Happiness is facing your fears

Happiness is facing your fears

I’m happy to bring you yet another wonderful contribution by Lionel Ketchian…

Do you know what the opposite of happiness is? No, it’s not unhappiness. Unhappiness is not a cause; it’s the effect of something. The opposite of happiness is FEAR! Fear is without a doubt one of the worst things you can experience. Fear is an inability to cope with life. Unfortunately, if not corrected, that inability becomes a disability.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” These are the brilliant words of John Homer Miller. They can point the way to your liberation from fear.

About nine years ago I was giving a class on happiness at Sacred Heart University. At the time, a woman named Jane, was taking the course and shared this story concerning her experience of fear with the class. Jane was divorced for about ten years at the time. She was uncomfortable about being alone, and many times was afraid of being in her house by herself. Late one night she heard quite a lot of noise coming from her front door. She hoped it would just go away, but she knew that someone was definitely outside her front door. She was terrified, and did not know what to do.

Jane finally decided that she had to face this problem and do something about it. She ran to get a baseball bat that was in another room. She figured she would fling open the front door and scare the burglar away with the baseball bat. If that didn’t work, she would run out the back door. So she got the bat and headed in the direction of the front door.

Right next to the front door, there was a window with a curtain. So she decided to very carefully sneak a look out the window through the curtain to try to see the threat that was waiting for her. She slowly lifted the curtain and looked outside her front door. She was really surprised at what she saw before her eyes. Instead of seeing some impending doom, she saw three baby raccoons playing on her front stairs. One of the baby raccoons was jumping on her bushes next to the stairs. The other two baby raccoons were frolicking with each other right at her front door.

Instead of being terrified, she broke out into sidesplitting laughter. She said the babies were so cute and were so much fun to watch. Jane said the interesting thing about her story, is that she was never afraid again. This experience was the catalyst that allowed Jane to overcome her fear of being alone. She said that the adventure taught her not to give in to her fears and not to limit her thinking about anything. As John Masefield said: “Best trust the happy moments. What they gave makes man less fearful and gives his work compassion and new eyes, the days that make us happy make us wise.”

Daniel Goleman, the author of the book: Emotional Intelligence said: “Even mild mood changes can sway thinking. In making plans or decisions people in good moods have a perceptual bias that leads them to be more expansive and positive in their thinking. This is partly because memory is state-specific, so that while in a good mood we remember more positive events; as we think over the pros and cons of a course of action while feeling pleasant, memory biases our weighting of evidence in a positive direction, making us more likely to do something slightly adventurous or risky, for example. By the same token, being in a foul mood biases memory in a negative direction, making us more likely to contract into a fearful, overly cautious decision. Emotions out of control impede the intellect.”

Fear is being out of control, and happiness is taking control of yourself. I think it was Emerson who said the only way out of fear is through it. The next time something shows you fear within yourself, go through it instead of running away. Running only allows your fear to gain ground, not you. Not facing your fear is much harder than dealing with it. Use happiness as ammunition and you can shoot through fear!

Take it slow in the beginning, but deal with your fear, face to face. If you face your fear it will make an about face, and it will retreat instead of you. You will become more powerful for having faced your fear and overcoming it. In the words of Shakespeare: “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” If you doubt anything, doubt your fears, never yourself.

Here are the timeless words of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who lived between 121-180 AD, and was not only the ruler of Rome, but also a philosopher, and well known author. “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

For more – go to www.happinessclub.com