The fears we don’t face become our limits, and that’s the problem. Fears are limits, and these limits come from beliefs. Beliefs that limit are self-imposed prisons. The more boundaries, the more limitations on the freedom of thought. Learning to overcome our fears is key to any growth.
What is Fear?
We experience fear, but there’s no consensus about what we fear. Scientists disagree on whether fear is a psychological construct or a discoverable event. (1)
Some believe fear is a concept we cannot apply to other creatures because we don’t know if they feel afraid or simply react to programmed stimuli. However, studies on rats show specific parts of the brain control this kind of reaction.
Neuroimaging of the human brain shows the fear response is not always localized to one part of the brain. This conclusion supports the idea that our fears are programmable, which is corroborated by the plethora of phobias humans exhibit.
It is also clear that fears can be programmed through cultural training. Children raised in the jungle can recognize the sound of a snake moving from other creatures, whereas children raised in the city cannot. Similarly, children raised in the city are tuned to the sounds of specific loud event triggers. In contrast, children raised in the jungle cannot distinguish between all the loud sounds in order to identify potential danger.
The fight, flight, or freeze reaction causes fear in people, but we do not know if animals or insects associate this reaction with being afraid. People can learn to associate this primitive reaction with almost any stimuli.
What are you afraid of? What is fear to you? Fear is any trigger that takes over your body as a reaction to danger. Science tells us that the fear response is more prevalent in people with phobias and hyper-religious beliefs are a type of phobia. (2) Irrational fears are the hardest to overcome because they can be triggered by random thoughts or external triggers. Nothing creates more irrational fears than religion.
- The Fear of God
- Fear of Devils and Demons
- Loss of Afterlife rewards like Heaven and thus the Fear of Hell
The above fears trigger the same response as the fear of predators, dangerous animals, or insects falling from high places. It’s the reason why people with sincerely held religious beliefs are so violent.
Overcoming Our Fears ― Breaking Free
Most people have no problem identifying their fears. So, if you take the time to write them down, you’ll probably see them connect. For example, if you have a phobia about spiders, you can probably trace this to some event or even a dream.
The problem arises when you don’t want to keep the trigger. Religious beliefs are the source of several fear triggers. People must embrace them because they are a part of the mythology or superstition. So, you are afraid of devils and demons you’ll want to keep your belief in the mythology surrounding devils and demons. It sets up a never-ending dilemma of panic attacks and anxiety we know as cognitive dissonance.
There isn’t any way to reduce the symptoms of pain and discomfort when your fight, flight, or freeze danger reaction is constantly being triggered. Every time you hear a sermon about demons and devils or watch TV programs with devils, you are triggering your fear. The only way to cope is to slip further into unhealthy, magical thinking.
If you decide to stop this cycle of fear, there is hope.
Steps to Breaking the Fear Cycle
1) Identify the programming that’s making you afraid
The first step is learning to see. Your expectations create walls. The more boundaries, the more difficult it becomes to see and remove them. Those entrenched in religious dogma will be blind to the facts. Unlearning these boundaries isn’t easy. It requires courage and persistence to get past the limitations of your paradigm.
“The fears we don’t face Robin Sharma
2) Remove the harmful programming
The second step is the hardest. It’s one thing to identify your fears, but it’s another thing to remove them. We recommend doing it with a partner that can help you. It may take some professional help because dealing with the source will be emotionally unsettling.
Your paradigm isn’t like a set of Lego. You can’t take it apart piece by piece. Your paradigm is more like a piñata. You’ll need to smash it to bits before there is any clarity. In the 1970s, people engaged in this kind of inner work.
They call this process “deprogramming.” This tactic wasn’t voluntary. The deprogramming team kidnaps the subject and holds them against their will. During the confinement, they were forced to confront their beliefs head-on.
Overcoming our fears is hard inner work. Deprogramming is effective, but it’s against the law. Most people don’t want to be tied to a chair or confined to a room to undergo this intensive inner work. Most people prefer to do this themselves, it takes longer, but it is preferred. When you confront your beliefs on your own, it requires courage and persistence.
Ask yourself, can you do it? Do you have the courage to push past the boundaries? Remember, the fears we don’t face become our limits. Do you prefer a limited existence or a life of abundance?
It’s like taking off a band-aide slowly. Our hats go off to those courageous enough to confront their religious beliefs that limit our thinking. Keep telling yourself it is worth it. Investigate anything that threatens your worldview—question everything without a basis in science and empirical evidence.
Bottom line. If you are unwilling to question your beliefs, you will never know if you follow the truth or lies. Here are some tools that can help.
3) Reprogram Positive Thinking
You may be tempted to skip steps one and two and go straight for the use of affirmations. However, all this does is leave you frustrated. You can’t cover up your fears with affirmations. You need to deal with them and remove them before trying to reprogram them. What you are afraid of is powerful, and the popular culture doesn’t help.
The Fears We Don’t Face Never Go Away
When you are unable or unwilling to see and accept something, you are more likely to have irrational fears. Being afraid of something makes it a boundary, “fear by association.” We feel safe if we stay away from ideas that threaten our thinking and values. However, hiding keeps us from facing the thing we fear.
People develop groups around their collective fears. These collective fears become our belief systems. Many of these joint belief systems are what we call religion. Some religions use fear gaining members and keep members inside the group.
Religions use a variety of techniques to trigger these fears of control. They ostracize and persecute people who are not members. Sometimes, the group can also affect your ability to work or conduct business. But there are also spiritual fears.
Religion uses the fear of not being accepted by God or gods. A common fear is the loss of afterlife rewards. Or fear of eternal punishment. So we see how many prevalent religions use fear as a tactic to limit freethinking.
“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love.” ― Bill Hicks
These fears are beliefs that limit our fundamental freedom of thought. It’s a lot to overcome, but facing our fears is the only way to overcome them. More people find the courage to face their beliefs that limit and control their lives.
They understand that the fears we don’t face become our limits. The enemies of progress are the people and organizations behind the fear. You know who they are, don’t you? Fear becomes the tool of choice for religious extremism. Fear and anxiety are significant components of self-hypnosis and group hypnosis manipulation tactics.
We don’t face the facts because these institutions have become a part of the culture.
The Fears We Don’t Face Become Our Limits
Overcoming our fears is hard inner work. Many people live in oppressive societies where the culture enforces their worldview. These cultures have stringent rules and regulations on behavior. Breaking the limits of the culture has harsh consequences.
Be brave but prudent if you live in a culture that opposes freethinking. You may need to live a double life to think freely. You’ll need to learn how to show the outward appearances of obedience while fighting it. Find partners who are breaking the chains of organized religion.
“The essence of oppression is that one is defined from the outside by those who define themselves as superior by criteria of their own choice.” ― Andrea Dworkin
Do your research. Find other like-minded people whom you can trust. Remember that the fears we don’t face become our limits. Limits are like self-imposed prisons. Don’t live your life locked in the cycle of fear.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
(1) What is fear: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3595162/
(2) Irrational fears: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-we-develop-certain-irrationa/