Breaking the Fear Cycle

by Greg Malouf

Consider this question: 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?

When we over-protect our children by shielding them from mistakes, pain, and disappointment, from teaching them not to take any risks or by doing everything for them, we end up depriving them of opportunities to learn and grow. We instill in them fear in the form of a number of negative beliefs, such as, that they are not good enough, that they are incapable, 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.

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 be safe when climbing a tree and how to choose safe trees to climb. While there's no guarantee in this scenario that the child won't ever climb an "unsafe" tree, the child is at least empowered with knowledge and free to learn from mistakes.

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 are often misguidedly handed down from generation to generation. This creates stress in our lives because 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.

Fear creates stress and it does not feel good. It isolates us and leaves us even more alone. In order to relieve that unease, we look for ways to mask our fear. Perhaps we end up abusing drugs and alcohol, or eat too much. We pour ourselves into obsessions. We chase after 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.

By breaking the cycle of fear, we can live more stress-free lives!

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