Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.—Marianne Williamson
This famous ‘Mandela quote’ was actually written by Marianne Williamson in her book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles and not by Mandela himself. Regardless of its origin, the quote has a powerful meaning. Which in essence suggests that – to unleash our full power we must conquer our deepest fears and to do so, we must start from the very beginning. We need to begin by identifying our deepest fears before we fight them.
What Is Our Deepest Fear?
It isn’t an easy task to chalk out our strongest traits, less so when it comes to identifying our weakest. Here’s a little test that can help you pinpoint your deepest fear, the root cause of all your other weaknesses. Follow the steps to get it right:
- Take a piece of paper and pen and settle down in a peaceful environment. Stop thinking about anything and everything. Put on some soothing music or scented candles to help you relax.
- Jot down all the things that scare you. It can be something as common as getting old and risking not being attractive, to something as deep as messing up children you don’t even have! Be it losing your mother or failing (falling?) in love, write them all down. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking, so write everything that comes to your mind.
- Once you’re done, start analyzing the underlying theme of each of those fears. If you mentioned losing your mother, the bottom line is that you’re afraid of being alone or in the pain of loss. Similarly, write down the root for each of your fears.
- Now look for a pattern or a recurring fundamental theme. That, my friend, is your darkest, deepest fear.
4 Ways to Overcome Our Deepest Fear
Once you have identified your deepest fears, it’s time to overcome them. Here are four simple ways to overcome your fears :
1) Challenge your fears
Don’t let the illusion called ‘fear’ boss you around. If you’re scared of heights, go paragliding. If you’re scared of water, learn swimming.
Research shows that meditation helps strip us of our fears, anxiety, and stress.
3) Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Lack of sleep can often cause anxiety which leads to our brain harboring irrational thoughts and fears. Eating healthy, exercising, and maintaining a healthy circadian clock can help evict fears from our minds.
Often lack of positive thoughts and work to keep one’s mind busy leads to absurd fears settling in. Stop obsessing over your fears and get working.
Recognize your achievements, show your talent!
The Tall Poppy Syndrome is at its peak in this era. Playing safe and staying in the backlines is now a trend, a choice that people make for themselves. And this is attributed to their deepest fear. To overcome this situation, one must learn to be proud of their achievements in life.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?—Marianne
While this sounds ridiculous, it is a driving thought in more than half of the population’s brains. People feel that unleashing their inner brilliance might make those around them feel insignificant. However, we forget that in the course of letting our brilliance shine, we unconsciously give other people a way to break free of their fears as well. We must not wait for people’s permission to be our best, rather we should show them a way to be their best.
In an attempt to retain social relations, and not cross paths with self-doubt, people often perform their best. This is the Tall Poppy Syndrome. It holds you down, limits your brain, and keeps you chained. It makes you feel that if you are at your best, your friends will fear your presence automatically.
To break free, you must understand that playing safe and playing small does not serve you, and neither does it serve the world. You are a child of God and your actions, when great, will affect not just you but the whole world. Edison’s bulb made him famous but it also helped humanity shine as children, it took mankind a step closer towards a better world. Stop shying away from your inner talents because you are meant to shine.
To turn your life around, sit down, and note achievements that make you happy. Projects you finished, medals you won, and products you developed. Talk about the good things you learned from your failure. Be proud to have come along this far in life. Let go of your greatest fear, the fear of being better.
Imagine that you have written a detailed letter explaining your situation/idea. But you need to remind the recipient to respond else all the effort is a lost cause.
FAQs About Conquering Our Deepest Fears
Fear is a primitive instinct in all humans. It’s there to protect us. But unnecessary fear comes from various reasons. The cause of fear is different for each person. For some, fear is the result of a traumatic experience, for others, it could be a wrong subconscious program, phobia or deep-rooted psychological problem.
The most common fears list includes 10 things –
1. Fear of loneliness
2. Fear of death
3. Fear of public speaking and open spaces
4. Fear of animals, imaginative creatures, etc
5. Fear of intimacy
6. Fear of going mad
7. Fear of germs
8. Fear of being a coward
9. Fear of being poisoned
10. Fear of being getting old
There could be something close to your heart that intimidates you. It is your deepest fear meaning it is usually not expressed but it resides in your mind. Maybe you are not even aware of it! It could be a childhood trauma that inhibits you to do certain things subconsciously.
The easiest way to find out your fears is by jotting your feelings in a diary. If you are not confident doing something ask yourself, “what’s stopping me?” Write down whatever comes to your mind. Whenever you are feeling a resistance understand that there is some underlying fearful emotion.
There will always be some common fears in life. Some are necessary even because they protect us. But unnecessary fears leads to stress. If you really want to be confident start learning how to be fearless. The easiest way to get rid of fear is to go out of your comfort zone and do stuff in spite of fear.
One can think of fear as an illusion that keeps you away from your limitless abilities. It can be thought of in light of the famous ‘baby elephant’ analogy. Baby elephants are tied using chains to prevent them from escaping. Once grown up, though the elephants have the ability to break free of their chains, they do not do so believing they would never be able to break free. This mindset keeps them bound.
Once we learn to let go of or master our deepest fears, the sky is the limit. Echoing Dale Carnegie:
If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.—Dale Carnegie
A lawyer-turned-freelance writer with an impassioned zeal for writing, Shravani writes on all things law while deftly handling diverse non-legal niches as well - from technology, business and entrepreneurship to entertainment, health and nutrition, mindfulness, productivity and more. Content writer and Editor by the day. Dreamer and idea juggler by the night. Foodie, movie buff, bookworm, Chai-holic - not necessarily in that order.