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Fear and how it plays havoc with our lives

By Nina Steele 

Fear is at the heart of pretty much everything. The fear of not being able to fit in with the mainstream of society is why so many people are unable to come to terms with not having children. We fear that others will think less of us unless we behave a certain way, dress a certain way, drive a certain type of car, live in a certain type of area. As a result, many people end up falling in debt so they can keep up appearances. Fear is so rooted in society that most people are leading inauthentic lives and the result of that is unhappiness. When you think about it, the root of all evil is really fear, not money. Can we ever be free from fear? Maybe not completely but being aware that fear is what drives most of us is a start. You can certainly lessen your fears and for that, you will need courage.

Look around you and you can see it everywhere. Someone gives you a bad look and unless you see it for what it is, your first instinct is to strike back because you fear that you have been diminished. An acquaintance announces that they are buying a new car and suddenly you heartbeat increases because you feel like your own car is now inadequate. Most people don’t even realise that this is fear. We have reduced our lives to being constantly afraid of being inadequate and because of that most people will depart this world, never realising their full potential. Some fears are justified, for example if you are in danger, you are justified in running for your life or doing whatever is necessary to save yourself and those who happen to be with you. Telling a child not to play with fire or the electric socket is not a bad thing. Equally it is not a bad thing to tell a child to take care while crossing the road or to take care of themselves by eating well. This is common sense knowledge that can truly save lives. However, living our lives constantly in fear of what other people think of us is not right and will inevitably prevent us from finding peace and happiness.

As human beings, we have within ourselves, the power to live in peace but for that to happen, we need courage. The courage to live an authentic life. The courage to not be afraid to stand alone. The answer to all our problems is within us and most people know this but fear prevents us from taking those decisions that will give us the peace that we say we want. I was reading a book a few weeks ago about a woman who ended up childless because the person she was married to did not want children. Even though she wanted children very badly, the fear that she may never find another partner prevented her from leaving and so she stayed married to him hoping that he would change his mind. Of course he never did change his mind and now in her 60s she is still unable to come to terms with being childless. What makes her story even more poignant is that on the surface she has everything that most people will ever need in order to have a good life, yet she is very unhappy because she sees herself as inadequate and less of a woman. She has totally bought into the myth that you are not complete until you have children and is making herself miserable as a result. This is an extreme case of what type of havoc fear can create and a cautionary tale for all of us.

So next time you feel like doing something so you can fit in with other people or let your peace be easily disturbed by trivial matters, just know that fear is having the best of you and have the courage to stand up to it and say no, not this time. Awareness is key and it will eventually lessen your fears.

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