“7 Things Fear Has Stolen From You”
by Marc Chernoff
“There is no greater hell than to be a prisoner of fear.”
- Ben Johnson
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; courage means you don’t let fear stop you. Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Don’t ever hesitate to give yourself a chance to be everything you are capable of being. Although fear can feel overwhelming, and defeats more people than any other force in the world, it’s not as powerful as it seems. Fear is only as deep as your mind allows. You are still in control. The key is to acknowledge your fear and directly address it. You must step right up and confront it face to face. This tactic robs fear of its power, instead of fear robbing YOU of…
1. Your true path and purpose. Fear of being different: Don’t be fooled by what others say, especially when they try to tell you what is right for you. Listen and then draw your own conclusions. What is your intuition telling you? There is not a clear path that everyone should follow. Your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding in life at all the wrong things. Choose a path that fits YOU. Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. Challenge yourself to ask with each and every step, and each focus point that consumes your energy: “Does this thing I’m doing right now truly serve me and those I care about in the next few minutes, few months, and few years?” Whatever you settle on, just make sure you don’t gain the whole world by losing your soul and purpose in the process.
2. Self-respect. Fear of not being good enough: Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you. Do your best and surrender the rest. Tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment. That is all I can ever expect of anyone, including me.” Love yourself and be proud of everything you do, even your mistakes, because your mistakes mean you’re trying. If you feel like others are not treating you with love and respect, check your price tag. Perhaps you subconsciously marked yourself down. Because it’s YOU who tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you are willing to accept for your time and attention. So get off the clearance rack. If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else will either.
3. Your ability to make concrete decisions. Fear of commitment: You cannot live your life at the mercy of chance. You cannot stumble along with a map marked only with the places you fear, or the places you know you don’t want to revisit. You cannot remain trapped, endlessly, in a state where you are unable to ask for directions, even though you’re terribly lost, because you don’t know your destination. You have to commit to goals that speak to you. You have to stand up, look at yourself in the mirror, and say, “It isn’t good enough for me to know only what I DON’T want in life. I need to decide what I DO want.”
4. Priceless opportunities and life experiences. Fear of change and discomfort: As Thich Nhat Hanh so perfectly said, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” In many cases you stay stuck in your old routines for no other reason than that they are familiar to you. In other words, you’re afraid of change and the unknown. You continually put your dreams and goals off until tomorrow, and you pass on great opportunities simply because they have the potential to lead you out of your comfort zone.
You start using excuses to justify your lack of backbone: “Someday when I have more money,” or “when I’m older,” or the over-abused “I’ll get to it as soon as I have more time.” This is a vicious cycle that leads to a deeply unsatisfying life – a way of thinking that eventually sends you to your grave with immense regret. Regret that you didn’t follow your heart. Regret that you always put everyone else’s needs before your own. Regret that you didn’t do what you could have done when you had the chance.
5. General happiness and peace of mind. Fear of facing inner truths: If you keep looking for happiness outside yourself, you will never find it. Happiness is found from within. What you seek is not somewhere else at some other time; what you seek is here and now, within you. The more you look for it outside yourself, the more it hides from you. Relax, remember the source of your deepest desires, and allow yourself to know their fulfillment. A choice, not circumstances, determines happiness. Each morning when you open your eyes, say to yourself: “I, not external people or events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. It’s up to me. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t come yet. I only have today and I’m going to be happy in it.”
6. Your willingness to love, truly and purely. Fear of not being loved in return: Although it is nice when gestures of love are returned, true love is one-way traffic. It’s a pure flow of giving and expecting nothing in return. Anything else is a contract. Notice how whenever you allow love to flow you are always clear, calm and strong. It is only when the thought arises, “What have they given me in return?” that there is confusion and resentment. Ego transacts, love transforms. Life is too short for all these meticulous contracts and transactions.
Look out for yourself by focusing your love in a direction that feels right to you, but once you decide to love, remain clear, remain bright, and remain strong. Love without expectation. Don’t let fear get in your way. When the love you give is true, the people worthy of your love will gradually reveal themselves over time.
7. The right company. Fear of being alone: Sadly, no matter how much love you give, some relationships simply aren’t meant to be. You can try your hardest, you can do everything and say everything, but sometimes people just aren’t worth stressing over anymore, and they aren’t worth worrying about. It’s important to know when to distance yourself from someone who only hurts you and brings you down. When you give your love to someone, truly and purely without expectation, and it’s never good enough for them, there’s a good chance you’re giving your love to the wrong person.
The bottom line is that long-term relationships should help you, not hurt you. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and like-minded. And remember, good relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust. Both parties must be 100% on board. If and when the time comes to let a relationship go, don’t be hostile. Simply thank the relationships that don’t work out for you, because they just made room for the ones that will.
Next steps: Your biggest fears are completely dependent on you for their survival. Every new day is another chance to change your life, and it’s way too short to let fear interfere. Today, focus your conscious mind on things you desire, not things you fear. Doing so can bring your dreams to life.
Your turn… What has fear stolen from you? What has it stopped you from doing, being, or achieving? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.”