By Jayaram V
Fear is wired into our minds. It is the most dominating emotion.
Anxiety, worry, panic, alarm, dread, terror, etc., are a few well-known
feelings which are commonly recognized as different forms or intensities
of fear. We cannot take fear out of our minds or our thinking. It
is not even a good option because fears are part of our survival
mechanism and essential for our wellbeing and safety. However, we
must deal with irrational fears that prevent us from being effective
or in control of our lives. The following are a few important facts
1. Many fears are learned: We learn fears from
experience, observation, from our parents and peers, or due to religious
or cultural influences. Some of these fears are genuine and grounded
in reality. It is however necessary to subject them to reason and
reality check and discard those that are irrational or superstitious.
2. We tend to exaggerate our fears: The fear
of what may happen is far more disturbing than the situation that
causes the fear. We habitually tend to exaggerate the outcome of
fears and in the process become paralyzed by them, and do not think
much about resolving them through rational choices.
3. Our fears are misplaced: Our fears depend
upon our perception and our ability to weigh situations. Since we
are not always good at being objective, we often fear what we should
not, and do not fear what we should consider a serious threat to
our wellbeing. For example, more people are afraid of ghosts, snakes,
spiders, and evil spirits than the possibility of death due to heart
disease, smoking, or automobile accidents.
4. We can change our responses to fears: We
can relearn and reprogram ourselves in healthier ways to deal with
our most common fears. It can be done by disputing our fears with
reason, through visualization and affirmations. Understanding the
causes of our fears is important in this regard.
5. Fear influences our social intelligence:
Fear of ridicule, disapproval, criticism, and enmity plays an important
role in our social behavior, relationships and how we express ourselves.
It is true that fear prevents many people from being effective or
assertive which can be disadvantageous in a competitive world.
6. Fear increases with responsibility: We may
fear more when our actions and decisions involve other people, which
may directly influence their safety and wellbeing. For example,
many people lead carefree lives until their marriage. Once they
are married and have children, they become more cautious and careful
about their actions and lifestyles.
7. Some fears are universal: The fears that
are common and universal are the fear of death, fear of injury,
fear of loss, fear of separation, fear of failure, and fear of disrepute
or infamy. Human behavior is mostly guided by these basic fears
8. We fear what we cannot control: Our fears
are directly related to what we can or cannot control. Since we
do not have control over many situations in life and over others,
we frequently experience fear. When we perceive that a situation
may threaten our wellbeing or peace of mind, we start worrying about
it until we find a solution. It is therefore necessary to build
good relationships and rapport with others so that when a situation
is beyond our control we can seek help from others.
9. Fear can motivate us to perform better: Fear
can paralyze many people into inaction, apathy or loss of hope.
However, in some cases it can bring out the best in humans and prompt
them to rise up to the occasion. Fear of loss, fear of failure,
fear of public humiliation can motivate people to exceed their expectations,
push themselves beyond their limits, and achieve peak performance.
Fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but a temporary relief
from the feeling of fear. It may happen when the mind is focused
on resolution of fear or when it suffers from a temporary loss of
touch with reality. Courage is also defined by some as not the opposite
of fear, but the ability to act despite fear. As humans we can gather
strength and rise up to the occasion to deal with our fears, even
though they may be seemingly frightening. While we may not successfully
resolve all fears, we can manage to control most of them with knowledge,
experience, intelligence and resolve.
Jayaram V is the Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com, Author
of Think Success, Being the Best, and several other books and
hunreds of articles on various subjects of spiritual and religious