This post is dedicated to my dad, Onnie “Bud” Erickson: 1935-2010.
My dad was a wise man. He lived a simple life. He didn’t care much about financial success. He didn’t care how others saw him. He didn’t compare himself to those who had more than he did. My dad understood that comparisons lead to jealousy and fear. He also understood that fear is at the root of all human unhappiness. My dad understood that most of our fears are just stories that we tell ourselves.
Through much of my adult life I’ve struggled with moderate anxiety. When I take a close look at my own fears, I’ve discovered something. They’re usually imaginary. I’ve also discovered that most of us have the same basic imaginary fears. I’ve broken them down into these four fears:
1. The Fear of Not Being Good Enough
We live in a competitive society. We’re told that winning is everything. When we procrastinate, this might be the cause. We often put off doing things, because we fear the results won’t be good enough. The same holds true in relationships. Our relationships fail when one feels their partner is better than themselves. The fear of being inadequate limits our potential.
2. The Fear of Not Having Enough
We’ve been taught by the media that we must have more of everything. That’s a lie. In reality, one needs very little in order to live a happy life. The happiest people in the world are not the richest people. The happiest people are the ones who learn to live and make best with what they have.
3. The Fear of What Others Think
Comparisons are deadly. Our culture teaches us from an early age that we must fit in. The advertising industry has painted an unrealistic picture of how we should live. This picture leads to comparisons. You fear that others see you in a negative light. Chances are they barely see you at all, because they’re worried about their own insecurities.
4. The Fear of Losing Everything
What would you do without a car? What would you do without a TV? What if you had to live in a studio apartment? Would any of those things kill you? No. We’ve been programmed to believe that we need to live at a certain level or we’re not living at all. It’s a lie.
My dad helped me to start my journey into living a life with less duality, less good vs. evil, us vs. them, less judgment and comparison. The things he taught me about human nature and how to reduce fear will forever be remembered. – dse
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