Saturday, August 09, 2008

Awakening - Fear of the Future

Here is an interesting psychological truth. All fear is fear of the future.
This simply means that fear is always about what "might" happen, but hasn't happened yet.

Being fearful "is" sometimes useful. It helps us avert danger. When confronting a large, barking dog, fear alerts us to the possibility of being bitten, so we can avoid it. Fear is most valuable when facing threats to our physical safety.

It's not as useful with psychological threats. Threats such as what might happen if you were to ask for a date or a promotion, or when facing the risk of auditioning for a play. Fear of future possibilities of rejection, awkwardness, or embarrassment can hold you back from taking a chance.

Even some physical fears are non-productive. You might be afraid of downhill skiing because you could get hurt. It is possible and such a negative possibility can be avoided by staying in the lodge by the fireplace. Play it safe, but miss out on an exhilarating experience.

Most of the fear in life that holds us back and limits our behavior is actually a fear of fear. We call it anxiety, and it's based upon worry, which is looking into the future, imagining bad consequences, and convincing yourself that they will happen. You become afraid of imagined possibilities, and rather than face your fear, you avoid it.

The problem arising from not challenging fear and anxiety by doing "it" anyway (whatever it is), is that you may later look back with regret on what you didn't do. Confronting a threatening situation, such as an audition, sometimes requires a choice of which emotion you'd rather live with... the fear of what might happen or regret over what didn't?

When confronting fear, the best option is to always assess the situation for realistic danger, and then, with careful consideration, choose to challenge your fear where it seems reasonable to do so.

If you learn to confront the fear of future possibilities -- now -- in the present moment -- you may find that you have less to regret when the future becomes the past.

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