“All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory” – How to Win Friends and Influence People
Just a few minutes ago I felt compelled to write a new post and as usual, I wanted to just speak what’s on my mind and let it develop into whatever subject that may come out. I was pondering a few thoughts on happiness, what creates it, why it can be so abundant at times, and other times, so out of reach. This thought led me to think about the moments I’ve felt most thrilled with life, most fulfilled, and most happy. It always happens when you take action, when you achieve something great, when you’re interacting with people, and really connecting with them. To me these are some of the things that happy moments are made of. Then I realized that a lot of times, we aren’t living in a way that creates a constant flow of these moments and a big part of what prevents them is fear. I’m not going to sit here and write on a subject as basic as overcoming fear which has been talked about in an idealized way over, and over again. I want to put a focus on preconditioning, and how society plays such a drastic role in creating most of our fears.
Let’s get started with the issue of fear and cover some of the basics. If you are going to live life to the fullest you have to make decisions and go after the things you want. You cannot let fear of the things you don’t want be a motivator in your decision making. Fear is negativity. Fear is entertaining the thought of a possible negative outcome. Fear is worrying, and worrying is wasted emotional energy. You should never worry about anything unless you’re in a position where you can take ACTION and do something to change it, because WORRYING itself changes nothing. It’s totally pointless, and completely irrational. Additionally, expect things to work out and go your way until they don’t. And when they don’t, do something about it.
Do not fear failure. Accept the fact that whenever you take a risk or try something new there’s a chance that it will not work out, and that you might “fail”. I use quotations here because failure is just a matter of perspective. It’s subjective. Often times if you step up, put yourself out there and try something new, no matter what the outcome, you’re going to learn so much more than you would have otherwise. Any experience is good experience, and from that perspective there truly is no such thing as failure.
So what are we afraid of? Often times, people are afraid of uncertainty. They’re afraid of commitment, afraid to make themselves vulnerable, afraid of humiliation, afraid thing won’t work out the way they planned, afraid to be alone, afraid that by going after what they truly want they may never achieve it, so they stay on the safe path of complacency, never reaching their full potential. Most of these fears are irrational and stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you believe in yourself, you trust yourself to act, to make decisions in any circumstance, and you know that whatever comes up, you can handle. You also understand that anything you want you can obtain if you’re willing to commit to it, invest the time, learn as much as you can, and do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be.
One of my biggest fears is that I will allow fear to have an influence on the decisions I make. Fear is scarcity mentality. If you’re in a relationship that isn’t everything you’ve dreamed it would be and you stay, then you believe that finding something better is scarce, or not probable. If you know what you’re worth deep down and you settle for less you will NEVER be totally satisfied. You can only lie to yourself for so long. Eventually your true feelings will surface and evading your intuition will come back to hurt you in the end.
You have to know what you want out of life and if you don’t, I suggest you think about it. Start writing down whatever you can come up with. Once you have your ideals, your dreams, and your purpose, you then must have complete faith that you will obtain this for yourself. It may take time and a lot of hard work. But if know your own value and want the best for yourself you’ll do whatever it takes to create the life you’ve dreamed of. You only live once, so make it count and never settle.
Now I’m going to get into social conditioning and why people in modern times seem to be so irrationally fearful. To put it simple, people don’t think for themselves. They don’t have their own set of values, they don’t know what they want out of life, they let the media and corporate marketing propaganda dictate what’s important in life, so they end up with a shallow, superficial set of values with no depth what so ever. This creates masses of unsure, insecure people trying to live up to superficial standards that mean nothing, and even if achieved, will leave them feeling empty inside.
Society values money, looks, status, consumerism, and material possessions. What do these things do for you as a person? If you were to get all the superficial toys, status, and looks right now how would that change your life? How would that change who you are as a person, and how you feel inside? Sure, it would be great at first, but a year or two into it when the law of familiarity kicks in and you take these things for granted as much as you do running water, grocery stores, refrigeration, heat, and air conditioning, all of which, up until the past 100 years or so would have been paradise for any human being, you’re right back to feeling the same way you did before.
Society has us chasing money based on a purely superficial system of values. This is why you see so many financially successful people in Hollywood or in the music industry who are just absolutely miserable and make a mess out of their lives. It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It will make life easier but you will never be able to buy fulfillment.
This will only come from living your purpose, having your own values, knowing that you’re an exceptional human being based on the fact that you are living your values, that you stand for something, and that you decide what matters in your life. You think for yourself, you thrive to be the best person you can be, to continuously evolve and to have your existence make the world a better place in one way, or another.
The key is to open your eyes and see the world for yourself. Consciously decide to wake up and determine what matters to you, not anyone else. You have to create an internally validated reality where you value your own mind, your own perception, and your own judgment above what anyone else thinks. Stop caring what other people think. Realize that gaining others approval means nothing if you don’t have your own. Stop seeking reactions and assurance from everyone else. Do not live in an externally validated reality because you will always be chasing approval and acceptance of others. If you have your own approval, if you’re accepting of yourself, and you know that you’ve put in the work to become a decent person, that’s all that matters. This is where true self-confidence comes from.
Once you’ve achieved this you are free to live the life you’ve always wanted. You are free to express yourself and be the person you were meant to be, without repressing anything out of fear. Seeking external validation is FEAR of rejection. Fear that people will not approve of you. No matter how pure your intentions are, there will always be people who don’t approve of you. And often times it’s because of their own insecurities that they’ll react to you in this way. You need to value your opinion more than what anyone else thinks and once you have that dialed in, you’ll no longer care what they think.
Don’t allow social norms to limit you and keep you from becoming the person you want to be. Often times we are so deeply conditioned to behave “normal” and there are so many limitations on what behavior is socially acceptable and what is not, that we become timid and afraid of things that aren’t a big deal. If you allowed yourself to act outside of social norms and do things that would be perceived as extreme, then the things you currently fear would seem like nothing by comparison. I’m not saying go out and do things that are totally insane, but rather take into consideration all the possibilities and ways you could choose to behave. What if you had to do something totally unacceptable by societies standards? Think of something totally out there and then think of yourself actually having to do that thing. Now think of something you currently are afraid of, or that causes you anxiety. Doesn’t seem so bad anymore in contrast to the other thing, does it?
We need to start to become aware of the ways in which we are limited by social programming, and how it may be causing us to fear things that are really quite petty. Always face your fears and expose yourself to the things you’re afraid of. This is how you overcome fear.
Think outside the box, make your own judgments and don’t allow the masses to place limitations on what you decide to do in life. The masses are easily influenced and will swallow anything the media forces down their thoughts. Just look at the tabloid garbage that floods the headlines on CNN while there are wars going on that we never hear about, legislation being passed that goes unmentioned, and politicians who actually care about what’s good for the people, not their own personal gain, who are completely ignored for that very reason. Challenge conventional beliefs and realize that the way we live now may be looked back upon in fifty years as totally ignorant, and archaic. Free yourself to explore many possibilities. Question your preconditioned beliefs, perspectives, and way of living.
Apparently this is a subject I could talk about all day, but I feel I’ve said enough to wrap your head around in one sitting. I’m sure I’ll revisit this topic in one way, or another in the future. Until then, any thoughts, comments, feedback would be great. If you like what you read and feel that someone else could benefit from it, please share.
I really do appreciate those who take the time to read these posts in there entirety, and hope that you’ve gotten something out of it. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. Constructive change, empowering new thought processes, and exposure to different perspectives. So thank you, and until next time, live life fearlessly.