As the heading itself suggest that Knowing what is fear is important than how to overcome fear. We will focus today on understanding what is fear.
What is Fear:
Dictionary meaning of Fear:
“An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm”
Here two important word that you need to note is “Emotion” and “threat”. Therefore, fear is an emotion and it is caused by a threat, which means that the event has not happened and even the actual happening or not happening of the event is not even certain.
Fear is nothing but a story, which we tell ourselves over and over again.
Knowing what is Fear and Understanding it in detail:
Consider a Situation; if someone sticks a gun in your face, you will most likely have a lot of fear because you are imagining what he or she will do and what the effect will be for you.
Now consider the second situation; if you are feared in general that just walking down the street that someone will pull a gun on you?
Let us evaluate both the situation and understand the fear,
In the first situation, Danger is in front of you and you are imagining the outcome of this, which may happen at any time.
Whereas in the second situation nothing has happened, you are not only imagining the outcome, moreover, you are imagining the Cause itself i.e. Danger.
In our life most of the time our fear is of the second category.
One more perspective which will help you in knowing what is fear:
We do not touch fire, why, are we afraid of fire or we know that we will burn our hand if we touch fire. Try to understand the difference in both the scenario; I am trying to simplify the thing, which we often confuse. So not touching the fire is not due to fear, here the danger is real and we know that we will burn our hand if we touch fire.
Reason of Fear:
You need to understand we are not afraid of the situation, we are afraid of the outcome of the situation.
Let us understand this, Say for example someone says He/ she is afraid of heights, this means that they are not afraid of heights, they are afraid of the outcome, what if they will fall down. Again, the outcome is not universal truth like in the example of fire; it is just imaginary, which only born in our mind.
Let us further evaluate this understanding; here is the list of Top Ten Fears in the Life:
Something Bad Happening
Read more about these fears in this link. Moreover, once you read about these fears in details, you will understand that these are just created in our own mind in some imaginary situations while we think of some future outcome.
What I am trying to demonstrate here is that all these fears are “Fears” because we are afraid of the outcome. The outcome is a future thing, so understand that Fear is born due to our thinking of Future outcomes.
Let us go back to our example and understand Fear in some more details:
Now let us go back to our example, where someone put a Gun on your face. Here we are facing our Fear, which fears, which we were imagining that what if someone pulls a gun on my face. If we are facing our fear then why we are afraid of.
Here you need to understand that, we do not fear as a result of someone has put a gun on our face, we cannot be afraid of that because that is happening in the present. Then why and what are we fearing for. Here we are afraid of another imaginary outcome, which is Death. What if he will shoot me dead?
As at the start I have told you that Knowing what is Fear is important than how to overcome it. So I am not giving you any tips to overcome a particular fear as your fear is different from my fear, I will give you a general principle to overcome fear.
When we will detach ourselves from the Outcome / Results (which is future) and focus on the Task (which is the present) we will not be afraid of anything.
Bhagavad Gita also say Karm Karo fal ki chinta mat karo.
Bhagavad Gita 2.47 translation: “You have control over performing your act, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never be a slave to the outcome of an act but still, you should not be demotivated to perform your action.
If we follow this principle, we will not be afraid of the outcome and once our focus will shift from Outcome to Action or performing duties, fear will automatically disappear.
Conclusion: Knowing what is Fear is important than how to overcome
Let us conclude the topic with few wonderful quotes:
“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.”
— James F. Byrnes
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
Read my post on Self-Awareness