A myth of fear

A myth of fear

We normally try to function despite our fears and anxieties, to “overcome” them. Basically, ignoring the fact that fears arise, keeping ourselves busy to distract our minds from thinking about them, suppressing them with alcohol, medication, etc. However, unresolved fears drain our energy, cloud reasoning, paralyze our actions and influence others, contribute to stress, sleeping disorders, and, eventually, health issues.

Having primeval instincts do their momentary “fight or flight” thing is natural and is out of our control. However, letting our minds and emotions fight the imaginary foe for hours or weeks seems like a poor investment. The good thing is we are conveniently alerted of this underlying mental activity — we feel the discomfort, even physical pain. So we can stop this destructive activity by addressing the obsolete views and habits that cause it.

Tackling fear

Let’s take a closer look at this artificially created stream of mental activity. It is normally aimed at unwanted events in the future, at the future in general, all real and imaginary causes of such events, the time, other people, ourselves and the “unsatisfactory” world. Events may be real or imaginary. Neither, however, dictates our fearful responses. Our minds are perfectly capable of doing this on their own.

Each specific fear is usually rooted in our dependencies, attachments, accumulated reactions, memories of traumas, obsolete views, etc. Sometimes, it is supported by larger fears and issues, seemingly latent, not obvious at the moment. E.g. a fear of losing a job may have a dependence on well-being, clinging to money or ability to “provide” as a basis. Fear of loneliness — dependence on relationships, attachment to a beloved person.

Multiple issues and coinciding destructive emotions may get triggered in each specific situation. Hence, it may take a while to deconstruct and recognize the key constituent fears and emotions. We need to process their causes, past repetitions, supporting stories, perception of memories until these reactions cease to arise. Eventually, after some practice and real-life tests our minds obtains “courage”, they can face this and similar scenarios without producing fear.

 

Fears can be extinguished. Educated choice offers us the motivation and means to do it.


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