Don't be Afraid

Posted by Lakshmi Gopal on Sat, Mar 12, 2011  
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What if I don’t get married?


What if I get a particular disease?


What if I die poor?


What if I don’t adjust well to my place of work?


What if my partner mistreats me?


What if I get divorced?


What if…?


All these ‘what-ifs’ are our fears embedded deep within our psyche that keep us from doing our immediate job well and living our life in the way that it is meant to be. The logic is really very simple. In order to do anything well, even basic things like sleeping, eating, exercising, or getting dressed for a party, we need to willingly focus one hundred per cent on the work that we are doing. We need to concentrate on the job at hand. However, we can will ourselves to focus only when we are genuinely happy or content doing what we do, and want to repeat that ‘pleasant’ activity (stemming from pleasant memories associated with that activity) frequently.


Happiness, contentment and focus lead us to the next stage, that of aiming for a fruition of the job we have undertaken. In other words, we now set goals for ourselves in the line of that particular activity, with which we associate pleasant memories.


A friend of mine once fell from an escalator at the airport when she was a teenager. She received only a few minor bruises, but the psychological impact of the fall was so great that she refused to take escalators anywhere, in 5-star hotels or in shopping malls for years after the incident. The experience and memory associated with the fall had deeply traumatized her.


However, when she met her future husband and trustingly held his hand as they both stepped onto an escalator at a mall, she was surprised to find that she was actually enjoying the ride and knew no fear.


The key to overcome fear is to TRUST. Trust in a friend, a parent, in a quotation, or in yourself can take you a long way. Find the confidence to do what you think you are afraid of doing. Talk to yourself in the mirror, speak to yourself aloud when you think you are scared. Find websites that discuss the topic you have been pondering about. Don’t be afraid, don’t be timid, don’t give up!


The moot point of conquering fear is, firstly, to cross the bridge when you come to it. Thinking incessantly about a 'problem', anguishing about it, and wallowing in it DOES NOT HELP.


Approach the ‘problem’ or the trauma-causing event with a different strategy.


Don’t keep thinking, ‘I am too sensitive, I cannot handle this.’ Cleverly turn the tables on a problem and get the best or the next best result out of it - that you can hope to achieve.


Remember, this is not a perfect world. Learn to happily tolerate, if not to love imperfection in your surroundings.


One sureshot way to forget your fears and surge ahead with a positive mindset is to think of yourself as a helper and a troubleshooter. When you come to think of it, the company that hired you, needs your help, which is why you are there in the first place! Now isn’t that a nice thought? Your boss needs your troubleshooting talents and cooperation to achieve his targets for the year! So act on it!


Have a devil-may-care attitude towards all temptations or obstacles that may come in the way of your work life and self-esteem. Remember that the world needs you – that you are a provider of solutions, help and relief, and that you are being helped by everyone around to help them. The whole world needs you!


Try to figure out logically, what went wrong in a particular bad experience that you had, and work on it. Look at all the perspectives there can be.


However, you cannot very open-minded to irritants like an overly intimidating boss, a dominating spouse, or petty, selfish parents/children. Try to remove yourself from situations that reduce you to a lesser human being, because the joy of living is to reach out to the ‘maximum’ in life and enjoying it to the fullest without fear.


Here, I am tempted to quote the great Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s verse, and change but one word, to support my case:


‘Where the mind is without fear


and the head is held high,


where knowledge is free,


into that heaven of freedom my father,


let my people awake.’


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