With the current state of the world as it is, many people are suffering from anxiety, stress, worry, despair, and every negative emotion there is. When you look into each of these negative emotions, you discover that every one of them is based in fear. So how do you overcome fear?
Fear is the most debilitating emotion there is, but despite that, every one of us can live a life without fear.
Let go of fear
The key to absolute freedom and joy for every one of us is to simply let go of fear. And it’s easier than you might think. When you understand that fear attracts more fearful events and circumstances into your life, you will appreciate how important it is to shift yourself, and to let go of fear once and for all.
People who are in fear of getting sick, of losing their job, of paying the bills, and of keeping their family safe feel challenged and stressed. And it’s little wonder they feel that way if they’re focused on news headlines cycling between civil unrest, global pandemic, economic recession, and frequent natural disasters. But by the law of attraction, the fear of those things is actually summoning them to us. The law is impersonal, and whatever we focus on with feeling is bringing it to us. If you are afraid of something happening, by the law, you attract that very thing. The amount of emotion you invest in not wanting something to happen is truly powerful in making it happen. Those thoughts are filled with fear, and if you continue to persist, what you fear the most will inevitably come back to haunt you.
From Job 3-25:
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”
In order to help overcome fear, it can be helpful to understand what fear really is.
What exactly is fear?
As humans, we experience two kinds of fear: physiological and psychological.
Physiological fear is the life and death instinct that protects our very survival. It keeps us safe and out of harm’s way and has been vital for the survival of the species.
Psychological fear is something we create with our own minds when there is no danger to our survival. You may have experienced this kind of fear if you’ve had to take a final exam that you felt your future depended on, or if you took a test for your driver’s license. You may have felt psychological fear if you competed in a sporting event at your school, or if you had to stand up and make a speech in front of a lot of people. In all of these situations, there was no threat to your life; the fear you felt was psychological, a fear created by your own mind. Most of us will only face psychological fear in our lives, but some, such as an athlete performing an extreme sport, may experience both kinds of fear at the same time.
The voice of experience
“Fear is an ever-present emotion in us. It’s part of what made us evolve.”
Having conquered many of the world’s deadliest big wave surf breaks such as Teahupo’o in Tahiti and Pe’ahi on Maui, Laird knows what he’s talking about.
“People say, “You’re not scared.” Actually, no. I think I’m the most scared. I’m scared of those big waves. But your imagination is always greater than the reality. Subjecting yourself to the thing you fear is probably the most important way of becoming acclimated to it, becoming intimate with it, and all of a sudden it doesn’t have the power that it had.”
As you push past your comfort zone despite the fear, fear lessens its grip on you, and your courage expands. And that’s because courage comes from performing fearful acts! As you build courage, you find that things you once thought were scary might not seem scary at all. And even if they do, it doesn’t stop you from doing them.
Fear and the imagination
Master filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg have long known that an audience can imagine far greater terrors than anything the special effects team can conjure. For this reason alone, they keep their villains, their psycho-killers, and their man-eating monsters hidden in the shadows until the very last reel. Because nothing is as scary as the terrors that we imagine.
This is also true in our day-to-day lives. Instead of imagining the best, many of us are in fear and imagine all the worst things that can go wrong. And boy do we have good imaginations! As surely as we keep imagining the worst-case-scenario and feeling those things, they inevitably happen. But of course, it’s just as easy to use the power of your mind to feel and imagine the best and the highest you can in every area of your life!
A Secret fear
For Rhonda Byrne, as for many of us, public speaking had always been the one thing she feared the most. Even though she’d spent decades working as a television producer, appearing on camera was something that she had no desire to do. Then her first book, The Secret, was released and she had to face her greatest fear head-on. Rhonda says,
“When the producers of Oprah and Larry King Live called and invited me on their shows, the thought of appearing on television in front of tens of millions of viewers was pretty terrifying.”
