Break the Fear Cycle to Relieve Stress

by Greg Malouf

It is our purpose and innermost desire to experience life to the fullest; yet we are not conscious of this purpose, believing instead that we are at the whim of life, not the creator of it. (From Silent

Here is an interesting question to consider: How can someone given unconditional love in a caring, nurturing home and someone from an abusive home with no real love end up with the same feelings of emptiness and despair? Is loving our children too much ultimately as harmful as not loving them enough?

The answer is: it can be.

When, in the name of love, we over-protect our children by shielding them from mistakes, hurts, and disappointments either by teaching them not to take any risks or by doing everything for them, we not only deprive them of opportunities to learn and grow, we instill in them fear in the form of a number of negative beliefs. One, that they are not good enough. Two, that they are incapable. Three, that they can’t trust themselves. Instead of fostering self-reliance and faith in the true inner-Self, we feed the ego-Self that tells them they must look externally, rather than internally, for love and approval. As they grow up, they continue to feed that ego-Self.

Think about it. When a child hears a warning, like “Don’t climb that tree; you’ll fall and hurt yourself” it instills fear and forces him to question his own judgment. What if instead, you teach him how to climb a tree safely and how to evaluate whether a particular tree is a good one to climb? There is no guarantee in the first scenario that the child won’t climb the tree anyway, and with fear and ego fueling his motivation, he may even be more likely to get hurt. Similarly, there is no guarantee that the child won’t get hurt in the second scenario, but if he is, he will be better prepared to understand and learn from his mistake, and ultimately, from his accomplishment.

Fear is at the heart of so many of our actions (or inactions). Created by our egos, it is our protection from imagined threats that has been misguidedly handed down from generation to generation. I call all those don’ts that we learn in childhood “the whispering images,” because they become the voices in our heads that influence us the most. If we are not grounded in acceptance of our true Self, then we are operating at the whims of life, rather than creating the life we choose.

Compounding the issue is the fact that fear doesn’t feel good – because it isolates us and leaves us even more alone. In order to relieve that unease, we look for ways to mask it. We abuse drugs and alcohol, or we eat too much. We pour ourselves into obsessions. We chase money and success. We seek approval from external sources. We make ourselves into something unreal and unsustainable.

Just as darkness is the absence of light, fear is the absence of love. Shine a light to vanquish the darkness. Embrace you true inner self to experience all the love you need. Without fear, we are free to explore as our authentic selves and open ourselves up to possibilities we couldn’t otherwise imagine.

Greg is the author of Silent: The Power of Silence
Take a look inside his book by clicking the image or link below.

Silent: The Power of Silence

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I can relate
by: Val

I grew up with well meaning family and relatives always telling me to be careful or be lady-like. Combine that with a very discipline focused school and I grew up very fearful. I didn't climb a tree until my fiance helped me climb a small one in college!

It took a lot of internal work to overcome a good many fears, and it is still a work in progress. And yes, fear is stressful!

PS-Greg, may I upload your photo for this article? I see it on google images.

Thanks for sharing with us.

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