In a world that seems demanding at times, fear may become an automatic and a habitual response. There are two types of fears, rational and irrational. In addition to that we have conscious and unconscious fears. While a rational fear is a real threat that would scare most people, an irrational one is usually a perceived threat that has no immediate or real danger and is magnified in one's mind. The person's response to the irrational fear is usually an overreaction and an exaggeration; this could be even worse if the irrational fear is unconscious.
When it comes to emotions, there are two fundamental ones: fear and love. Many of the other emotions seem to be based on these two. While fear is an obstruction to growth, a sense of love and connection bring about growth. The less the feeling of fear, the more unconditional love there will be. Unconditional love is a sense of having respect and empathy for everyone and everything in nature, regardless of how we are conditioned. It is a form of real love that is caring about the happiness of another without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It is when we care about someone's happiness, unconditionally. It is not unconditional when someone likes us doing what they want or for having what they like to have. Under those conditions it is a limited type of love, or that we are paying for love. Experiencing a real sense of love has the power to heal, connect people together and create relationships that are beyond our present capacity to imagine. It also has the ability to make the world a more peaceful place.
To work on living a fear free life, you may find these tips helpful:
1. Question your fear. Start self-reflecting on questions like "How am I feeling?" "Why am I feeling this way?" "Is my fear real or am I magnifying it?" Only then you can start re-wiring your brain to interpret and respond to situations differently.
2. Give yourself time to modify your fear. You may have spent years registering a specific fear and in order to undo it you have to be patient. You have to stick to the process in order for your brain to start reprocessing the previously learned information.
3. Review your life and how the fear affected you. Life review is not always an easy thing to do, but it is a necessity. Questions like, "In what way is the fear blocking me from experiencing my life and my innermost desires?" "Is this fear limiting the experiences I wish I could have?" "Is it slowing me down from moving forward?" Be very specific with the evidence if the answer is yes to any of these questions.
4. Know the difference between rational and irrational fears. There are some fears that are rational meaning -- there is evidence that the object, person, or the situation you are fearful of has or will damage you if you face it. So it is good to take this fear into consideration in order to take cautionary steps toward self-protection. But you have to be able to distinguish between an irrational fear and a rational one.
5. Know that your mind can turn from your best friend to your worst enemy. By magnifying situations, by black and white thinking, by being too fixated on the outcome rather than the process, by negative and harmful thinking pattern and by letting your thought run your life, you set yourself up for a life of confusion and frustration.
6. Immerse yourself in positive thinking. Let go of negative energy, thought and feelings by continuous positive self talk and self monitoring. Make yourself motivated and find positive ways to relieve stress, e.g dancing, relaxation, meditation, walking, talking to a good friend, reading a good book, etc.
At the end, recognize the connection between your fears and how your life is unfolding. Usually there is a direct correlation, and if you start seeing the pattern then you can motivate yourself to change it. With awareness, cognitive modification and self-monitoring, many changes are possible, including living a fear-free life. Actions that are based on fear are not going to give you a long term feeling of fulfillment. Fear also could be the root of anxiety, depression, and other internal disarrays. Overall, a fear-free life is a healthier and happier life.
Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
Self Knowledge Base & Foundation
For more by Roya R. Rad, M.A., Psy.D., click here.
For more on spiritual development, click here.