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The Different Shapes of FEARs

Sometimes, the acronym False Expectations Appearing Real is used to describe fear. This means that a lot of the fears that we have are not real. They only exist in our mind. Other fears have something to do with the inevitable -like death, for example. At that moment we try to ignore the subject, deny it or get morbidly obsessed by it, pondering about the meaninglessness of life. However, at this very moment we can’t do anything about dying, so it is almost bizarre that death itself is feared so fiercely. It is one of the few certainties in life. A realistic fear would be to die unprepared, or to feel that we haven’t lived to our full potential. This fear can stimulate us to take action at this moment to make sure that we do have a meaningful life.

Of course, we have many fears. We’re afraid of the unknown, of change, of conflict, of vulnerability, of failure, of not being good enough, of loneliness, of being incompetent, of criticism, of responsibility, of pain and … well, the list goes on and on. On some idle day, I once counted the number of ‘phobias’ on Wikipedia and found that there are 120 different fears attested to there. There are the well-known variants like arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or claustrophobia (fear of having no escape and being closed in), but there are also a few bizarre ones:
Aichmophobia (fear of sharp or pointed objects), Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and my favorite one Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia - fear of the number 666. I’m also quite sure you don’t want to suffer from Phonophobia - fear of having a phobia.
You can bring most fears back to one root: that we won’t be able to cope with the challenges life throws at us. If you can establish a deep-rooted trust in your ability to overcome any challenge that life might present you with, your life will become a lot easier. Sometimes, when you face a new situation, you just have to push through your fear to discover it wasn’t that ‘scary’ after all. Studies have shown that only ten percent of what we worry about actually transpires. This means that most of our worries are completely unfounded. I invite you to take into account and acknowledge that we are currently living in humanity’s most prosperous time.
As stated before, our biggest fear is probably failing to live to our full potential. The poem from Marianne Williamson describes it in a beautiful way:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

- A Return to Love - Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson -

[Excerpt from the bookazine the Change Mindset]

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