- The way I see it:
Actually, it doesn’t really matter that there is no real danger. Most of the things that we fear the most won’t put our life into question. Fear drives our lives, without us being aware of it; quoting Ezra Bayda: “fear motivates how we act and react”.
We can’t deny the feeling of it, we can’t even stop experiencing it, but we can be able to accept that, fear, or at least the the intensity of our fears, it’s mostly a construction in our heads.
And which are the three biggest ones? The fear of losing safety and control, the fear of aloneness and disconnection, and the fear of unworthiness. Ezra Bayda states, in this article that, by truly knowing our fears, we can start breaking their spell. More below, as usual, summarised for you.
The fear of losing safety and control:
Because safety is fundamental to our survival, this fear will instinctually be triggered at the first sign of danger or insecurity; the old brain, or limbic system, is inherently wired that way. This particular fear will also be triggered when we experience pain or discomfort. But in most cases, there is no real danger to us; in fact, our fears are largely imaginary.
Rage may give us a feeling of power and control, but how often is it an evasion of the sense of powerlessness that feels so much worse?
We all dread the helplessness of losing control, and yet real freedom lies in recognizing the futility of demanding that life be within our control. Instead, we must learn the willingness to feel—to say yes to—the experience of helplessness itself. This is one of the hidden gifts of serious illness or loss. It pushes us right to our edge, where we may have the good fortune to realize that our only real option is to surrender to our experience and let it just be.
Insecurity can also manifest as the fear of helplessness, often surfacing as the fear of losing control, the fear of being controlled, the fear of chaos, or even the fear of the unfamiliar.
The fear of aloneness and disconnection:
It’s interesting that one of life’s most vital lessons is something we are never taught in school: how to be at home with ourselves.
However, the only way to transcend loneliness is to stop avoiding it, to be willing to face it—by truly residing in it.
And the fear of unworthiness:
The fear that I don’t count, the fear of general inadequacy, of being unworthy of love, of being nothing or stupid, and so on. The basic fear that we’ll never measure up dictates much of our behavior; for example, for some, it impels us to continuously and forcefully prove ourselves, while for others, it might prompt us to cease trying.
Because that would confirm our own negative beliefs of unworthiness. Even though there is no real danger, isn’t it true that the fear of failing often feels fatal? Yet ironically, our very attempt to fight the fear is most often what increases it and may even result in panic.
Eventually, we all need to be willing to face the deepest, darkest beliefs we have about ourselves. Only in this way can we come to know that they are only beliefs, and not the truth about who we are.
As Nietzsche put it, “One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.”
The willingness to be with the fear completely is what changes the experience of fear altogether. It’s not that fear will no longer arise; it’s that we no longer fear it.
- Tricycle Magazine, by Ezra Bayda,