There is one state of mind that can really stop us dead in our tracks – and that is fear.
And yes, fear is a state of mind, as well as an emotional response or a feeling. When we are stuck in that place of feeling fear, there seems to be nothing we can do.
It is as if we are on a precipice that is slowly crumbling away – we know for sure that to move would mean death, and yet staying still will mean that the soil under our feet will slip away, and we will be dead anyway. There is no way out.
To others, it may look like we have nothing to fear, it may even look like we fear nothing. But this can be a façade that is so easily breached. For when we are fearful, we also fear others seeing us that way, and so we often build up walls made of a smiling face, and a cheery disposition. Or we may take it to the other extreme, and ignore our fears by being blustering and appearing strong, or by becoming a bully or a thug.
But that can be as destructive to our emotional health, and when we hide the fear we let it grow stronger inside us.
Many will say that we should “just” face the fear. Walk through it. Do it anyway.
But many of our real basic fears are not of simple things that we can see and touch; they are fears deep within our souls, and the base of most of them is that we are not good enough.
We fear that we are not good enough to look after our loved ones; that we are not good enough to keep this job; that we are not good enough to finish this activity.
But perhaps all these can be summed up as the fear that we are not good enough as human beings.
That is the real basis of many of our fears – not that we can or can’t do something, but that no matter what we do it is not good enough to mitigate against our lack of worth.
In that way, it is the pinnacle of self-conceit.
To believe ourselves uniquely lacking in value is just one more way we humans can use to make ourselves feel special, one more way to prove how hard we have it.
The best route out of fear is to acknowledge the truth about ourselves – that we can choose to be paralyzed by the fear that we are not good enough, or we can choose to act as if we were good enough.
And the strange thing is, when we know we are good enough, there really is nothing to fear.