Gavin DeBecker, the author of the title – “the Gift of Fear”, says that:
“Fear is meant to be brief and is meant to be a servant of intuition”.
However, if you want to overcome your fears, first you need to understand them.
Then you need to take some positive action to overcome them.
What is Fear
The powerful "Emotion Fear" is the most powerful of negative emotions and it also limits health and achievement.
It gets triggered by a mechanism called the amygdala in our brain.
When we perceive something as being threatening it is activated and fires off chemicals into our bodies which create the emotion of ‘fear’.
The 2 Functions of ‘fear’
One function is to help us to decide whether something is dangerous or not.
Based on this assessment, we then decide on our course of action.
The other function is activated on a direct path called the Neural Back Alley.
This path bypasses logic and goes straight to the amygdala and sets of the “fire alarm” and initiates the ‘fight or flight’ response in humans.
Do I stay and fight, or do I run away?
This function was very useful 5000-20000 years ago when we had to fight lions in the jungle, but in the modern world it could be blocking your path to finding a job or achieving success in life.
Living in the modern world where we don’t face being eaten by lions, we still have the “wiring” and a certain part of us is always scouting to see anything that may be threatening to us.
Fear has evolved to become our ultimate protector. But in the modern world it can be our ultimate prison.
Mastering this fear will allow you to master your life.
How Fear Manifests itself
The Higher & Lower Self Psychologists recognize two states of being regarding fear: our Higher and Lower Selves.
But, how do we know when we are in our Higher Self and when we are in our Lower Self?
Higher Self – we experience positive emotions in our logical thinking mind and see things as they really are.
Lower Self – we are in fear, have a pessimistic outlook and this is our basic our ‘reptile’ brain.
Usually, you can sense when you cross the line between the two and this cross over point is important because when you are in your Lower Self you shouldn’t make any important decisions, communicate any important information or take any important actions. In other words don’t make any job getting decisions in your Lower Self.
When you are in your Higher Self, that’s when you need to make important decisions, communications and take action.
Recognise when you are your Lower Self and don’t act on fear.
Make your top priority to get back into your Higher Self.
So, if you find yourself in your Lower Self, how do you get back into your higher self?
- Make a call to a friend who makes you laugh.
- Watch a movie that makes you feel good.
- Listen to your favourite music.
Read a book that inspires you – anything that will create a positive attitude and kick you out of your negative mindset.
As we have explained though, we don’t have fear now like we used to have 1000's of years ago.
We don’t experience ‘real’ fear anymore.
Desmond Morris – author of the Human Zoo, says that: “Captive animals become lethargic and don’t act like themselves” in other words, fear is an important emotion for healthy animals.
And it is the same for humans and for this reason we create substitutions for real fear, such a scary movies, television, drugs, etc.
However, because none of that is real, as the fear level comes down, there is an increase in anxiety for many people.
If we feel anxiety and fear and let it dominate our lives we will programme ourselves that this is how the world works – and this is what we mean by Learned Helplessness.
We allow fear rule our lives and have constant anxiety in the background.
The 3 Biggest Sources Of Fear
The general news
Is one of the most destructive forces we have created.
On average, in the media (newspapers, TV etc.) there are 13 negative stories for each 1 positive story.
How do you think this compares to real life?
Well, in real life there is 1 negative story for every 100 positive stories.
The news, therefore, has the effect of putting us in a constant state of fear.
Another damaging aspect of modern life is negative gossip. According to statistics, 66% of all conversations consist of gossip.
Gossip plays an important role in cultivating social contacts and setting moral standards, but negative gossip creates a feedback loop which in turn creates emotions like fear and anxiety.
Worry is generated through a combination of negative emotions and mental scenario planning about the future. This combination has the effect of creating fear and in turn pulling you down into your Lower Self.
These three sources of fear must be removed from your life.
3 Fear De-Programming Steps
No more general news
Because the media relies on advertising and therefore large viewing figures/readerships, news is written to catch your attention which is why it’s so negative. If you don’t want to fall victim to this sea of negativity, the answer is simple....avoid the situations when you are coming into contact with News – change channels on the TV, skip the News pages of a newspaper, avoid online News sites.
No more negative gossip
If you have people in your life that speak negatively about other people and you do it too, then the problem is you, so: - Spend less time with these people as the gossip has framed your relationships with them - Cultivate relationships with people who talk positively of other people and be wary of those who don’t
Eliminate worry about money
Worrying about money is something that most people do, but it is one of the biggest time wasters and will also prevent you from making good decisions because whilst you are worrying about money your self-esteem takes a dive and the resulting decisions will be short term and necessarily flawed.