Instead of dwelling on these fears, she used The Secret. She visualized her TV appearances, picturing every detail in her mind. She envisioned feeling at ease, and being able to answer questions clearly and succinctly. She imagined celebrating afterwards, and thought about the benefits that her appearance would bring to people around the world who would find out about The Secret. Rhonda says,
“I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to it, but on the record day I felt immensely calm. When I walked on to the set and looked at the audience, my heart melted because I knew what I was about to do was going to change people’s lives in the most amazing way. Once the cameras were rolling and the interviews began, everything unfolded exactly as I had imagined. I was able to speak clearly and eloquently, as if I was born to do this (and trust me, I wasn’t). The response was amazing: people’s lives changed in the millions, The Secret spread across the world like wildfire, and our work of bringing joy to millions has continued to this day. In the end, appearing on those TV shows felt effortless compared to what my fearful thoughts had imagined.”
Whenever you prepare your mind for something you’re about to undertake by visualizing the outcome, you will reduce the fear you feel. You might also discover that just like Rhonda, the moment you begin to do the fearful thing, the fear disappears immediately. When you practice visualization, your final reward will be the outcome turning out exactly the way you pictured it.
As well as visualization, there are some other powerful processes that you can use when you’re feeling overcome by fear. One of these is to deliberately think thoughts that make you feel better. They can be thoughts of gratitude, or thoughts of things you love. In just 60 seconds of deliberate good thoughts, you will have shifted your whole state of being.
To shift yourself quickly you can also count ten blessings, right here, right now. There are so many blessings in life and so many reasons to be grateful. As you give your attention to each of them, you will find your fears easing.
These “Secret Shifters” are temporary shifts, but they’re good tools to have when you need them. However, if you want to be free of fear permanently, then there is one more thing you need to know about fear.
Fear only has power over you if you’re resisting it
As the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said,
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself!”
The feeling of fear can take us over and make us irrational, but fear is only a problem if you’re resisting it. Fear is just energy. That’s all it is. And if you recall, the renowned Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung said,
“What you resist persists!”
That means by resisting fear, you’re actually adding energy to it.
Rhonda Byrne recently discovered that there is a fast and permanent way to eliminate fear, and that is by not resisting it. If you don’t try to control the fear, try to get rid of it, or try to change it, and if you just allow the fear to be fully present, it will dissolve. As Rhonda explains,
“It’s actually your resistance to fear that makes it feel hard to bear. So, if you feel fear arise in you, imagine the feeling of fear is actually a person you love, or a much-loved pet. Imagine putting your arms around it and pulling it in really close to you so you can hug it. For a second or two the fear may get stronger, but all of a sudden you will notice that it begins to dissolve, and it will dissolve into nothing and disappear. It’s the best feeling! You can do this each time you feel fear, anxiety, or stress (because they are all versions of fear). As you practice it, you’ll also find that the intensity of the fear begins to lessen, until it has totally gone.”
The end of all fear
But what about the pandemic, the economy, civil unrest, and the state of the planet?… I hear you ask.
Well, the answer is the same regardless of the challenge you are facing. If you want to be free of fear permanently, then the only way to do that is to allow the fear to be present without resisting it, until it dissolves.
It’s true, there are a number of challenges facing the world right now, but this time will pass and life will continue on. In not too long, these events will be something that happened in the past. So take it easy. Relax. You will get through this. You will laugh. You will have fun again. You will be happy, and your life will be full once again. And on top of all of that, you will be much wiser and more compassionate, because you got through a challenging world event that made the history books, and you came out on the other side of it.
In the past century, people the world over faced many dire and challenging situations. From two world wars to a great depression, the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation, the civil rights movement and equal rights for women. Each of these situations was inherently dangerous, but in each circumstance, millions of people faced their greatest fears and they emerged victorious. They have become known as the greatest generations to populate the Earth. Their strength and resilience is best exemplified by beloved American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who said,
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ”
Take courage from these words
Because of the experience you are facing right now, you too will be stronger. Because of this experience, you too will be able to handle much more in your life with ease. You will not be so easily frightened. You will appreciate the smallest and the simplest things in life. You will cherish your freedom. You will cherish your friends and family even more. You will appreciate your work, and joking around with your work colleagues. You will find that the things that used to bother you don’t seem to bother you as much anymore. And you will know that you overcame a huge challenge that was thrown at you, and you were triumphant. And perhaps you will finally see that you are far greater than you ever knew.