Conquering and overcoming fear
Having discussed rejection at length, let me turn to something even greater - something that is at the heart of rejection --- FEAR.
Fear is one of the main reasons why people visit their doctors. It is probably the number one topic in letters to Dear Abby. If fear and greed drive stock markets, then fear is surely what drives relationships to work or not to work.
When left unrecognised and unchecked, fear does a lot of damage. It prevents us from fulfilling our dreams. It stops us from listening to our hearts. Fear of change keeps us in the same status quo situation until we die.
Just search for "fear" on Bon Journal or analyticalQ.com and you'll see that it's a favourite topic of discussion here. Fear of commitment keeps you in pursuit of flexibility. Fear of regret prevents you from committing to a serious relationship. Fear of rejection prevents you from saying "I love you."
Children are uninhibited. They are born with no fear. Through trial and error and hearsay, they learn that the world is a dangerous place. If they're are burned once, they don't play with fire anymore. They become cautious.
Adults are fear-laden. They don't recognise all their fears, and even if they do, they don't always admit to them. One of the web sites about Overcoming Fear advises to identify your fears. This is a challenging task because it is confrontational.
Think about your fears for a moment. Having spent my childhood in the sub-tropics, I feared and disliked cold weather. So I decided to spend my junior year in Montreal, Canada --- the Great White North. I wanted to overcome that fear. For a person born near the equator, that's quite something.
I did not like how I trembled whenever I was performing or speaking on stage. My hands felt like ants were crawling on them when I performed solo in piano recitals. My voice shook when I got up to speak. I could feel my heart beating faster whenever I wanted to raise my hands to talk to the speaker. I decided to overcome stage fright by playing piano in the lobbies of the hotels I stayed in, while on business. I forced myself to raise my hand and ask questions at industry conferences. I joined Toastmasters International to learn public speaking.
The simple strategy of recognising your fears and then facing them should help you conquer and overcome your fears. But you must want to do that, first of all. There is a reason fear exists. It fools us with the illusion that we are safe if we don't go against our fears.
For those people who fear themselves, they don't take responsibility for their actions, leaving decisions up to others. Don't ask them what they want, for they fear they don't know it themselves.
6 June 2004 Sunday
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