To quote Will Smith: Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice. The first time I read that quote, I scoffed. Fear is real. Fear was running my life. I was afraid of financial security, the relationships I had, my family, and myself most of all. Being afraid is an experience all of humanity has. Finding the root of your fear will allow you to push past that boundary and conquer your life.
If you live in a paycheck to paycheck household, you may fear being able to take care of all of your financial responsibilities. If you live in an abusive household, you may fear physical danger. If you are homeless, you may fear being arrested. Each one of us is conditioned by our experiences to have fear. Biologically, our bodies will react in a certain way when we experience this emotion. Heart racing, body trembling, feel nauseous, or even faint are some of the reactions when registering fear. In studying your behavior, you can figure out exactly why you are afraid. Is it a rational or irrational reaction to your situation? Do you believe that you can change it?
There are some fears that are evolutionary and help keep us alive. This is what we recognize as danger. Some fears we create in our minds. This is a personal trigger for you based off your life. We recognize a situation as being possibly bad for us, and our body reacts. This mechanism of the body is known as the “Fight or Flight response.” I’m sure that you have heard that before, and felt it at least once in your life. This usually comes after a traumatic event: a car wreck, loss of a loved one, or for some simple stress of life. If you live a more traumatic life, or endure more hardship than a fellow human, you will never be able to reach your true self-potential. Abraham Harold Maslow, an American psychologist, created a theory of development referred to as the hierarchy of needs. The theory is that a person cannot reach self-actualization until all of the lower needs are met. (See image below).
Now, this is where fear will come into play to control your life. If you fear financial insecurity, you will keep a job that you may hate to survive, because you have to have money. If you fear for your safety, you will never be able to let your guard down and trust that you won't be hurt. If you fear that your partner will leave you, you may not speak your truth or hide your feelings, and make yourself feel bad so no one else will. Fear drives us to say and do a lot of desperate things. If you can kill the fear, you can have everything that you need.
Realizing the power we give to this emotion will allow you to reset your mind. Here's an example: Your (insert important person in your life) really hurt your feelings, and you are afraid of telling/showing emotion and making it worse, so you just run away. That is emotional suppression and you just programmed your body to run when you feel that way. You were angry/sad/disappointed and you had to just be quiet, because you were afraid. Do this over and over again throughout your life, and you are telling your mind and body that we hide when we feel this.
Changing your habits is one of the hardest things to accomplish in life. It takes courage, support, and dedication from start to finish. The next time you feel fear, look at your surroundings. If there is no physical danger, then why are you feeling this way? Something in your environment has triggered it. Are you near someone who hurt you in the past? Do you recognize that this is a situation that could devolve? The next question is, what can you do about this fear? If this is normally a time when you would fly, try staying and fighting this time. And I don't mean lashing out at whoever is around. Use your mind and body to calm yourself. Take a deep breath for ten seconds, hold it for three, and then release it over ten seconds. You are signaling to your brain that you are in fact safe and need to deal with it. Doing this takes a lot of strength and courage, and I commend anyone who tries to overcome their fear. If you can conquer your fear and control your own mind, there will be nothing that you cannot accomplish.