Learning from Fear
By Dr. Tim Ong, M.B.B.S.
By Dr. Tim Ong, M.B.B.S.
Nobody likes to feel fearful and because of that, most people will habitually react to fear by avoiding, repressing or suppressing it. It takes courage and wisdom to see that our fear can be our greatest teacher.
When we examine our fear, we will often discover that it is irrational. There is no real basis or substance to our fear. That is why fear is often described as "False Evidence Appearing Real". Fear is a self created illusion built upon past experiences or imprints. The situation may have changed but the imprints compel us to react in a knee jerk manner without proper examination and re-evaluation of the new situation.
The good news is that this habit or tendency CAN be transformed.
The Fear of Rejection
One of the most common fears is the fear of rejection. This fear comes in many forms.
For example, a person with this fear often feels it a challenge to talk to authority figures, whether these be their parents, teachers, superiors or even government bodies. They are especially fearful to ask for or request things from these people. The feeling of fear of rejection is an automatic response that arises from past experience of rejections from these same authority figures.
Another manifestation of this fear of rejection is in the inability to say "no" to other people's requests. This is the other end of the spectrum and arises because of the fear of being rejected by the person who made the request.
Confront Your Fear
The best way to overcome your fear is to confront it. However, there are two opposing ways to confrontation. You can confront your fear with great compassion and gentleness, or you can confront it combatively. The more skillful and effective way is naturally to confront it compassionately.
When you confront your fear compassionately, you'll soon discover the underlying false belief that gives rise to that fear. You'll learn that the external situation is merely a mirror reflection of your inner mental state. That false belief gives rise to a correspondingly false perception of reality, thus the irrationality of the fear.
Confronting your fear compassionately means to see it without any judgment and blame. It means to take responsibility for your emotion and even to embrace it with love. When you can do this, you'll be grateful for your fear because you know it is there only as a teacher. It is there to help you see your real self.
So the next time you experience fear, pause for a moment and examine it with love and compassion. Allow this teacher to show you the lesson you need to learn.
As they said, "Do the things you fear and the death of fear is certain."
Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor with keen interests in self improvement, mind science and spirituality. He is the author ofFrom Fear to Love: A Spiritual Journey and a contributor to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 3 together with other authors like Ken Blanchard, Byron Katie, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Brown.