Fear is an interesting energy. We all seem to suffer from it every now and then (and sometimes more often….), and although we don’t like being fearful, many people are nearly addicted to experiencing fear in their lives. Not a day goes by in which they don’t entertain a thought like “what if…” or “just suppose…” or “if I don’t do…[something]…then something bad will happen”. Fear seems to be pretty real and, in many cases, turns out to create very real results as well.
But: is fear for real, or are we making a big mistake with regards to its reality?


My truth with respect to fear is that fear is an illusion. A very powerful one for sure, but still an illusion. It’s a mind-game. Many, many years ago already I was told that fear is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real. Fear consists of a collection of thoughts in our head. They are thoughts about the future, based upon what we have experienced in the past, and based upon what we think is going to happen in the future. But do we KNOW what is going to happen in the future? We obviously do NOT. The future has not happened yet. Moreover, the past is an illusion too (that gets you thinking, doesn’t it!). “The past” as such is not here anymore. The only thing that is left over from the past is –again- a collection of memory-thoughts of what you think has happened. My memory of “the past” is a completely different one than yours.
The trick is, that for us to feel fearful, is does not matter that the future has not happened yet and that the past has gone. The mere thought of an unknown future that might hold more of the things we have already experienced, and did not like, is enough for our brain to order the secretion of various neuro-chemicals into our bodies which make us feel afraid. The thought is the illusion, but the feeling is real. Thoughts and feelings combined create our focus, and our focus determines what we will experience in life. This means that if we stay fearful long or strongly enough, that which we fear can actually become our reality. That is the power of focus! Or again, in the words of one of my teachers: We are what we think; what we think is what we focus on, and what we focus on is what we get.


So what about that illusion, then? Well, if you can see fear for what it really is -a thought or a collection of thoughts about the still-to-happen-future that make you feel a certain way- then you can take charge of your thoughts and create a different future: a more enjoyable and less fearful one. If thoughts create feelings, and if thoughts and feelings create your reality, then it is rather self-evident that you will be better off choosing thoughts about a prosperous, happy future, won’t you? That is where the power of consciously choosing your thoughts comes to the fore!
I do hear people say: if fear is an illusion, isn’t anything else that I think about the future an illusion as well, then? Well, yes, it actually is. But if you have the choice, which illusion would you prefer to be in? One that makes you feel lousy, or one that makes you feel great? I know where I would like to be!

Set a landmarc

Firstly: identify the thoughts that make you feel fearful. What is it that you are thinking, and why? What must be an underlying belief about yourself that makes you project this sort of thoughts? When you can identify your fear-creating thoughts, you straight away weaken their influence on you!
Secondly: For each fearful thought you may have, ask yourself: have there been times when this thought didn’t prove to be true? The more evidence you can find, the less influential the fear thought will be; you undermine its power over you.
Thirdly: Choose to have different thoughts about the subject that makes you fearful. Choose affirmations that go directly against the fear, and stick with them. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on the old, fearful thoughts. The more you can “think yourself away”, the less grip the old thought has on you.
Lastly: Take action!! Create new honouring and effective beliefs about the future with your coach. If fear is an illusion, you don’t have to buy into it! Design an action plan in which you deliberately do the things you are fearful of (gently!), and take good note of what happens when you get to “the other side”. Feels pretty good, right? Nothing to be afraid of, right? That’s one more nasty illusion gone!

Understand me correctly here: fear can be very functional and a great driver for action. For instance: if I see a crocodile in the water I am swimming in, boy, will I swim!!!! Same if I would be in a burning house. I’d get out of there straight away! That is functional fear, and it is very useful.
The thing with fear is, though, that a lot of it is based on thoughts about a possible future. That’s dysfunctional fear. And that’s where it gets nasty, because we do not know what the future is going to hold. We only have (often negative) assumptions and ideas about it. And why would we want to focus on negative assumptions and ideas when we can, with just as much validity, focus on the good things in life?

Go well, think well, feel well, and be well.

Marc de Bruin.

Author's Bio: 

Marc is a certified life/business coach and master NLP Practitioner on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. He specialises in coaching people at critical junctions in their careers and/or lives, in order for them to find out what has been hindering them all along in achieving what they want, and to then make the conscious choice to take their lives and/or careers to the next level. Having been a lawyer for nearly 6 years in his “previous life”, before immigrating to Australia from The Netherlands, Marc knows exactly how daunting taking the first step in a new direction can be. On the other hand, he also knows how fulfilling taking that step is, and has the knack of imparting his knowledge and wisdom in a stunningly simple and highly effective way. Call him or email him at marc@landmarc.info to arrange for a complimentary face-to-face or phone session!