Getting your real life back by getting your edge back.
I know a lot about fear because I used to fear a lot.
I used to be afraid of what people might think.
I used to be scared about what might happen if I did or didn’t do [X].
Mainly, I used to be scared about losing certain things: losing my ideas about myself, losing the things that I owned, losing illusory ideas that had no tangible reality to them like my ‘reputation’ or my ‘future’ or my ‘life’.
I’m one of those people who’s always tried to live spontaneously and to not hold anything back but, if I’m honest, I’ve had plenty of dark nights of the soul or moments of pain and anguish where I’ve had the world hold up a mirror to me and show me that I’m either nothing like I thought I was or, even worse, exactly like I feared I might be.
Life has been a wild ride. That’s how I know most of the stuff that I write about on this website or in my book(s) or that I share in my coaching sessions and elsewhere.
I know how to live a pretty good life now because I’ve screwed up so many times: I know how to be strong because I’ve had moments of weakness; I know how to be real because I’ve been unreal; I know how to get things done because I’ve wasted so much time on unreality which really just amounts to nothing.
I want to be as honest as possible in this article because it’s an article about fear and how you can master it. If the last decade has taught me anything it’s that the only difference between reality and unreality is the presence or lack of fear and that once you acknowledge that you have little if anything to ‘worry’ about.
The best thing that ever happened to me in my life was losing everything. I can say this with sincerity because the main motivation that had brought the things I lost into my life was fear and once those things went I was left to face myself and to rebuild on the only thing that still remained: reality.
This article is about the wonderful idea that nearly 99.9% of the things that you fear are unreal. Why is it wonderful? Because if you imagine the possibilities of a life without fear and you realise that most of your fears are unreal, you’ll see that you can do just about anything.
What if you weren’t afraid? What would you be doing right now?
Most of the things that stop you being who you need to be and living the life you need to live are just examples of you holding yourself back.
This article is gonna show you how to let go.
Two Kinds of Fear: Rational and Irrational
It’s all well and good for me to say that we can live without fear but that would involve denying a basic truth about the human condition which is that our bodies evolved fear and that they evolved it for a reason.
Before we go on, we need to acknowledge an important distinction between two very different types of fear:
- Rational Fear: Rational fear is biological in origin and is an instinctual mechanism designed by millions of years of evolution to keep you (or your body) alive and ticking. This kind of fear isn’t always ‘right’ in the sense that it isn’t always triggered by actual danger but it will give you the jolt you need to GTFO in the face of possible danger so that you can live to be real another day (a simple example is that you might feel fear when you see a non-poisonous spider: your instincts don’t care about whether or not it can actually kill you – they just wanna get you away. Sharpish.).
- Irrational Fear: Irrational fear is either sociological or psychological in origin and has only entered your life because of your CONDITIONING. This kind of fear is never ‘right’ (unlike rational fear which is hit-and-miss but always serves a life-preserving function). This kind of irrational fear is the stuff of nightmares as it will take you away from yourself, the world, and reality and give you erroneous ideas and assumptions at every level of your being. This sociological and psychological fear is the reason that we let the world hold us back and we don’t allow ourselves to be who we really are.
This article is about embracing the rational fear for what it is and allowing it to go about the business of keeping us alive and about managing our irrational fears so that we can live the real lives we deserve instead of hiding from ourselves and our own potential because of pure, unadulterated bullshit.
Before we move on, here are some quick examples of the kinds of fears we’re talking about:
Biological: “Oh no, if I fall of this bridge/cliff/abyss/etc. I’ll die” / “Holy shit, a spider.” / “OMFG, he’s got a gun”, “This food looks a bit mouldy”, etc.
Our biological fears are protective and are triggered instinctually – they can become irrational fears if we cling to them in the face of evidence that they are pointing us away from the truth (for example, if we learn that the spider isn’t poisonous or that what we thought was a gun is actually something else but still act like the fear is real).
Sociological: “I’d better not follow my dreams/say what I really think/wear what I want/grow my hair/whatever because people will think [X]” / “I should [X]” / “It’s really not appropriate for somebody of my age to be doing this”, etc.
Psychological: “I’m such a piece of shit” / “If I show my real self, I’ll be rejected” / “I can’t forgive myself for this thing I did twenty three years ago” / “I’d better hide my anger/horniness/love because I don’t know how to control it”, etc.
Irrational fears are triggered and kept in place by our CONDITIONING – in other words, they always enter our psyche and experience of ourselves, the world, and reality from the outside in (instead of being sourced in the reality of inside out).
Just like rational fears can become irrational the longer we cling to them in the face of evidence, irrational fears can sometimes become rational if there is evidence to support them based on the feedback we get from reality (for example, maybe you really will be rejected if you show your real self – it doesn’t matter though).
