My Struggle with Fear

Life has many descriptions. Life is a journey, not a destination. Life is also a challenge, a struggle. Life is the toughest challenge we’ll face in our life (a sentence starting and ending with life). Life is also a test, with different outcomes for different people, as not everybody succeeds in this test called Life. Life is also an experiment, with full of trials and errors, like Gandhi’s. In fact, they are nothing short of a real life movie with many plots and twists and the ups and downs. Hence, I don’t bother much with movies and other entertainment stuffs, as I’ve my own movie (life) to take care of. We all have something to learn from our lives. We learn from our mistakes, our experiences. Some manage to correct their mistakes and break the cycle of habitual patterns, while the rest keep repeating it and wallowing in it.

When there are problems, we are advised to write it down. So, I also decided to write it down, to understand myself better, and let others know me better. I usually keep things to myself, as I tend to suppress my emotions, out of nervousness or fear. This is not meant to highlight my flaws or insecurities and seek attention. This writing is primarily meant for me, as my self motivation. I’m well aware that my writing is only focused on my negativities and not on positvities, but those are the things that I want to overcome. I’m trying to accept my good and bad, but I’m not content. I still have a long way to go. I’m baring my soul here.

I realized that Adolf Hitler also wrote a book “Mein Kampf” which is a German translation for “My Struggle”. So, there is a similarity in the title, but not the content. I haven’t read his book, but it must be different as we are writing our own stuffs. There is also a movie with the same title on him, but it’s not an exact description of book.

I feel like my life is crippled with fear. Though, I’m physically an able bodied person, mentally I feel handicapped. I feel a disabled person with a positive attitude is a better person than me.

Why am I so afraid? What am I so afraid of? I’ve been asking this question to myself my whole life and still found no answer. I’ve somewhat figured out what I’m afraid of, e.g, fear of making mistakes, fear of revealing my weakness in the public, fear of conflict. I’m trying but I’ve still not been able to break away from my shackles of fear. I hope that someone might have definitive answer while I continue to look inward. Why am I not able to toughen up my soft nature? Why am I so afraid of conflict? Why do I lack confidence? Without overcoming these problems or my flaws (imperfections), I cannot achieve inner peace. These things are holding me back from realizing my potential ‘cos I want to take on the world as I see too many wrongs in this world.

Overcoming fear is the biggest challenge of my life and a rite of passage for me. I need to get through fear and pass this test of life. Tibet is burning and I’m not able to do much about it. I feel like I’ve never really grown up. My desire for perfection is to be completely free of fear. I just want to overcome every kind of fear that I’ve in whatever I do. I don’t want even a trace of fear in me. I just cannot accept any fear within myself. Its a total no.

I’ve to face my fear and believe in myself that I can overcome this fear. I’ve not exactly been running away from my problem, but I used to get overwhelmed by fear and was not succeeding in my quest. I’ve some excuse as well. There are so many things to think about in life like family, friends. studies, careers, etc and responsibilities that its hard for me to focus on my problem full time. I’ve been struggling to find balance in my life. Sometimes, I wish I can leave everything behind, to go on my quest for inner peace. But I’ve never had any intention of becoming a monk ‘cos I like girls, though I’ve no courage. haha. So, I don’t know where my life will take me, but I certainly don’t want be stuck in the monotonous and dull (robotic) life of just making a livelihood to survive, to support myself and my family. Goto work, come home, sleep, then goto work. There is no meaning in this as major part of our life shouldn’t be devoted only to work. We, humans have a lot of potentials, and we aren’t meant to do just work.

Human life is precious and we all are meant to do something meaningful in our life, not just work and bitch about others. This system needs to change. Anyway, I don’t think this “only work, work ” responsibility is for me. If we only work and work, one day we are going to die and this cycle of life will just keep going on and on. There will be no end to this cycle and it doesn’t have to be that way as life after all, according to Buddha, is full of sufferings and we’ve to break away from these cycle of sufferings, which I think is the ultimate purpose of human life. I think I got bit side-tracked but I still think its relevant.

I want to live by the truth. Hence I don’t want to be afraid of anything as I don’t want to have anything to hide. Therefore, even the Chinese spies are welcome to pry upon here. I may regret posting it later on, but not right now. Haha.

I’m always trying to know myself, my true nature. I’ve tried some meditations, but it’s not helping much as there can be no alternative to the real experience. If I want to overcome fear, then I’ve to face it, rather than meditate on fear and hoping it’ll go away. But, like others, I tend to prolong it and procrastinate. We always feel that our fears are just too big and that we are not yet ready or that it is not the right time.

I’m always observing and learning about myself. I’ve seen that in my quest for striving a perfect balance or perfection, I end up doing nothing, like being stuck in the middle. I know that I tend to take things seriously, so I try to take things lightly and I then end up not being serious at all, and then I lose my drive, and do nothing. I then lose touch with myself and feel lost for a while. In my case, I’m either driven or not. Looking for a middle ground loosens my drive. There may be this third or middle alternative, but its very elusive to me. I also lack lots of experiences in life, so perhaps, my search for the right balance or the middle path is too early for me. The third option should only be considered when both the previous two options have been well tried and tested. Otherwise, its like taking on more tasks than you can handle, or biting on more than you can chew.

Believing in oneself is important, but too much self belief can make the person stubborn, arrogant or narrow minded. It becomes the case of my way or the highway. So, being open minded is also very important, which means not being so full of oneself. So, this concept of balance applies in all aspects of life. And this is the hardest part. But from my life experiences, there is a right time for it, and the idea of balance only comes into play when both the extremes have been covered, but not before that. Otherwise, people will be be lost like me.

Also, my anxiety comes from me being perfectionist. There is a fear of making mistakes as I like to get everything right. I really have to confront this fear, and accept my mistakes. Saying and doing it, is two different things though. Somedays, its even a struggle for me to do the simplest of things, as I get so nervous and feel so low, like stepping out of home.

My life is still an experiment and a work in progress. And I haven’t found the key to my happiness yet or the right balance. When I do find it, I’ll let the whole world know. In the meantime, I’ll continue with my serious nature. At least, I can try to get something done rather than nothing. I also feel a lot better when I find a purpose.

Ways of tackling fear.

I found this great article by Pema Chodron.

HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.
The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

I also want to share this great but short video from sadhguru.

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