Mel Schwartz, LCSW

#086 How to Live a Fearless Life

Episode 086 of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz is all about the overwhelming influence of fear in our culture, and how we can live our lives in a fear-less way.

Listen as I explain the reasons we feel fear, how our behaviors can exacerbate our fears, and most importantly, what we can do to live a fearless life.

Have you found ways to release your fear? I’d love you to write about it… in the comments!

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Transcript of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz #086

Hello, everybody and welcome to The Possibility Podcast. I’m your host, Mel Schwartz. I practice psychotherapy and marriage counseling and I am the author of the book, The Possibility Principle, the inspiration and the companion to this podcast. I’ll be introducing you to new ways of thinking, a new philosophy and a new game plan for life and all of the infinite possibilities that await you.

Hello, everybody. We’re going to be exploring the nature and the prevalence of fear in our lives and in our culture. Fear just decimates our ability to live well, to live with meaning and purpose and joy, but everywhere we look, we can notice the tentacle of fear and its grip upon us.

Now, why do we experience this level of fear? For many reasons. I believe essentially, it’s due to the messages, the philosophy of our lives. We live in a culture that is extremely competitive, extremely individualistic, where the game of life, it’s almost a gamification of life, is about winning, succeeding, one upmanship, beating the other. This all leads to this prevalence of fear because we’re always competing and we’re always worrying or wondering how are we doing? How are others measuring us or ourselves and we begin to measure our own self. This all leads to overwhelming sense of fear.

So, let’s look at some of the values and messages from our culture.

Number one, we are taught hide your fear. Well, that’s quite a game plan. The more you hide your fear, the more the fear is emboldened that takes a grip on you for the fear that someone’s going to find you out, that you’re going to be seen. Hide your fear is the last thing you want to do. Actually, we’ll come to it but we we want to do is embrace your fear.

You see, when you hide your fear, you’re setting others up as the judge of you. Now, how’s that going to work out? It leads to a marginalized tentative experience of life.

I have spoken at length with you about this in regard to self-esteem or other esteem. Our concern or our belief that what others think of us is more important than what I think of me is rooted in fear. The fear is how is the other person measuring me? So, I don’t reveal my authentic genuine self, I hide that out of the fear that I won’t be judged well, that I won’t be valued, I won’t be liked.

In regard to the fear of not measuring up, the competition, the false measuring is prevalent everywhere. I witness high school juniors and seniors succumbing to the horrific fear that if they are not accepted by their number one college of choice, they have failed. These adolescents are gripped with fear. It leads to anxiety, depression, and sometimes suicide.

So, there’s a fear of not measuring up, not getting into the best school or a good enough school, fear of not getting a good enough job, all reflective of our concerns about how others see us or even our more innate measuring of ourselves. I’m failing myself.

Then, there’s a fear around the whole change process. Everybody wants or seeks a certain level of change in our lives but we ironically or paradoxically have a fear of change because that means we’re going to step into the uncertain, the unknown and that incites fear.

So, there’s a fear of change but at the same time, there’s a fear of not changing. Fear is everywhere. There’s a fear of appearance. How do I look? Am I looking my best? What do I need to do to look better? There’s a fear around like a do others see me as likable, as popular but you know what the greatest fear of all is? The fear of death.

I’d love to show you my appreciation for your subscribing to and rating this podcast by offering you a gift to one of the following The Power of Mind a live talk that I gave or one of my digital e-books Creating Authentic Self-esteem, Overcoming Anxiety or Raising Resilient Children and lastly, Cultivating Resilient Relationships. Once you have subscribed, please send an email to Mel at Mel and just let me know which gift you’d prefer. Thanks.

I can’t begin to tell you how profound an unexplored and undiscussed fear of death is. The grip on us around fear of death is just absolutely dreadful. We don’t talk about it. We don’t open up and share with each other.

I recently had lunch with two dear friends of mine and I decided going in that I wanted to have a new conversation, not the same old conversations about family and children and work and vacations so I asked them a new question. Do you guys have an thoughts or fears about death? What comes up for you?

One of them was absolutely so struck by the question that he really couldn’t engage in the conversation. We don’t talk with one another about fear of death.

Pride and ego. Wow. When we see prideful, large-ego people, they’re really people with fragile egos. What is that about? That’s a compensation for fear as well. The fear that I’m not enough. I’m not valuable enough. I’m not successful enough. I’m not smart enough.

So, what do we do when we experience that kind of fear? We put on a false facade of pride and ego.

What do we do with this overarching fear that impacts our lives? It’s a philosophy for life that we are living under that decimates our ability to live well.

Well, I don’t believe in oversimplification but here’s a simple thought and it’s paradoxical again: We have to run contrary to the message we get as a culture. We should not hide the fear. When we embrace the fear and sometimes share the fear, the fear dissolves. You see fear has an energy all of its own. When it reaches a force that resists it or hides it, the fear grows, its tentacles reach out and grip us. What we can do is embrace the fear. That doesn’t mean I like the fear. It means I welcome it in and I share it. When I do that, the fear retreats.

It’s simple. To choose to live a fear-less life and when I say fear-less, I don’t mean an absence of fear. I mean literally less fear. The simplest best approach is share your insecurity. Share your fear with whoever will listen.

The first thing that that does is you’re no longer setting the other person up as your judge. The second thing is you have nothing that you’re hiding. There’s no shame. There is no deeper insecurity that you’re hiding from others. That hiding your fear from others is like pouring gasoline on the fire.

For fear to dissolve, we need to bring it into the light, open it up, share it, and by the way, if you do that and other people judge you or ridicule you, the way through that is to simply say, well, shame on them. I don’t care what the other person thinks, if they’re going to ridicule me, what I care about is coming into my own authenticity and my own integrity. That’s what matters. I hope other people are sensitive and caring and compassionate if I share fear and insecurity but if they’re not, I still gain because I am no longer in hiding.

So, start to think about what are your fears? Perhaps, make a list of them and then ask yourself, what can I do to embrace these fears, meaning to reveal them, not hide them, disguise them, or cloak them, and see how the fear dissolves. It’s really remarkable how this path of embracing your fear allows you to transcend these deep, profound insecurities and this is necessary. It’s vital to live a fear-less life is the absolute pathway to a joy, happiness, and relationships that can thrive.

Fear decimates relationships. The fear of what you think of me the fear of how you might react to what I’m thinking and not sharing with you it creates a roadblock for emotional and verbal intimacy. Emotional and verbal intimacy require a mitigating of fear ultimately an absence of fear so if we can be transparent with each other without fear our relationships can thrive.

So for now think about the fears that grip you that impede your progress, list them, and then choose to reveal them and embrace them and see how quickly they disappear.

Please feel welcome to send me an email and share with me your experiences about trying to release your fears and your progress with that. Until next time, wishing you health, happiness, and less fear in your lives. Be well.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Possibility Podcast and I welcome your feedback on this or any episode. Please send me an email at Mel at Mel Schwartz dot com or leave a comment in the show notes for this episode at Mel Schwartz dot com. If you like what you’re hearing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast. Your reviews really help boost the visibility for the show and it’s a great way for you to show your support. Finally, please make sure to subscribe to The Possibility Podcast wherever you listen to podcast. In that way, you’ll never miss an episode and thanks again and please remember to always welcome uncertainty into your life as you embrace new possibilities.

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