Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or stand up tall as you can, show it your teeth and say 'Bring it on, Baby, and don't be stingy with the jalapenos!'
We are currently living in a world full of terror. All we have to do is turn on the T.V. and there it is - constant mass killings and threats to our personal safety. There are worldwide religious wars, religious extremist terrorists, ISIS, Jihad, the Taliban, etc. Closer to home, we have drug addicts, car accidents, plane crashes, thieves, school shootings, kidnappings, rapes, murders, riots, identity theft and all forms of criminal behavior. Then we have "acts of God," such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, tsunamis, deadly viruses, etc. There are more than enough things for us to be afraid of. It's no wonder we are all terrified.
What can we do? We could choose to barricade ourselves in our safe room of our gated, locked, security guarded, super-reinforced brick walled homes. But eventually we would need to go out to get food, or take our children to school, or the doctor. It's unrealistic to think we could always be protected, even in our own homes. We could take tranquilizing drugs, or drown ourselves in alcohol. But then we would probably die of addiction complications or over-dose. If we allow fear to control us, we will eventually go insane. We have to find a way to cope with fear in a healthy way if we want to actually live.
Yet there's no way to get away from fear completely. It's always there, this fear. Not a day goes by that we don't feel it. Sometimes you just have to feel the fear and live your life anyway.
Rational vs. Irrational Fear
According to Wayne Dyer, in his first best-selling book Your Erroneous Zones, the two main "erroneous zones" are guilt and fear. Dr. Dyer discussed the pros and cons of fear, and that 98 percent of fear is irrational, or what he called, "useless emotion."
Fear is with us for a reason. It protects us from danger. However, many times our fears are overly intense and not based in reality. If you want to deal with an irrational fear, you may want to do research on the goals at which you fear you will fail. Through research, you can to some extent, determine the likelihood of success and assess whether your fears are founded. For instance, if you are afraid of applying to a particular graduate school, you can look at statistics on what percentage of applicants are accepted into the program, what percentage of those accepted complete the program, and what percentage of those that complete the program successfully find jobs.
Another way to assess your likelihood of success or failure is to ask ten people who know you well what they think of your fear. If all or most of them say they think it is an unrealistic fear (as in the acronym F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real), this should tell you something. On the other hand, if all or most of them feel strongly that your fears are valid, it is likely they are correct. Having supportive, caring, familiar people help us to analyze our risk is a more objective method than determining our risk all by ourselves.
Like the fear of failure, the fear of criticism and the fear of change lead to inaction, since that is the safer route. Fear of success occurs when a person has such self-doubt that success brings with it overwhelming anxiety -- a sense that the success is not deserved, that it cannot last, and that disaster is imminent. Often in such cases, people will purposefully destroy the success so as to end the anxiety that accompanies it. We call this self-sabotage. This is about the feeling that known failure is better than the prolonged anticipation of failure. We know too well the scenario of those who rose to the top so rapidly, and so unprepared, that they self-medicated their anxiety with drugs and/or alcohol (often to their own demise).
Psychological studies have shown that people may regret actions more than inactions at first, but over a longer period of time they come to regret inactions more than actions. One study found that when elderly people were asked about their greatest lifetime regrets, 63 percent of the regrets were about inaction. Just knowing this statistic can help you overcome fears and doubts about your own action and feel more ready to take risks and pursue your goals.
There is no "cure" for fear. This is because we do need some fear in order to survive. It's okay to have some fear, but too much will make us miserable. Either due to genetics, past trauma, societal messages or personality type, many of us have suffered from too much fear. We need to learn to cope with fear in order to stay sane and live a normal life. The opposite of fear is courage, and that is exactly what you need. COURAGE.
Just like a person who wants to lose weight - they do need some food to survive. There is no "instant cure" for fear, just as there is no "instant diet" to lose weight. It's a process. The most successful dieters have used a program. The most successful drug addicts and alcoholics have used a program. Therefore, the antidote for being overly fearful, is to work a program. A great program is to read something every day that will keep you strong. Many of us are "recovering fear addicts." Daily readings are your program, just like recovering addicts go to daily meetings. It's a decision you make every day, to not allow fear to control your life. You have to make a decision. You have to commit to it. You are worth it…worth having the things you want, the experiences you want…the life you want.
What Does It Mean to Be Brave?
There is a poster on a wall that saysOne Day She Woke Up and Decided to Be Brave. Yes, it's a decision! Every day when you wake up in the morning think to yourself, "Today I will be brave." It is helpful to compare yourself to a lion. Just as the lion in The Wizard of Oz wanted to get courage, we have to find ours. The lion in this movie found his courage when he instinctively knew he needed to protect Dorothy. Lions are the strongest, fiercest animals on earth. This is why lions are known as "The King of the Jungle." They are at their best when protecting their young. This is how we need to look at courage. When we are forced to protect someone or something we love, we sometimes do need to look fear in the face and tackle it head on. We need to protect those around us as well as ourselves, and we need to become ferocious!
If you study self-defense, you will find that you can prevent most negative situations by showing up with a confident stance, talking with a confident voice, and walking with a confident posture. This is why it is absolutely mandatory that you wake up every day making the decision to be brave . When you show up as someone who is strong, self-protective, and ready to tackle anything that gets in his/her way, negativity tends to find a weaker target.
Every day, wake up and decide to be BRAVE !
At this point in my life I'm very self-assured about what I want and where I'm going. I have this quote in my diary that I stick to: 'I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death.'