3 Other Fears that Hold Us Back (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 259)
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
— William Allen White
A lot of times we induce stress in our lives because we give too much credit to people and situations that hold no power whatsoever unless we allow them to. If you fear anything external, the fear is usually not because of the object of your fear, but is due to your perception of it and credence you give to it. With a little courage, at any time, you have the power to break the hold that fear has over you. You gain strength and confidence by every experience that forces you to face your fear. The real enemy to living life as it should be lived is fear.
Here are 3 fears that often hold us back and why we shouldn’t let them:
1. The Fear of Loneliness
Loneliness, not to be confused with being alone, is an emotional state in which a person feels internally isolated, hollow, or empty. It means that one is cut-off from a community of people, frequently unsocial, and anxious about the lack of communication or connection with other human beings. Even when surrounded by others, some people can still feel lonely or alienated. Loneliness can result in low self-esteem, panic attacks, chronic illnesses, and even depression.
You must understand that part of what makes us who we are is the privilege that it is to be in communication, connection, conversation, and community with one’s self and with other people. You can combat the fear of loneliness by realizing you are a complete person separate and apart from everyone else. And if you learn to love yourself — your thoughts, your emotions, your mind, your body, your heart, your being — you are never really lonely. Thankfully, there are people to put up with in this world. But even if there weren’t, you would still be with yourself. And if you are a good person, you will learn to love being around you.
2. The Fear of Being Alone
Everyone experiences times when they are alone. Aloneness can be both a blessing and a curse. Some people are alone because of different situations; others choose to be alone at certain times. The quietness provides them a creative outlet. Being alone can be emotionally and mentally refreshing if it is within the confines of the individual’s control. Solitude often implies that one has made a conscious choice to spend time away from social surroundings and focus on a single goal or on making a long-awaited decision.
Many people fear being alone because they don’t like to be with themselves. But being able to be with yourself and be happy and content about it is essential to being, and even a prerequisite, to being in a relationship with someone else. If you’re not able to live with yourself, it is unlikely you will be able to live with someone else. Being alone teaches us to be comfortable in our own thoughts, accepting of ourselves, forgiving of our mistakes, and improving not for someone else, but because we want to be the best we can be.
3. The Fear of Worst Case Scenario
It is inevitable that bad things happen in life. Not everything goes the way we plan for it to go. In fact, there are times when things go completely in the opposite direction. Of course, if we can help it, we would avoid potential disasters altogether. But sometimes, we fear that something bad is going to happen to the point we are worried so much about avoiding it that we actually make it happen. Catastrophic thinking triggers the very negative outcome we’re trying to prevent. If you try to avoid stepping on a land mine by walking so carefully and cautiously, more than likely you’re going to end up stepping on one.
While we can’t avoid bad situations, we can avoid always thinking that some kind of catastrophe is just around the corner. Start expecting things to go well. Instead of spending all your time planning for the worst to happen, plan for the best outcome. The single most effective way to overcoming catastrophic thinking is to start thinking that everything isn’t a catastrophe. It’s not going to be a big deal. You’re going to do fine on the test. You’re going to get into the right college for you. You will get through the interview and get the job. You will travel across the country without crashing or sinking. You will get along fine with your in-laws at Christmas. You will realize your dreams and reach your goals. You will be confronted with obstacles and challenges but you will get over them. Why? Because everything is not a catastrophe; it’s all okay.
“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”
— Karl Augustus Menninger