For a majority of us, our parents were born and raised in a country or an environment that differs from where we currently live. And in some cases, some of you probably grew up in that environment as a child as well. Regardless of the varied lifestyles we currently have, the generations of our past shared one underlying purpose - the need to survive. Many of them witnessed a civil war, poverty or instability of some sort during their childhood. They made the decision to leave an unstable environment in order to make sure that we grow up with much more stability and safety than they did.
Unfortunately, since they, or in some cases our generation spent a majority of childhood in an environment of instability, some of these experiences unconsciously remain within us as a biological and psychological imprint. We grow up without realizing that these imprints can have an impact on our mindset and behavior even today. So if you feel like you’ve got an unknown sense of fear, restlessness or a lack of confidence and can’t seem to understand where it comes from, there's a fair chance it has a unhealed root cause from somewhere other than your immediate environment.
From the time we’re born, a sense of fear is instilled in us through discipline that we’re taught by our care-givers, our school system and the media. Think about the commercials we watch or hear on a regular basis. They share a format of stating a problem, which instills fear or discomfort in us and then providing us with a solution to remove the factor causing fear. This unconsciously makes us believe that fearful factors exist around us - even when it isn't always true!
I hope you do have a moment like I did to realize that all these stems from one little monster - fear!
If any of you watched the most anticipated interview with Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey, you will realize that the underlying cause of every issue that they faced was fear. The Royals fear the media outlets in the UK, along with a fear of the impression they give out to the public,
fear of safety and security, fear of being misunderstood, fear of living, which all leads to behavior that disrupts the sanity of everyone involved! And if the Royals face those fears regardless of being surrounded by security, us norms are no different!
But why live with the same programming that our ancestors lived with when it doesn’t apply to us today? Hence why Meghan Markle broke out of that system!
Our ancestors had a reason to fear their survival because of factors that were beyond their control. Living in a war-torn environment or a household that experienced poverty could have kept them in a very protective mode to ensure that everyone was safe. But today, we are much more resourceful and capable of facing obstacles that we think we can’t handle in comparison to what previous generations experienced. So applying the same mindset and protective mechanisms from ages ago will only hold us back and prevent us from living the best lives we can. Would you use an antivirus system created for Windows 95 on Windows 10….? Sorry, I use a Mac, couldn’t think of a better example, hah! :D
Before your head starts spinning with all this info (lol!) let me get to the point. We aren’t superheroes to walk around fearlessly all the time but there is a solution to reduce this sense of fear or handle it in an effective way. We need to break out of that old, fearful mindset we’ve created over time. If the sense of fear is within us for a prolonged time, it affects how we feel, the way we make decisions and our sense of worthiness which eventually affects our overall happiness and outlook on life.
Our main source of fear stems from a lack of trust we have in ourselves to make the right decision.
Don’t be hard on yourself for it, this isn’t your fault. This may stem from a loved one not believing in your capability or making decisions for you, a negative comment you heard about yourself in the past or a past experience of failure that prevents you from trusting yourself. So fear and lack of trust work simultaneously. But that experience or comment from the past doesn't determine your capacity to make the right decisions now.
The most important way to address this would be reflection. I cant emphasize how beneficial it has been for me to focus on reflecting. Whenever you sense a feeling of agitation or fear, take some time for yourself and reflect on where this fear stems from. This could be done through meditation or journaling. Mind maps have worked the best for me. Try writing down how you’re feeling. And then create a few divisions to try thinking about what factors may have caused you to feel that way. It will usually lead to either fear of the unknown (you would rather know the outcome than let things unravel), fear of safety, security, stability (finances, family, relationships, career) or fear of loss.
“Learn to observe your emotions without needing to act or distract yourself from them. Within that stillness your truest most vulnerable thoughts will arise and it is these thoughts that will show you where your healing work must begin.”
Here are some reminders that can help reduce the sense of fear and increase your ability to trust yourself:
Trust that you are capable of making the right decision - can't emphasize the importance of this one!
Avoid basing your decisions on the opinions of others. It's great to receive advice to look at a situation from different perspectives but unless it's someone qualified (aka therapist, psychologists etc), there’s a good chance that someone else’s opinion is based on their experiences and may not apply to your life.
Start following your gut - Have conversations with yourself about how you feel. No, this doesn’t make you ‘crazy.’ You’re supposed to have more conversations with yourself about yourself than with others anyway - self reflection!
Let go of the need to control everything. Understand that not everything is under your control and learn to make decisions one step at a time.
Heal from your past mistakes - forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in the past and learn from them. If your past mistakes affect you today, it should probably give you more reason to change your mindset from the past. Your mistakes made you who you are so consider them as lessons rather than living in fear of repeating them again.
Learn to be comfortable on your own and listen to your thoughts to face your fear.
Journaling or meditating will help you realize that the issue you’re facing could have a solution if we really took time to understand our thoughts and feelings. Regardless of how significant this issue might be, you will realize that a solution does exist and you are capable of overcoming the obstacle. Keep reminding yourself that the fear you sense is not yours, and was programmed in you because of our past. Its not an excuse to avoid healing your sense of fear but its a starting point to not blame yourself for feeling that way. Start looking at fear as an outdated memory card that's stuck to you and you’re able to remove (I honestly have no idea how I come up with these lol)
Don’t let fear blind you from your strength to overcome challenges. You are capable of handling anything life throws your way; as long as you take some time to reflect before you respond out of fear. Keep believing that things will always work out in your favor if you let things happen for you.. Either way, it's our responsibility to address this sense of fear that got programmed into us by default and find ways to let go of it. We can sit back, let fear take over our lives and live in regret or learn to trust ourselves and face our fears head on to live the best life we can possibly imagine. The choice is yours.