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Overcoming the fear of life

Many of us fear life, although not many of us are ready to acknowledge it. Well, this world doesn't look like a particularly friendly and easy-to-live place, at least big parts of this world, just ask the TV news.

I think though our fear of life goes beyond the negative TV news. It's deeper. It's ingrained in us. We're raised with it, at least most of us. Perhaps some of us are already born with it. We're fed it by our parents. Then school and social institutions reinforce it. Then the TV news comes in.

By then the fear is already deeply anchored in us, it's part of us and we barely notice it, we're so used to it. Creativity seems hard, new opportunities seem unsafe, our mindsets are all over negative and changing the rules seems impossible. If asked, our brains happily (or rather unhappily) give 100+ logical reasons why life is hard, unsafe and unfriendly. All these reasons to fear life can be summed up with these three main fears:

Life can't be controlled. We can't control weather, nature, events, other people. Well, we try hard - do I really need to list here all the numerous ways humankind has been trying to control mother nature and each other over the centuries? But we can't. We can't even manage our own mindsets and emotions.

Life can't be predicted. Good things happen, yes. To some of us - many times or sometimes. Not so often to others. But shit happens, too. To many of us. And to some - more often than to others. Why? Who knows. And yes, I read a lot about karma and many other interesting things. But that didn't help me - in practical terms - to live a predictably happy and safe life right here right now.

Life doesn't have a purpose. Or at least it seems so to many people. Neither science nor religion, let alone our every day life, are able to explain in simple terms the purpose of our lives right here right now. We debate, argue and clash with different viewpoints to no avail. In the meantime, our kids grow without purpose and all they can see is the world that is difficult to predict and impossible to control.

This indeed paints a very bleak picture. But I'd argue that things aren't as bad in reality.

So, how do we stop fearing life?

Accept that we can't control life

Instead we can shape our life and retain some sense of control

We can change the way we think about the world and how we relate to other people. We can change our mindset, how we feel and how we act in life. We can become more balanced, a bit happier and a bit more detached from all the negativity around us.

We start with changing our own life and this has an effect on those around us, and then on the world around us. We’ll still face negative events, unhappy people and unfortunate situations. But we’ll retain some sense of control - control over our own reactions and attitude to what's happening around us.

When we let go the idea that we can control life, we relax and can focus our precious attention on more important things, such as self-development or perhaps helping others. We also learn to develop empathy for others, patience and tolerance.

Accept that we can't predict life

Instead we can learn to accept life and go with the flow

This is about accepting that life happens, not stressing about it and learning from it. This is also about growing our mindset to a point where we're more balanced and react less and less to the negative things.

As we overcome our insecurities and grow our balanced attitude to life, we shift our focus to more constructive and creative ideas. We start trusting ourselves and life. We start seeing more positivity around us.

As we let our negative thoughts and emotions go, our intuition grows stronger. We start feeling life; the flow of life is very much like a flow of a river. Instead of fighting the flow, we feel it and go with it. We sense when to be assertive and when to surrender, who to let in our life and who to let go, when to jump and when to stop. We just sense it, we know it, intuitively. Going with the flow saves us energy and causes less pain. We grow more effortlessly.

Accept that we don't always understand life

Instead we can focus on understanding ourselves

When life happens to us, we often ask why. Why? Why me? What have I done? The reality is we don't know why and we may never know exactly why. We are like young kids playing in a sandpit who just don't have enough perspective to be able to grasp the reality that is going on outside their sandpit.

How about using unpleasant situations and scary interactions with people to stop, learn and become better humans? Even if we don't manage to become better, we can at least build some resilience.

Becoming better and kinder humans and building resilience already sounds like a valid purpose for living. If we look around, it's the more brave, resilient, creative, constructive and collaborative of us who are making the positive changes in this world. Let's add to the mix receiving some pleasure, adventure and enjoyment from life. This doesn't sound bad at all.

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