Each week when I write these Tips, I try to write them from a position of substance and reality. I have learned that if I share with other people what I am currently learning myself, it will make a far greater impact on them. In general, I think it is true that we help others most when we share with them from the real-life experiences that we are currently going through or have personally faced in our own life. In other words, experience will always trump theory, in my humble opinion.
In the past few weeks fear has raised its ugly head and tried to come back into my life to control me. Fear is a very negative emotion and one that we cannot afford to entertain if we want to have a successful life. If we do, it ultimately will motivate us to try to control situations rather than to influence them.
Sometimes fear becomes so familiar to us that we do not even label it as fear any longer. It is possible to become so used to feeling upset and anxious about every situation that we can actually get to a place where we do not even recognize it. In other words, the abnormal can soon become the normal. I know that oftentimes when real peace and serenity come into my life, I sometimes feel more uncomfortable with that than I do with fear. It is easy to let crisis and stress become the new norm!
Fear may actually be appropriate and useful in certain situations. It can protect us in the same way soldiers use fear to help them survive in a time of war. It may also be helpful when going camping, watching out for creepy crawlers and predators. But, unless you are in one of those kinds of situations, fear is probably not the best tool to use in your daily routine.
Abraham Maslow once said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will tend to see everything as a nail.” If the only tool we have is fear, then we will begin to react in almost any given situation with anxiety and anger. In other words, we will spend more time reacting to situations negatively and inappropriately than learning to respond to them positively and appropriately. Again, it is okay to listen to healthy fears (like being careful around a growling dog) but then we must let them go and follow a path of peace, trust, acceptance and safety.
I heard the story of a man who had been bitten by a dog that had rabies. When the physician checked him out, he was told he was highly contagious. The doctor left the examination room to go get some medicine. When the doctor returned to the exam room, he noticed the man had gotten a piece of paper and was writing furiously. The doctor said, “You are not going to die. These shots will help you! There is no need to be making out your will.” The man replied, “I am not making out my will. I am making a list of everyone I want to bite!” Fear makes us do irrational things at times!
I have a friend who told me that learning to live a life of peace was very difficult for him. He said that most of his life had seemed like he was driving down the road in a car without a windshield. All the heat, bugs and elements in the environment kept hitting him in the face, but in time, he had gotten used to it. “When I finally got into a car that had a windshield and air conditioning, it felt all wrong,” he said. “I had been so used to living my life going from one crisis to another that when serenity entered my life, it felt very different and was actually more difficult to learn to accept.”
I suspect that many of you who read this Tip can identify with that kind of thinking. I have surrounded myself with people like you who are high achievers and want to do well in life. But neither you nor I can afford to be driven by fear any longer! Fear is a great motivator for a short period of time in certain circumstances, but if you choose to live with it all the time you will soon realize its danger. It only leads to anger, anxiety, high blood pressure and sudden heart attacks.
Take a look at what is motivating your behavior. If it is fear, simply hold it in your hand tightly and then open your hand and let it go. It serves no real purpose. Welcome peace, love, and serenity into your life. After all, that is the only healthy way to enjoy the life you are living!
Tip: Let go of fear!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm