False Experiences Appearing Real
Evil is everywhere. It takes many different forms, yet what’s consistent between all the forms that evil takes is the emotion that it provokes: FEAR.
As children, we were all very scared of many things, mostly imaginary. Monsters under the bed, demons in the closet, the dark (which, if I’m being completely honest, I am still scared of), and loud noises. What’s interesting is that our bodies experience these fears as intense, visceral, immediate responses that make us sweat or want to cry.
As we grow and mature, our fears don’t go away. They mature with us. The difference is that now our fears have evolved into things like deadlines, work, and failure.
It is also interesting to note that these fears, even though they aren’t scary in the same sense as our childhood fears, still cause the same intense, visceral response in our bodies.
Before we were scared of False Experiences— things that wouldn’t happen. Now our real experiences are what’s scaring us, but we can’t hide from them under the pillow anymore.
The key question to ponder here is, “Is it the actual experience or our perception of the experience that scares us?”
Forget Everything And Run
We are all programmed with fight or flight mechanisms whenever we’re faced with something that puts us under stress, danger, or fear. Most of the time when something scares us, the easiest thing to do is to run away from it.
You see something scary looking down the street? You run away from it.
You hear something nearby that might be scary? You run away from it.
You feel something that might be uncomfortable? You run away from it.
You got work to do and you’re scared of failing? You run away from it.
One of our most natural reactions is to just forget everything and run. It’s literally programmed in our autonomic nervous system, activating without us thinking about it. Yet when it comes to real-world fears, forgetting about it and running away too often can be one of the worst things you can do.
Naturally, your other option other than “flight” is to fight. There are ways we can fight without being violent.
I am a firm believer that you have three choices when you are presented with a difficult situation—ACUTE, ACUTE with Interest, or CHRONIC. Either you deal with it now and face the music or you deal with it later with compounded interest or endure the pain for the rest of your life.
Face Everything And Rise
How many things do you fear actually come true?
A study conducted by Dr. Robert Leahy found that 85% of what people worry about or fear doesn’t ever happen. Moreover, out of the 15% of people that did have their fears come to fruition, 79% of them mentioned that they were able to handle the difficulty better than expected, or they learned something very valuable from their experience.
In a nutshell, if you really think about it, 97% of what you fear is just your brain dwelling on superfluous negative scenarios, causing you to waste your time being scared over nothing.
Be emboldened. All it takes to face your adult fears is some resolve and a little discipline.
As one of my favorite writers, Mark Twain said,
I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
Originally published at MindfulChoices.org