Fear is a physical and emotional uneasiness felt about something known or unknown, over which you perceive you have control.
The key word here is PERCEIVED. Fear entails an inflation of the negative qualities of the object you fear and an inflation of what those negative qualities could do to ME. This results in a preoccupation with what you fear and a further inflation of what harm it could to ME, and this vicious circle can lead to a state of anxiety and ultimately to panic. For example, you are planning your first house. You have found a most conveniently placed piece of land and a beautiful house, which is placed rather inconveniently. Faced with the decision of which to purchase, you become unsure and indecisive, which lead you to fear the financial commitmentï¿½you are now afraid that you may not be financially ready to purchase a home. What began as a small decision between a plot, or house has lead to a fear of financial instability.
Like so many emotions, fear has both positive and negative aspects.
CAUSES OF FEAR:
Fear is a primitive and deeply rooted emotion. It is easy to battle that which you are aware of, but how do you fight that which you never recognize? Fear is always accompanied by unawareness (ignorance, confusion) of some fact of reality - either not knowing it or knowing it in a manner that contradicts reality. Let us consider six possible variations.
1. Unawareness of cause and effect and how things exist. This could result from
a. an inflated sense of self and the belief that should be able to control everything (eg. should be able to prevent my child from getting hurt). Thus, when the unexpected event occurs (child getting hurt) the sense of control is shattered and a feeling of personal inadequacy sets in leading to a fear of the unexpected. Or,
Unawareness of a personal inadequacy resulting in an inability to control an object or event with a consequent fear of the object or event.
Unawareness of the impermanence of situations e.g. fear of an inability to handle your emotions on the loss of a loved one, due to a lack of awareness that your experiences of pain and sadness are impermanent and will pass, like the pain of a dentist pulling teeth.
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KINDS OF FEAR:
Fear comes in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common can be categorized as follows.
The Fear of Lack of Money: The fear of lack of money is not only a common fear, but also one of the most destructive. This fear paralyses the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills off self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainty of purpose, encourages procrastination, wipes out enthusiasm and makes self-control an impossibility
The Fear of Criticism: Nobody likes being criticized, but for some, the fear of criticism is a serious obstacle to achievement in aspects of life. This potent fear can manifest through self-consciousness, feelings of inferiority, extravagance and lack of initiative, poise and ambition. It can be embedded in your mind from many sources.
The Fear of Ill Health: This is closely associated with the fear of old age and the fear of death. Many people fear sickness because they worry about dying. It is estimated that 75% of people who visit doctors suffer from hypochondria.
The Fear of loss: This is the most painful of all fears and often plays havoc on the mind You fear loss in three main areas.
Loss of "Image." Teenagers so fear humiliation that they can succumb to peer pressure and act inappropriately, even dangerously.
Loss of Friendships. Children with this fear avoid taking interpersonal risks, such as stating strong opinions that diverge from the group or family, or making decisions on their own.
Loss of love. This fear usually comes up when you feel betrayed by a loved one in experiencing or sharing their real feelings, leading to jealousy, finding fault, belief that love can be bought etc. This leaves us open to feeling lonely.
The Fear of old age: The fear of old age results from a fear of lack of money and fear of the unknown world beyond. Diminishing attraction is also a part of this fear. The fear of old age shows symptoms when one develops an inferiority complex around the age of 40. You may also begin referring to yourself as OLD.
The Fear of Death: The fear of death is widespread. Most of us know someone who fears death, or maybe you fear death. People who fear death often think of dying rather than making the most out of life. Fear of leaving loved ones poverty-stricken, fear of ill health, insanity and religious fanaticism also accompany this fear.
Fear of Separation and/or Loneliness: This is the most basic fear and it includes fear of death. Our culture teaches us to fear being alone. When you face being alone, your fear of loneliness recedes. Then you are left with the more basic fear, which is a fear of separation. This fear of separation is the basic fear, which underlies your other fears.
Fear of the Unknown: This fear accompanies change, growth and any new endeavor, such as going to a new school or making a new friend.
Fear of Pain: Physical, mental, emotional or spiritual pain can be imagined or experienced and then feared. Fear of experiencing the pain keeps adults and children unnecessarily locked into such situations.
Fear is out of proportion to of the reality of the threat and which leads to avoidance of the feared object or event is known as a Phobia
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