How To Overcome Fear Easily – By Addressing The Cause
In order to overcome fear, we first must understand what causes it
Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief. And in this video I’m going to talk about how to overcome fear. But, before we get into how to overcome fear, how to deal with fear, how to lose fear, let’s first look at what causes fear, because it’s very important to see what’s creating your fear in order to see how to lose it or overcome it.
An exercise to see that thoughts create fear, and not facts
First, take a moment to think about what outcome you’re afraid of. Whether you’re afraid of failing at something, or you’re afraid of something happening to you, take a moment to think about it. I want you to close your eyes and really imagine it. Please take a moment to do that now. When you imagine this outcome, when you think about it, how do you feel? Well you feel afraid, you feel fear, you feel pounding in your heart or tension in your chest or pressure in your chest, something along those lines. Or maybe you feel something in your stomach, right, you feel butterflies, something along those lines.
A moment ago, you probably didn’t have those sensations of fear. And as soon as you start thinking about it, fear is created. If as soon as you start thinking, a feeling is created, the feeling must be the result of thinking, right? There’s nothing factually happening to you right now to create fear. If you look around the room, almost certainly there is nothing factually to create fear. You may think something might happen, but if nothing is happening now, fear can’t be created by anything happening, anything factual, anything in reality. It can only be created by thoughts.
Fear must be created by thoughts because any distraction dissolves fear
Another way to see that your fear is not the result of a fact, but only the result of a thought, is by simply looking – if a situation created fear, then you couldn’t escape it simply by distracting yourself from thoughts. But yet, no matter what situation you’re in, if there’s fear, if you distract yourself from thoughts – either you get your favorite food or you start talking to someone else or you start thinking about something else for a moment or you turn on the TV, or something, you can be distracted from that fear and you forget all about it, right? It may be harder in some situation than others, but if at any moment, you experience how distracting yourself from thoughts gets rid of fear, then you know it’s only thoughts that’s creating that fear.
Fear isn’t just created by thoughts, it is created by believing thoughts
Now that we see that fear is a result of thoughts, let’s put it a little differently, okay? Fear is not just the result of thoughts, fear is the result of believing thoughts to be true. If you’re sitting down and somebody approaches you and says, “The world is going to end tomorrow,” and you believe them, how do you feel? Well you feel afraid, fearful perhaps. But if this person walks up to you and says, “The world is going to end tomorrow,” but they don’t seem like a credible source of information on that subject, so you just don’t believe what they say, then how do you feel? Well, you feel nothing. If you don’t believe what they say, you don’t feel anything. What that shows you is, when you believe somebody’s words to be true, they create emotions. When you believe that a bad outcome is happening tomorrow, the words that a bad outcome is happening tomorrow, you feel fear. But when you don’t believe those same exact words, you feel nothing.
Well, the same is true of the words in your mind. When you believe that a bad outcome is happening or that a bad outcome is possible, you feel afraid. But if you don’t believe those exact same words, those exact same thoughts, if you simply don’t believe them, then they don’t create fear, they don’t create anxiety, they don’t create emotions. It doesn’t even matter if they’re playing in your head, it’s like someone talking nonsense in front of you, or the radio playing in front of you, but you don’t believe anything they say, so they can talk all day, it doesn’t matter, right?
How to overcome fear? Discover that you don’t know what outcome is best for you
The next obvious question is, “So how do I deal with those thoughts, how do I stop believing them?” Well if you have fear, it is because you are believing that a specific outcome in the future would be bad. It would be bad if this happened to me, or it would be best if I got a particular outcome and therefore any other outcome would be worse. For example, if you think it would be best to get a promotion, best to pass a test, best to get the job offer after going on an interview, then you will obviously think it’s worse to do poorly on the test, worse to not get the offer or worse to not get promoted, or worse to not get the girl, something along those lines. In order to lose your fear, you have to see that you don’t know whether a particular outcome is good or bad for your life.
To lose your fear, you first have to know what you want in life more than anything else
In order to see that you don’t know whether an outcome is good or bad for your life, you first need to take a big step back and ask yourself, “What do I want in life more than anything else? What is the #1 most important thing to me? What do I want more than anything else in life?” Not my top few most important things, what is number one? If you’re really willing and honest to ask yourself that question, you will discover that what you want more than anything else is peace and happiness. You might think that what you want is success, but the reason you want success is only because you hope it will make you happy. You may think you want to get first place on a test or a sporting event or a competition of some kind, but why do you want that? Only because you hope it will make you happy. You may think you want love, a relationship, marriage, but how do you hope to feel when you get it? Happy, at peace.
All of our goals, everything that we want, everything that we’re afraid of failing on, we only want to make us happy. It’s not the goal in and of itself to get success, relationship, win the competition, that is not the goal, that is the means. You see? When you want ice cream, you don’t really want ice cream itself. You just want to feel good, and you hope ice cream will give you that feeling that you want. In the same way, you don’t want to pass the test, get the promotion, or win the competition, you just want the feeling you hope these things will give you.
Discover for yourself that what you want more than anything else is peace and happiness
I don’t want you to just believe that you want peace more than anything else, I want you to discover that for yourself. So the way to discover that for yourself is to ask yourself the question – if you had the following 2 possible scenarios, which would you choose?
