Fear and Loathing: Fear Is A Gift-Listen To It

This is Part 2 of Fear and Loathing in La Mente. Our series on how fear can paralyze us, and how we get trapped in the mind-game of loathing ourselves for it. Checkout Part 1.

Fear and courage are brothers. –Old Proverb

Fear gets a bad rap. We even named our site about being fearless. We don’t mean to tell people that all fear should be absolutely eradicated in their lives. Without fears, who would be courageous? There is no courage without fear.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.  Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave.  ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, 1894

It’s common to loath ourselves for being fearful. We might feel like less of a man. Like a wimp. A weakling. I once heard someone state that the world is made up of insecure people. I agree that we’re full of fear and loathing. But to allow those fears to prompt negativity toward ourselves is the worst result of fear. That leads to nothing but inaction towards what we know is right.

Therefore we must learn to discern fear. To discern it we must listen to it. Hear it, feel it, face it. To run is to merely panic. But to process fear allows us to find answers.

For this particular article I’m not going to refer to fear in light of personal and physical endangerment.

Fear is given to us for a reason. Let’s discern.

 Fear and Loathing: The Fear of Failure

As when listening to all fears, find out what is at the root cause of this one.

Are you afraid of failing and being embarrassed? That’s a legitimate feeling. Ultimately your fear of what others will think doesn’t have bearing on whether or not you are skilled and able to fulfill the task at hand. When feeling this way dig out if you’re just afraid of being shamed, or are you really insecure about your ability.

If you are feeling uncertain about your ability, are you imagining others questioning this about you? Do you hear the conversations of other’s criticism about you? Or are you being hyper-critical in your own voice and loathing your own ability?

If so, I can relate. I’ve felt those fears before, but they aren’t really valid. These thoughts aren’t real evaluations from other people. They’re completely fabricated and you are not responsible to hold yourself to them.

If the above is what you hear when listening to the Fear of Failure-forge ahead. Keep moving forward.

                Leaders, you’re afraid if you keep going you will fail. Keep going.

                Followers, you’re afraid you aren’t recognized. Give recognition.

                Husbands, you’re afraid your giving more than you are getting. Keep giving.[i]

What if you are being completely rational? And you’ve realized that you are in fact undertrained and do not have the necessary direction to complete the task? It’s good to recognize that you are in over your head.

Recognizing that your fear has brought this to light is a good thing. You need this knowledge. To ignore it is ignorance. Listen to this reality. And address it. Go get more specific direction. Go grow your skills. Read resources immediately to find out how to develop yourself in the areas you’ve realized are lacking.

Fear and Loathing: The Fear of Rejection

Let me ask this first: are you a high or low risk person? If you’re a high risk person and you have begun to fear failure, it might be because you aren’t counting the cost first. Repeated rejection will make this fear louder. Is it possible that this voice isn’t warning you of rejection so much as it’s warning you of loss?

If you’re risk-averse, is the fear of rejection so loud that your unable to take the risks necessary to move toward your goals and dreams?

What is this fear saying in your mind? Do you imagine people saying harsh things about you and no longer wanting to know you? If the choice your contemplating is a dumb move, then those thoughts might have some slight legitimacy. But if what you are considering doing is constructive, are people really going to spend their days sitting around criticizing and laughing at you? I assume people will commend you for your success, or the fact that you tried doing well.

Who are your circle of friends? Your circle of co-workers? Do they support you? If you are consistently worried about what your inner circle will think, you may have not picked the right group of supporters. Though this will take some real introspection. Do you feel this way because of past hurts that you’re projecting onto them? Or are they actually negative toward you and it’s deflating you? If it’s the latter, it might be time to get new friends.

Again, as when listening to all fears, dig down and get to the root of what is lending the Fear of Rejection a voice.

Fear Only Holds Power In One Place

Now we must realize that fear’s grip doesn’t exist anywhere but in the mind. It has no power outside of our heads. We shouldn’t fear fear. When it shouts, listen. Is it wisdom’s warning? Or is it hurts and insecurities screaming loud enough to make us panic?

Listen to what alarms you of danger, of poor choices. But when a fear speaks out of roots deep in our hearts, discern that it’s not wisdom’s call but a deceit to stop you from moving forward.

 See Fear and Loathing in La Mente Part 1

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[i] Rockwell, Dan. Listening to fear. http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/listening-to-fear/. March 4, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2012.

About Todd Mayfield

He's a lover, not a fighter. But he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas.

He works for a series of private schools to advance innovative education to combat ballooning classroom sizes and challenge the status quo of the current public and private education format.

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