by C. James Jensen
A discussion of fear and how to overcome it is worthwhile. I can think of few things that are more debilitating to one’s progress and growth than fear. Deep fears have the capacity to totally immobilize us. So, what do we need to learn about fear that we can better overcome it?
The first thing is the realization and understanding that fear is not a real condition but rather a combination of the thoughts and feelings we have about a condition. And since we do have the ability to control our thoughts, we have a built-in tool kit to deal with feelings of fear. But, like any other tool kit it will not be of value to us unless we know how to use it. Before we get to the “how to” part of this discussion, let’s expand our thinking of what fear is all about. We want to examine this with a realistic, not idealistic, perspective. So, for a moment let’s accept that fear is part of the human condition although from time to time we may encounter individuals who appear to be fear-less.
In looking at the word itself, consider F E A R as an acronym for,
False Expectations Appearing Real
Let’s further break down the notion of fear into life threatening situations, which for the sake of this discussion we will call “real fear” and imaginary situations (all in the mind) which we will call “illusionary fear”.
Most people have very few encounters with truly life-threatening situations (excepting perhaps terminal illnesses which we will all have the opportunity to deal with at some point in time). I am talking about hiking along a trail and suddenly finding yourself between Mama bear and Baby bear. Pay attention! When confronted with a real fear situation, people tend to perform at a peak level, almost superhuman. We have heard stories of how a 120 pound mother finds her small child trapped under the tire of a car and without a moments thought, lifts the car off the ground while someone else pulls the child to safety. The mother could have lifted weights her entire life and never have been able to lift a car without the extra adrenalin provided in this life-threatening situation.
But this is not the kind of fear that most of us experience daily, which can keep us awake at night, often resulting in some form of dis-easeness. Illusionary fear is the anticipation of something bad we think is going to happen to us, which more than often does not occur. The reason the “bad thing” doesn’t happen is the person experiencing the fear discovers new data or the TRUTH of the situation, which causes their illusionary fear to dissipate. The false premise which was the basis for the thoughts and feelings of the fear become replaced with factual data, which may be completely opposite the original thoughts that first manifested in fear.
For example, a wife picks up the telephone to make a call and hears the husband on a different extension talking to another woman saying, “I’ll meet you at noon at your place but it’s important to me that we keep this just between ourselves.” I presume that would cause many women to believe the husband was having an affair. In this example, let’s say the wife decides not to confront her husband at that moment. But, we can only imagine the thoughts going through her mind and the conversations she may be having with her best friend. The wife lives in misery for the next two weeks until her husband calls and invites her to lunch. When she arrives at the restaurant, she sees her husband sitting in a booth with another woman. Her worst fears are about to materialize (she thinks).
Her husband greets her with a big smile, gives her a hug and a kiss, introduces her to the “other woman” who turns out to be the realtor her husband has been working with. The champagne is poured, and the husband joyfully tells his wife how he has just bought the dream house his wife has wanted forever. The realtor then shares with the wife how much her husband wanted this to be a surprise because of his deep love for his wife and family.
As farfetched as this little drama may seem, it is precisely this kind of illusionary thinking that is the basis of most of our fears. They are simply founded on false premises.
So, how is all of this going to help you deal with your own fears. Let’s keep going.
I used to think the opposite of love was hate. I then read, Love is Letting Go of Fear*, by Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. Jampolsky helped me to see things in a different light. I began to realize that hate, anger, and other such feelings all have their origin in fear. Often what is really making us angry is the fear of losing something else. The “something else” could be losing our job, losing our partner, losing the love of our children, losing our health, etc., etc.
A profound presentation of the relationship between love and fear is written in Neale Donald Walsch’s book, Conversations with God, Book 1**. I believe Walsch (God) is right on the mark. Let me share some excerpts from his book on the subject of love and fear.
God is talking to Walsch and says,
“All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by one of two emotions—fear or love. In truth there are only two emotions—only two words in the language of the soul. These are the opposite ends of the great polarity which I created when I produced the universe, and your world, as you know it today.
*Jampolsky, Gerald G. Love is Letting Go of Fear. Celestial Arts: Third Edition. 2010
**Walsch, Neale Donald. Conversations with God: Book 1, An Uncommon Dialogue. G.P. Putnam & Sons. 1996
These are the two points—the Alpha and the Omega—which allow the system you call “relativity” to be. Without these two ideas about things, no other idea could exist.
Every human thought and every human action is based in either love or fear. There is no other human motivation, and all other ideas are but derivatives of these two.”
“Every action taken by human beings is based in love or fear, not simply those dealing with relationships. Decisions affecting business, industry, politics, religion, the education of your young, the social agenda of your nations, the economic goals of your society, choices involving war, peace, attack, defense, aggression, submission; determinations to covet or give away, to save or to share, to unite or to divide—every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are: a thought of love or a thought of fear.
Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms.
Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals.
Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes. Fear attacks, love amends.
Every human thought, word, or deed is based in one emotion or the other. You have no choice about this, because there is nothing else from which to choose. But you have free choice about which of these to select.”
Thank you, God.
When I first read these words, I had the following picture in my mind:
Like most people, I am a visual thinker. Words create pictures in my mind. With this illustration, I saw clearly that love and fear are at the opposite end of the poles. And at any given time, we are either experiencing love, experiencing fear, or we are moving from one pole to the other. With this realization, when I now experience feelings of fear, I know where I am in relationship to this illustration. I also know where I want to be and if where I am is not where I want to be, I can make a conscious choice to take corrective action (in my thinking) and replenish my thoughts with thoughts of love and gratitude that start moving me back toward the foundation of love.
At the beginning of this chapter I said we were going to look at fear realistically, not idealistically.
Remember the Basic Operating Principle states, “Any thought, positive or negative, held on a continuing basis in the conscious mind, must be brought into reality by the Supraconscious mind.”
As we better understand that we create our own realities and that how we create those realities is by our thinking, the need and value of controlling our thoughts is imperative. If we cling to a fear and we keep repeating it over and over in our minds (i.e., “My business is failing”, “My partner doesn’t love me anymore,” etc.) “it must be brought into reality by the Supraconscious mind.”
So, when we become aware of our fear(s) and how we are talking to ourselves about that fear (self talk), we have the ability to restructure, in our minds, what we are saying about the situation we believe to be causing the fear. We need to visualize a positive rather than negative picture of what we want and create a new stream of self talk that supports the end result we desire. For example, “I have all the ability in the world to build a successful business. Every day my business gets better and better,” or, “I have unconditional love for my partner and every day our love for each other grows stronger and stronger.”
This does not mean that businesses don’t fail, and people don’t get divorced. As the bumper sticker reads, “Stuff Happens!”
But people whose lives seem to continuously keep working in successful ways have either consciously or subconsciously learned the value of self talk and the reality that thought is creative.
Love is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald Jampolsky, M. D.
Conversations with God, Book 1, an Uncommon Dialogue, Neale Donald Walsh
For more information on James Jensen please go to https://cjamesjensen.com