Everyone has one fear or another, however best we may try to camouflage them. Will I be succesful ? Will I have enough money ? What will happen to my kids ? – the list can be endless. Fear is everywhere and it can latch on to anything – commitment phobia, fear of rejection, fear of God, fear of public-speaking, hypochondria, insectophobia so on and so forth. Not surprisingly, sometimes even as our mind engages in the most mundane of activities, it can out of the blue pop up absurd terrors that are unlikely or even impossible. But that doesn’t make them any less frightening either. It is by far our most primeval of instincts. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the best thing on the market that sells. Politicians, priests, doctors, friends, family, our significant other or even we ourselves, use it successfully as a means to some goal or the other. So, is fear good or bad ?

Growing up as a teenager in a fatherless home, I had my share of fears and insecurities too. But, I learned over the years that fear is good, if it keeps us focused on to the future to survive and thrive, but bad if it stifles our thinking and actions. The good fear motivates us towards, “I need to do it”, “I should improve” etc. It is the kind that makes us double check the locks on the door before we go on a vacation. In contrast, the bad fear is the kind that makes us procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. “I am not good enough”, “I don´t fit in”, “I can´t do it”, so on and so forth. The latter kind drains time and energy, only to leave us disappointed and broken. Then, can we choose what to fear ?

Not really. But, we definitely can choose among our fears the ones we need to overcome. For starters, avoid people who make us fear ourselves. Surrounding oneself with people who make us feel bad about ourselves or who make us doubt ourselves, is a choice and it definitely is no trick of fate. So make better choices with people. More important however, is to learn to face our fears. Ask oneself – what is the worst-case scenario and can I live with it ? The funny thing is, often fear disappears just by looking at it. Fear although a scary thing, is simply a mental construct – it makes the wolf bigger than it is.

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