Nobody wants to hurt you, only you. However you should be careful whom you surround yourself with. Dramatic as it sounds but you have to get rid of those people who bring you down, always talk about others and constantly complain... Be careful, you'll become who you spend time with...
So when is the fear going to vanish? When you start focusing on serving others while doing your job, that's when you forget about fear. You just carry on with your life holding your head high, forming your environment and you won't see the obstacles anymore, as there will be none. All the doors will open one by one as you're doing the exact thing what you were born to do, to deliver your own message. We are all individual fortune cookies... We all have a message hidden that we need to pass on to others. Find your message and lose your fears. Never forget, everything is momentary; you only own the moment you're in. You write the next chapter with your thoughts, your feelings and your faith that nothing can rewrite your life but you!
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