- Achieve your most important goal, but be unhappy, sad, hurt, worried about others’ opinions, have anxiety about the future, have judgments, insecurities, and every other form of suffering that you have now.
- Don’t achieve your goal, but live with an incredible sense of peace and freedom, and never have any anxiety, worries, insecurities, anger, or sadness.
Which would you choose? I’m not saying those are your only two options, I’m saying if those were the two options, which would you choose? Achieve your goal and be unhappy or not achieve your goal and be happy?
Well if you’re being honest, if you’re open enough, you will probably discover that you would rather be happy and not achieve your goal than achieve your goal and be unhappy. You might think that scenario is impossible, you may think that you couldn’t possibly be happy if you didn’t achieve your goal, and that you couldn’t be unhappy if you achieved your goal, but it’s very important to recognize what you want most in life, because if you don’t realize that what you want more than anything else is peace and happiness, then you’re constantly going to be thinking about things that have nothing to do with your peace and happiness.
How to disbelieve the idea that a specific outcome would be “best” for my life
Once we believe the idea that a specific outcome would be best for our life, then we believe every other outcome would be worse, so we fear every alternative. But if you discover that whatever outcome you think would be best for you might not even make you happy, and might not be best for your life at all, then all of a sudden you don’t have to fear the alternative.
Ok, so if you want peace and happiness more than anything else, which is almost certainly the case, then whatever outcome you are afraid of not getting, just ask yourself, do I know that getting what I want would make me happier than failing? You may think that getting a particular outcome would be good or best for your life, but that’s only because you think it will make you happy. But how do you know that this outcome will make you happy? How do you know that getting the girl, getting the promotion, getting the job, getting a winner’s medal, will make you happy? If you achieve whatever you want, you’re still going to have all the same worries about other’s opinions, shame about yourself, insecurity about your personality, your looks, judgments, anger, problems in your relationship, problems in your job, everything else that you currently have. And you never had whatever you want, so how do you even know you’ll like it? Can you think of some bad possible effects that could come from achieving your goal? Of course you can, right?
How to discover that the outcome you fear might not be “bad”
If you fail to achieve your goal, the word failure sounds like it’s bad. We automatically assume that if we don’t achieve our goal, that’s bad. But how do you know? It might be better for you. Have you never had something happen in the past that you thought was bad in the moment, but ended up working out really well? Do you know what all the effects are of not achieving your goal? How do you know? Is it possible that if you don’t get the job offer, you’ll get another one that’s better. Or you’ll have extra free time and read a book that makes you happy, or you’ll learn a lesson or meet somebody or something will happen that turns out to be much more valuable for your life in the long run. How do you know? So the way to lose the fear about achieving a particular outcome and being afraid of failure is simply by recognizing “I don’t know what outcome is best for me.”
Failing to achieve your goal doesn’t mean you are “bad”
The other way to lose the fear of achieving a particular outcome and failing to achieve it is to recognize that failure doesn’t mean anything about me. Generally, one of the main reasons why the fear of failure is so strong and intense is because we believe if we succeed, it means I am great, I am worthy, I am lovable… and if we fail, it means I am unworthy, there’s something wrong with me, I am not good enough, I am insufficient. But it doesn’t mean that. If you succeed on a job interview, maybe you just got the right interviewer, there was a good fit, or maybe he was happy that day because something else happened in his life, or maybe he asked you the one question you knew the answer to. And if you don’t pass the interview, maybe the guy who was interviewing you just got into a car accident, and was in a bad mood. Or you were wearing a tie that he hated and he just felt like getting you. Or if you meet a girl and you’re scared of getting rejected by her, she might like blondes and you’re a brunette, does that mean there’s something wrong with you? She might like shy, when you’re outgoing, or the other way around. She might like successful instead of someone that is giving to society or working in like a non-profit. Or she might like it the other way around, she might want someone who cares about helping the world instead of someone who’s just trying to make money.
No success or failure means anything about you
No success or failure means you are great or not, means you are worthy or not. It’s just an event, it’s just an outcome, it doesn’t signify anything about who you are. Because there are so many variables that occur in creating a particular outcome and you are not in control over all of them. If you were the one that determined whether you got you what you wanted, then you would always get what you wanted. But there are so many variables right? Like I mentioned in those two examples, you have the personal preferences of the other person. Or maybe you’re going to the interview and you can’t make it there on time, so you’re not going to get the job offer. But you don’t even control if you’re going to make it on time – there could be a car accident, there could be an emergency, there could be anything.
How to overcome fear – Recognize that you don’t know what outcome would be best or bad for your life
Whatever outcome you fear
- Recognize that you don’t know whether it’s bad for you, you don’t know whether it’s bad for your life in the long run, because you don’t know whether it will end up making you happy or not, since you don’t know what all the effects are.
- Succeeding at anything doesn’t mean you are worthy, great, lovable or special, and failing doesn’t mean you are unworthy, not special, or anything else.
If you just discover these two things, you will be free of the fear in every situation. So any time you’re feeling afraid, look, what story am I telling myself? The story or some version of it is “It would be best if I got this, it would be bad if I got that.” Then investigate whether you actually know that that is true.
Thanks for reading this blog post about how to overcome fear
Ok, so that’s it on how to overcome fear, how to deal with fear. If you have any questions, feel free to write it in the comments or send me a message. I hope you found it helpful and thank you for watching.
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