I get emails from Oprah each day and the headline in today’s email was Dr Phil espousing that fear was the worse “four-letter F” word. I rarely pay attention to the articles — not because what they write doesn’t have value — but often it’s trite and obvious.
But then so is the notion that fear is bad.
Fear IS bad for you. But our culture is programmed to keep us fearful in every aspect of our lives. Fearful people rarely step outside the line.
When I was much younger and making my way in the world, it seems like life offered many more possibilities and was safer. (I write about this in “How I Became an Improbable Millionaire.”) While lots of “improbable” things happened to me along the way, there was so much more opportunity that I could tap into then exists as readily today.
I have a friend who last year was called into his boss’ office and his salary was slashed by 10 percent. His choice was to either take the pay cut or lose his job. It was explained to him that his business was in financial trouble and everyone had to play their part to keep the business solvent.
Interestingly enough, the CEO was paid a $10 million bonus at the end of the year as a reward for his cost cutting efforts.
Fear is rampant in the hallways of many business today. Many people feel they are vulnerable to losing their jobs at a moment’s notice. You can bet nobody is making any waves. Although other businesses may not have been as brutal as my friend’s, so many people accept the unacceptable in their work because they’re so fearful they’ll lose their jobs. Unemployment was rampant just a short time ago, so the fears are not unwarranted.
Why are people so fearful? So many people are in debt and/or are ill. Without a job, there’s no income and no insurance. It’s a vicious traumatic cycle that huge numbers of people have fallen into. Maybe it’s always been that way, but since the 2000s, it seems more endemic, more encroaching, far more possible to get into a financial hole and far less possible to get out.
But it is possible to give up feeling fearful even in the worse situation. When I was married, my husband was in the Air Force and away from home at least 50 percent of the time. Early on, right after we moved into a house at our first base in upstate New York, my husband had to leave for a week.
I was petrified that week, inanely so. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, feeling certain I was in eminent danger. I was one miserable young lady when my husband arrived back home and I hated how I felt. I was willing to do whatever I needed to not feel that way ever again.
I was never in any danger. The fear that had permeated my being only existed in my mind. Fortunately, I understood that really quick. I knew I had to be free of fear to live with any kind of joy, so I chose to give up fear — right then.
Giving up fear is one of the best things I ever did.
Trust me there were lots of times along the way that fear crept back into my being. But, I never let it control me again.
In later years I’ve even challenged it — dared it to get me.
So far, I’ve won.