Knowing whether or not your fears are rational or irrational will help you decide whether you can – or even need – to get rid of them. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of what is written in this article.
A Word About Jail
When I talk to coaching clients about fear and getting rid of it (the irrational stuff), I often find that a lot of them put forward the objection that if they abolished their fears they’d be the best versions of themselves and that they’d be acting on infinite possibilities and opportunities but…they’d end up in jail.
This isn’t just something I’ve heard a couple of times, it pops up a lot.
For some reason, we seem to think that we need our irrational fear to keep us in check and that if we didn’t have this illusory mental barrier we’d all be running around in a state of debauched anarchy, ripping each other’s clothes off without permission, looting department stores, and killing each other.
I beg to disagree.
What these future jailbirds are forgetting is that, when we’re real, it’s not our fear that keeps us in check but our sense of wholeness in ourselves that allows us to relate to everybody and everything around us. Even if you don’t want to see it in those terms, it’s not like as soon as your irrational fears are taken out of the equation that your sense of rationality and ability to think for yourself will be cancelled out too.
You’re not gonna go jump off a cliff or leap out the window just because your social programming is under better management.
When you’re real, you have the discipline and self-control necessary to be able to move forwards with your vision (choo choo) and to manage your biological wiring and social conditioning. In other words, you have mastery over yourself – this means that you can have a life without fear and stay out of jail.
Fear is the thing that makes us unreal in the first place – when people think that without fear they’d turn into lunatics and go off the rails, what they’re really saying is that they have a co-dependent relationship with their fear and that they’ve allowed it to define them.
As you read the rest of this article, think about how you can live some of these ideas without being in a cage (mental or physical). If you have fear about losing your fear then you’re in deeper than you think but it’s all part of the same process and you can free yourself whenever you’re ready.
All you gotta do is get real.
Fear Without Fear: Wholeness Over Fragmentation
Most of what you read on this website or in Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness is about letting go of your fear. As you start to live a more real life of purpose that is shaped around your real human values and aligned with your realness, you will start to feel less fear anyway.
On this site, we’ve already looked at getting on The Train and living your purpose as well as learning to kill your fear of loss by developing an abundance mentality. Ultimately, all of the things we talk about boil down to the same thing: knowing yourself in your wholeness, instead of attaching to fragments, and then doing something to express it.
The rest of this article will build on that basic idea: that a lack of fear means you are being real / whole and the presence of (irrational) fear means that you’re being unreal / fragmented at some level (we’ll elaborate).
Stop Holding Yourself Back with ‘Nothing’
Here are some basic things you can start doing to stop giving attention to the ‘nothing’ of unreal or irrational fear:
Step out of your black and white thinking by letting go of ‘good’ and ‘bad’: Reality just is what it is – it isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; it just is and you either accept it or you don’t. This doesn’t mean that you become passive or nihilistic because being real is about being full, not empty (as passivity and nihilism suggest) and about putting this ‘fullness’ out into the world by connecting to what is whole inside you (connected to yourself, the world, and reality) not what appears to be fragmented (disconnected from yourself, the world, and reality).
Killing your irrational fears and moving with your life instead of against it is about letting go of this fragmented dualism in the form of our learned value judgments about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (etc.) and learning to see things in terms of real or unreal instead. When we look at the world and our intentions for it in terms of ‘real’, we see things in terms of wholeness and become more whole; when we look at the world and our intentions for it in terms of ‘unreal’, we see things in terms of fragments and become more fragmented.
Fragmentation always leads to fear because it is unreal and leads to the kind of friction, frustration, and eventual misery that comes from taking reality out of the equation.
In short, if you can learn to be honest with yourself (if nobody else) you can let go of the ideas of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that hold you back and just do what needs to be done – if it’s real then it will be about wholeness and won’t harm anybody and will allow you to grow into yourself as the world grows around you.
Set boundaries by learning to say ‘No’ (it’s a magic word): The only thing worth saying “Yes” to is reality because reality is the only thing of any value.
Many of us have been conditioned to say “No” to reality and “Yes” to unreality which means that we end up sending ourselves into hiding, building our lives according to somebody else’s agenda, and then wondering why we’re not living our own lives and being scared to shake the foundations of the unreal life that we’ve built to keep hiding from ourselves.
The easiest way to get your fear in check is to start saying “No” to anything unreal… This is your life and it’s flashing before your eyes. Stop tolerating the bullshit that isn’t serving you or which only serves to reinforce your lack of respect for yourself.
Say “No” to the job that’s holding you back and putting you further and further away from your own soul.
Say “No” to the unreal relationships that sap your energ